Join today and have your say! It’s FREE!

Become a member today, It's free!

We will not release or resell your information to third parties without your permission.
Please Try Again
{{ error }}
By providing my email, I consent to receiving investment related electronic messages from Stockhouse.

or

Sign In

Please Try Again
{{ error }}
Password Hint : {{passwordHint}}
Forgot Password?

or

Please Try Again {{ error }}

Send my password

SUCCESS
An email was sent with password retrieval instructions. Please go to the link in the email message to retrieve your password.

Become a member today, It's free!

We will not release or resell your information to third parties without your permission.

This Explorer is Targeting Underexplored, Highly-Prospective Gold & Nickel Areas in PQ

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
1 Comment| September 28, 2021

{{labelSign}}  Favorites
{{errorMessage}}

Orford Mining Corporation (TSX-V.ORM, Forum) is a junior mineral explorer primarily focused on the exploration for gold on its cornerstone Qiqavik project and recently acquired Joutel District projects, along with nickel exploration on its West Raglan project…all situated in the mining-friendly jurisdiction of Quebec.

In this exclusive video Q&A podcast, Stockhouse Media’s Dave Jackson was joined by CEO, Director and Co-Founder of Orford Mining Corp., David Christie, to tell us about his company and update our investor audience on all the new happenings at Orford Mining.


(Click image to play video)

TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

SH: To start off with, David, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of the company?

DC: Sure. I'm a geologist by background and education. I spent about 15 years working as a geologist for a number of companies, including companies like Agnico Eagle following that I was an equity mining analyst covering mining companies and a research analyst for TD securities and Scotia capital. I did that for about 12 years and following that I joined a group called Dundee Corp and helped to manage money there. At Dundee I actually became CEO of one of our investment companies, Eagle Hill Exploration, where I helped to orchestrate a four way merger to create what is today’s Osisko Mining centered on the Windfall Lake asset which was in Eagle Hill. Osisko has been a big success. Eagle Hill was actually one of our investments at Dundee as well Orford Mining’s predecessor private company.

Orford existed for a number of years as a private company called True North Nickel, starting in 2012 and focused on exploring for nickel in the Cape Smith Belt of Northern Quebec, following that we made a discovery in 2016 where we believe we have discovered a brand new gold belt. So we decided to take this company public and we did that in October, 2017 and we've been developing the Qikavik project and continuing to explore the West Raglan project and have added a few other new projects to the company. We continue to add value to the company as we move forward.

SH: Can you update our investor audience and your Orford Mining shareholders on any new company developments, especially in the wake of COVID-19?

DC: Sure. The year 2020 was a difficult year, but it was also a year of consolidating, cost reduction and expanding property positions. We took the opportunity last year when we actually could not go to the Nunavik portion of Northern Quebec because of COVID restrictions. So we stayed at home that year, but we expanded our property positions in the Abitibi adding three new projects in the Abitibi through compilation work we did in that area. We worked on our financial and our capital structure and as well as made a number of cost reductions. We reduced our costs for financial management, and now outsource for those needs. We closed our office and moved to a shared office space, and we did a lot of other things to help save money. We are focused on putting more money into the ground and less into costs to help manage the company. This year with COVID 19 threats lessened we received approval from the Kuujjuaq regional government in Northern Quebec to be up in that part of Nunavik, Quebec on our Qiqavik and West Raglan properties and we have a very stringent COVID protocol to make sure everyone stays safe and keeping our employees and contractors safe while they're in our camp exploring the Cape Smith belt on both our West Raglan and Qikavik projects.

SH: You just launched crews to start your first 2021 exploration programs at Qiqavik and West Raglan. Can you expand on this boots-on-the-ground initiative for our investor audience?

DC: Yes, so on July 2nd we launched our 2021 programs. We started opening up our camp. The camp is called Chukotat, and it sits on our West Raglan project. We have an airstrip on our West Raglan project as well and we'll manage both Qikavik, which is situated just to the north of West Reglan and our West Raglan project from the same camp. As you may know, on the West Raglan project, In January we entered an agreement with Wyloo Metals, which is a very large private equity group out of Australia in January and they are basically spending the money on that project to earn up to an 80% interest they have to spend up to $25 million to get there. We are managing the program and will collect a management fee on that and we're going to do ground EM surveys with a squid sensor as well as prospecting and geology work to develop as many drill targets as possible on that project and a similar approach on the Qikavik project, which is a hundred percent Orford’s and we are doing a program of airborne geophysics, including magnetics and EM as well as geochemical sampling. The Qiqavik program includes additional glacial till sampling to close off our IP lake gold grain anomaly as well as geology and prospecting and follow that up with the diamond drilling at the end of the program. It's a very busy summer up there at Qikavik. Our camp will be full and we will spend between the two projects about $5 million in to coming year.

SH: Can you elaborate on both your West Raglan and Qiqavik exploration plans for 2021?

DC: Sure. So at Qiqavik, we've been there since 2016 and we've done programs every year, but we are the first to ever work this piece of land. So there's no history of work on this piece of property. There is not years of historic work done by lots of different companies, as is typical in most places in Canada. We have completed a lot of very systematic exploration on a property and it's a slow process because we don't get a lot of time on the ground when you need to see the rock cause the snow falls quite late into the spring and it starts pretty early in the fall. So until we have a center of gravity there, we keep our programs there to the summer months and this has kept us to only about 21 weeks on the ground prior to this summer. We have been successful developing a number of key targets. We have uncovered high-grade gold from across the entire projects 40 kilometers east west extent. This summer we're going to concentrate our efforts on what we call the IP lake trend. We think this trend is very similar to what you see at the Cadillac break in the Southern part of the Abitibi, which is a prolific gold camp with lots of gold deposits along that structure. We believe we have similar type structures at Qiqavik. This summer we're really excited to be getting into the IP lake trend and closing off the geochemical anomaly we have there. If you look at our website, you'll see the presentation and these amazing numbers that we get from that trend. We are very excited to get in there, close off that anomaly and drill some holes and we think this will be a very good summer for us. At West Raglan it's more of a summer of nickel drill target definition. So we're going to try to define as many drill targets as we possibly can through EM using a squid sensor. We are doing lots of EM grids and some prospecting and geology and sampling across the property. At the end of the summer at West Raglan we should have a number of Nickel Sulphide drill targets. We've never used that methodology at our property and the Glencore Raglan Nickel mine to the east of West Raglan, which is one of the lowest cash costs nickel producers in the world, they use this EM method and it has helped to increase their rates of discovery by three fold. We are going to use it on West Raglan and we really believe it is going to bear great fruit for the project.

SH: David, the company holds a massive land position in emerging new gold districts, primarily in Quebec’s far north. This may be news to many investors. Can you unpack the benefits of it?

DC: When you look at the world and you look at mining districts that exist already, most of the land is already staked up and it's very hard and expensive to acquire. Where we are in the Cape Smith belt, no one has really explored there for gold before we made the Qiqavik discovery which we think is a newly discovered gold belt. We staked as much of it as we think is prospective. That is an over 40 kilometer long trend. The property is bigger than the island of Montreal and about four times the size of the island of Manhattan. This is a big chunk of land. We therefore believe this is an opportunity for us because we are already there and there was little competition. For most people it's hard to get to a place like this and just decide that this is where we're going to go exploring. However, we were there with our nickel project already, and therefore the decision to explore this gold project and bring it to its fruition of discovery I think is the advantage that we have that others don't have in the belt. Plus, we've proven that the belt is gold bearing. We have found very high-grade gold samples across the entire belt such as 285 grams per tonne and 460 grams per tonne. The samples that we've taken across the entire property show a big gold endowment and we're getting closer to the source of that.

SH: The Company looks set for strong growth in 2021. How are you placed to expand operations to meet the upsurge in demand especially for nickel?

DC: We have already done a financing in the fall of 2020 when we raised $5.25 million. So we are fully financed to explore this year. Plus, we have the Wyloo deal on the West Raglan project. They are financing the West Raglan program and are going to spend $1.7 million on that project in 2021. Nickel demand is very strong because of the electric vehicle battery demand and as electric vehicles continue to be the new wave of vehicle development in this country and globally, even Ford has an electric vehicle, a pickup truck, which is one of the most popular cars in Canada. So as we move more towards electric vehicles the demand for electric vehicle battery elements such as nickel and cobalt will increase. We have both nickel and cobalt and copper on the West Raglan project. Those are all components to the electric vehicles demand. As that demand increases and we get towards discovery and potentially a mine development on that project we have the potential to meet that demand in the coming years. That demand is going to increase exponentially over the next 10 to 15 years and so we should be there and ready assuming we make that discovery that we believe it's there.

SH: For company shareholders and potential investors, what kind of future development and progress can we expect at your all of your projects, including a recent sampling program at the McClure East Gold Property in an underexplored region of the famous Abitibi Greenstone Belt?

DC: Yes, let's look at the McClure East property. It sits on the south splay of the Casa Berardi break, which is one of the most prolific gold structures in North America. It has the Casa Berardi mine to the West and a number of mines to the east and of course Joutel gold camp sitting in the middle where Agnico Eagle actually had its gold mining start. They closed down their mines in the area in 1993. We staked the McClure East and Joutel South properties which have seen no exploration since the mid eighties, the Joutel Omega property, was staked late in 2020 and is a very large project it has seen very little expiration since the sixties. I got my start in exploration working with Agnico in this area on the Joutel trend and I looked at when we were looking last spring during the dark days of COVID and I realized that no one's really been back here since Agnico Eagle closed their mine there in 1993. We are right in the middle of the Abitibi, there are roads, rail, and electrical lines, there is everything in the area. We really believe that this is an area that deserves more attention. So we've staked these pieces of land. On the McClure East, we've uncovered some great samples in our drilling we did this year, we did our RC drilling program to sample the overburden. We believe we're very close to the source of the gold in that overburden and we have some really good numbers, really high pristine gold grain counts in the drill holes. So this coming year we'll do some IP geophysics and some drilling on that property, probably the geophysics this fall and drilling next year, that would be our proposed plan. So I think as we move forward here with our IP lake trend at Qikavik and the potential for discovery there and our McClure east project and potential for discovery there, and the vast unknown potential that is Joutel Omega, which is a very large project of 170 square kilometers of underexplored land that hasn't seen much work since the sixties. We are really sitting on what we think are many potential discoveries.

SH: I have to mention your stock has had a very nice bump over the last 12 months…nearly doubling in value. What can you tell our investor audience regarding the current valuation of your stock and why you think it’s still a good buy right now?

DC: Well, I think when you look at the Orford name and the story, it's not very well understood because it is a new name and it's not a name that's out there in a sort of a lot of activity in the market. It's fairly tightly held, we've got some big names as investors such as Alamos Gold and the Karora Resources who own big chunks of the company. We have a lot of support from Alamos. Alamos owns 23% and continue to be supportive plus our $5 million exploration budget in 2021 and what we believe will be good news flow that will follow that. We believe this is the year that Qikavik for instance we'll see a game changer on that project. So we think there's a lot of value left in the company because we think the potential for discovery is huge on all our projects, especially Qikavik this coming summer.

SH: What’s the long-term strategy for the company moving into 2021 and beyond, and what should retail and institutional investors in the junior exploration sector be looking out for?

DC: The way I see this company and the future for exploration in the junior exploration sector is that I'd like to see it consolidate further. I would like to see Orford add more assets to its portfolio because really the only way to increase your value is to increase your net asset value and you can do that in two ways. You can have discoveries, or you can add more properties. So I'd believe doing both is prudent. I think we will have discoveries that will add value to our portfolio, but I would also like to add in new properties to our portfolio so that we can have properties at different stages of exploration, such as at deposit definition and grassroot exploration. So I believe we need to continue to add value through both of those, through the drill bit and discovery and through acquisitions and adding value.

That is why we staked the land in the Joutel Region of the Abitibi this past year. So that's our acquisition side, and we're continuing to drill and explore our Qikavik and West Raglan projects. So that potential is there and doing deals like we did with Wyloo to bring in other partners to share the risk I believe is important. There's a lot more risk on some projects like West Raglan because it requires a lot of dollars. So it's doing those types of things to add value, The junior exploration sector, as we all know, has a lot of companies and it's hard to value all the companies because some of them aren't doing a lot, they might have some great properties, not great management, or the other way around. So we want to continue to add value by, by bringing companies together or bringing assets together into Orford.

SH: Can you tell our audience a little bit about your corporate management and board teams, along with the experience and innovative ideas they bring to the metals & mining space?

DC: I'll start with our board. We made a couple important changes this year. We changed our board by bringing on John McCluskey. He's the CEO and President of and director of Alamos gold and he is the founder of that company. John has been in the mining industry for a very long time, has done a lot of great things in the mining sector and built some great companies. Having John on our board is a huge win. John doesn't do that very often, so it shows what he thinks of us and what we're doing. We also added Monique Rabideau. She's a lawyer with lots of experience in the corporate world, specifically in some mining companies. I sat with her on another board called eCobalt Solutions, which was a cobalt company in Idaho and Jervois Mining bought eCobalt. Monique was very involved in that M&A deal that took place. I believe having those two people added to our board has brought a lot of depth to our board and our board is also very independent. We have Mark Goodman who used to be with Dundee but hasn't been there in a while. We have Lawrence Smith, who's an ex portfolio manager, Ben Pullinger, who's the VP of exploration and corporate development for Excellon Silver. and Peter Macphail, who's the COO at Alamos Gold, a very deep team we have on our board. On the management side, our chief geoscientist is Alger St-Jean. He has a very long history with Falconbridge and then RNC minerals and now he's with Magneto. We share his time with Magneto, Magneto owns the Dumont nickel project in Quebec.

Alger provides us with a lot of advice and helps us work through things. Our VP of exploration is Michelle Sciortino. She's been the brains behind much of our work in the Cape Smith's belt, including our Qikavik success. Michelle and Alger are integral to our team along with our geological staff and have helped us move along quite fast and we've hired some other key people to help us understand different parts of the geology of each project. All these people together are really helping us build a great team. I mentioned earlier that I reduced costs this past year by outsourcing our financial needs. I use a group called Marrelli and associates. They are a CFO and financial management team that you can hire and so you share the cost with other companies because it's not really a full-time job at this point to do the CFO role for a junior mining company. All those people together make us what we are and we will continue to expand the team as we see fit and as needed.

SH: And finally, David, if there’s anything I’ve overlooked, the floor is all yours.

DC: Okay. So, you know, when you look at Orford mining and you think about what we are, we’re a company with an amazing gold project endowment between our Qikavik project in our Joutel area projects, including McClure East as well as huge nickel optionality to have a group like Wyloo come in. This is the same group who as put a bid on a company in Ontario that owns the crow's nest deposit in the ring of fire. So this company is really interested in nickel and really wants to make an effort in Canada. They're owned by a group called Tatterang, which is controlled by the Forest family, from Australia. So having that group give us a big pat on the back for our West Raglan Project by entering a $25 million dollar earn in deal with us is huge in my view.

Remember that's $25 million is bigger than our current market cap. I think we're around $23 million. This was a huge deal for us. Let’s speculate that there is a nickel deposit at West Raglan, it would be a plus billion dollar project. So that would be a $200 million value to Orford if we come to that discovery at West Raglan. We really believe that nickel optionality on top of our really strong gold potential of having our own brand new gold district in Northern Quebec will add a huge amount of potential to our valuation. I believe those are the two things to think about. In addition to the spending we are doing this year. It's our biggest exploration budget ever between Joutel, West Raglan and Qikavik. The news flow that will come out of those three projects in the coming year is tremendous.

For regular updates, visit orfordmining.com.



FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.


{{labelSign}}  Favorites
{{errorMessage}}

Comments

No comments yet. Be first to comment!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to be able to post a comment.

Get the latest news and updates from Stockhouse on social media

Follow STOCKHOUSE Today