“Definitely the strongest financing is coming from retail investors. Institutional holders, particularly those based in North America, are not nearly as dominant as they were even just a couple years ago. Billion dollar funds have become a tenth of the size today.”
Could you describe the development and exploration that has taken place at the Red Mountain project in 2017 and 2018?
Red Mountain is one of the few near-shovel-ready, high-grade, high-margin potential gold producers in the industry. IDM Mining has focused on getting to a shovel-ready stage, securing all of our permits while continuing to explore. Our intent is to update our feasibility study, which was published in August 2017, because we have significantly expanded our measured and indicated resources since then. We are currently undertaking a drilling program and aim to have a fully permitted, highly-feasible, affordable, bulk-mineable underground operation in the Golden Triangle. We received our Environmental Assessment Certificate in October 2018, the largest milestone in the permitting process in B.C. We anticipate that we will get our federal approval no later than January 15, 2019.
Your resource estimate for 2018 increased by 20% comparatively to 2017 in measured and indicated gold ounces. What can we expect for 2019?
It is our goal to continue expanding the resource. These results are directly related to a geological breakthrough we had in the fall of 2017, which allowed us to gain a greater understanding of the Red Mountain project. Each gold deposit in the Golden Triangle is fairly unique in terms of the style of the gold mineralization. With the help of one of the top geologists in the world, enlisted through one of our larger shareholders, Osisko Gold Royalties, our technical team was able to simplify our geological model. We noticed that after the gold mineralization had formed, tectonic plate movements had caused it to fold into a series of waves. What we initially thought were parallel zones, were in fact the same horizon. The deposit is now wide open for expansion and we are now currently drilling to prove the model.
How will you continue funding your operations throughout development and into production?
We are currently completing an equity financing to fund the current phase of exploration resource expansion drilling and the feasibility study. We will need to do another raise in 2019 for about C$6 million to complete the additional engineering work. Typically, mining companies will raise funds through three primary options: debt, the issuing of more shares, or equity and royalty sales. The markets are challenging at the moment and we have no intention of diluting the company excessively to finance mine construction. Once the project economics are demonstrated with the updated feasibility study, we will be looking to add value for shareholders through potential M&A or JVs with other juniors operating in the Golden Triangle. It could also be majors looking to grow their production profile with a low-cost producer. Our target is to reach production on or before 2022.
What types of investors are most interested in the junior sector at the moment?
Definitely the strongest financing is coming from retail investors. Institutional holders, particularly those based in North America, are not nearly as dominant as they were even just a couple years ago. Billion dollar funds have become a tenth of the size today. We have the same number of companies, with the same amount of demand, but much fewer institutions out there. Europe is growing, especially the UK, and Australia has been booming for quite some time. We are currently competing with cannabis and crypto-currencies, but other times in the past it has been energy. Once or twice a decade, gold becomes the flavor of the month, and that is when the tables will turn again. Until then, we will continue to build a company for whenever we have another gold market.
Glacial retreat in B.C. is opening up new targets for exploration. How much has this impacted IDM Mining’s operations?
In the past couple of years we have seen a thin area of glacial ice retreat about a square km near our resource. Glacial retreat has led to many new discoveries in B.C. such as the Mitchell deposit at Seabridge's KSM Property and Pretvim's Brucejack Mine. These movements also allowed for the discovery of Lost Valley, with high-grade veins varying in thickness from 5 cm to 100 cm, traceable up to 1 km in strike, about 4 km southwest of the Red Mountain resource. It is certainly very rare to enter an area with completely new bedrock that no other eyes have seen.
When a glacier expands, it will plough the forest down like a bulldozer. When it reaches the maximum point and starts to melt again, the trees it knocked down become vegetation mats that can be radio-carbon-dated. A glaciologist from the University of Victoria age-dated IDM Mining’s project area, and discovered that over the past 2,500 years, the glacier has expanded and retreated four times.