"Golden Valley Mines often looks at commodities which are out of favor and are generally depressed. Currently, we are looking at nickel, iron ore and uranium. In terms of geography, we are currently quite favorably looking at Ontario. As Quebec has a very attractive and supportive mining industry, it is also very competitive here."
Can you give a brief overview of Golden Valley Mines and some recent milestones?
Golden Valley Mines was incorporated in late 2000. The company focused on early exploration and grassroots project generation for both projects and royalties. We work with gold, precious metals, energy minerals and base metals. Historically, we have had operations across Canada and abroad, but today, our core focus is mostly within Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec, the company has worked from the very far north, in the Nunavik region, to Labrador, James Bay and the Abitibi region.
Golden Valley Mines has approximately 100 projects and we operate through both our own subsidiaries and conventional joint ventures. Our business model is quite different as we do not spend our own money on exploration, with the joint venture partner having the obligation and responsibility to provide all of the funding. Funding can also come from one of our own public subsidiaries.
We have formed three subsidiaries, Abitibi Royalties (RZZ), Val d’Or Mining Corporation (VZZ), and International Prospect Ventures (IZZ). The subsidiaries are all publicly-listed, raise their own funding, and each one has its own business focus. Abitibi Royalties holds a royalty in the largest gold mine in Canada – Canadian-Malartic gold mine located near here in Malartic, Quebec. IZZ operates solely in Australia and focuses on gold and precious metals in the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia. VZZ is responsible for most of the grassroots early exploration activities in the Val d’Or – Timmins region. The largest shareholder of these three companies is Golden Valley Mines, and we (GZZ) are thus the project generator, major shareholder, and the parent corporation.
How does Golden Valley Mines identify prospective partners?
The ideal partner changes with time, circumstances and commodity prices. In the current market there appears to be interest in precious metals, gold in particular, and approximately 70% of all of the financing in Canada is dedicated to precious metals. This means that 70% of Golden Valley Mines’ potential partners work within the precious metals or gold space. We do not only follow commodity prices as to find partners, as we believe that the best deals are done in the worst markets. The ideal partner for us will have financial capacity.
In Canada, there are approximately 1,600 public companies, of which nearly 1,200 are mining companies, and thus, investors have a broad range of choices. Golden Valley Mines tries to make ourselves unique by focusing on the fact that we are based in a mining town and therefore have significant experience within the region.
Can you elaborate on the geology in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt and Golden Valley Mines’ operations in the area?
The Abitibi greenstone belt is about 450 km east-west and about 200 km north-south in the middle; more or less in the shape of an oblate spheroid. It is a sequence of meta-sedimentary and meta-volcanic rocks which are intercalated and tilted on their side, like the edge of a table, and all of this is variously intruded by porphyries and other sequences. Most of the general trends are east-west, through compression, which has caused movement that is also east-west and manifest as shears and faults. In the Val d’Or area, there are two major geological structures which are largely responsible for the distribution of most of the gold mines. Highway #117 is actually the original prospectors’ trail from the early 1900’s and, although they were not aware then, their exploration and development kept finding gold and other mineral deposits which became the significant mines along the major structural corridor, which is now called the Larder-Cadillac Break. The second major feature, also very important for gold mineralization, is further north and called the Destor-Porcupine Fault Zone. Most of the gold mines in the area are along one of these two structural features.
There are a significant number of mining companies, both juniors and majors, spread along this greenstone belt, most of whom have the simple business plan and ambition to make a discovery and sell it off to a major. Very few companies actually go through the process of discovery, development and production. Most of the infrastructure in the Abitibi greenstone belt was established because of mining companies as well as constructed by mining companies. The government is also an important player, but they work in tandem with the mining industry and offer a significant amount of support in policy, planning, regulation and incentives.
What gives Golden Valley Mines the competitive edge to make a partnership model work?
It is very hard to survive in the mining industry, but only survivors can win. Golden Valley Mines believes that by implementing a business model, which allows us to survive through difficult times, this will give us a much better chance to prosper in good times. Joint ventures afford us the opportunity to continue doing what we are good at, which is finding new projects and then finding new partners again. We are always looking for new partners and projects.
In what geographical location and what commodities does Golden Valley Mines see the most opportunity for future expansion?
Golden Valley Mines often looks at commodities which are out of favor and are generally depressed. Currently, we are looking at nickel, iron ore and uranium. In terms of geography, we are currently quite favorably looking at Ontario. As Quebec has a very attractive and supportive mining industry, it is also very competitive here. Ontario is often overlooked. Operating in Ontario tends to be much more affordable, even though the rocks might be from the same belt. It does have its challenges, however, so this becomes a hedged bet that they will make changes over time to make it more attractive.
Do you have a final message for our international readership?
The Abitibi Greenstone Belt has over 100 years of exploration history, but it is still virgin territory with an abundance of opportunity. There are, or have been, over 100 gold mines with over 1 million ounces of production, which totals nearly 200-million ounces to date. It is still the principal gold producing area of Canada. The region is overburden covered, or masked, with muskeg, swamps, forests, etc. and therefore geophysics and geochemistry are important exploration tools. Outcropping rock comprises only about 2% of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, with 98% of the area being hidden under this cover of vegetation. This leaves a wide-open terrain for modern exploration techniques. Another benefit is that the government is not only encouraging, but they have a huge appetite for investment in the mining industry of Quebec due to the important contribution the industry makes to the economy and the many high-paying jobs it creates.