Meet the Junior Explorer Aggressively Drilling Highest-Grade Gold Mines in Canada
Talisker Resources Ltd (CNSX:TSK) (OTCMKTS:TSKFF) (FRA:2E6A) CEO Terry Harbort joined Midas Letter to discuss advancing its systematic exploration program in British Columbia. Talisker’s projects include the Bralorne Gold Complex, an advanced stage project with a historical high-grade producing gold mine, as well as the companies primary focus – the Spences Bridge Project. With the company’s properties comprising 277,292 hectares over 312 claims, six leases, 181 crown grant claims, 23 geologists in the field, a couple of thousand stream sediment samples, and defined numerous drill targets, Talisker is a dominant exploration player in south-central British Columbia. Watch the entire interview to learn about Talisker’s drill programs progress this year.
James West: Terry Harbort joins me now. He’s the CEO of Talisker Resources. Terry, welcome.
Terry Harbort: Good morning. Thank you very much.
James West: Let’s start with an overview. What’s Talisker Resources all about?
Terry Harbort: So we have two main focuses in Talisker Resources. The primary focus is our Spences Bridge exploration package.
James West: Oh, I know where that is! Nicola Valley?
Terry Harbort: That’s exactly it, yes, yes.
James West: Right. Love that area.
Terry Harbort: So it’s an early stage exploration program, and that’s what we found the company on, more or less. We were working with our strategic partners there, Westhaven Ventures, who, as you might know, discovers and now drilling out the Shovelnose project. We were able to stake around about 85 percent of that belt just prior to them making that discovery, in one of the largest single land-staking events in British Columbia history. So, very proud of that.
We’ve actually been working very hard in the first year on a very new company, just about ten months we’ve been listed for. But we’re also very aggressive, so we have about 23 geologists in the field, a couple of thousand stream sediment samples, and defined numerous drill targets that we’re going to attack and drill this year.
James West: Okay.
Terry Harbort: But we’ve also got a secondary focus, and that’s the Bralorne historic mine camp.
James West: Oh!
Terry Harbort: So it’s a larger drill-out process, and probably the flagship of our company, at present.
James West: Wow, interesting. Okay, so what’s the geological setting at Spences Bridge, and what’s the host rock and all of that?
Terry Harbort: Well, in Spences Bridge it’s what’s called a low-sulphidation epithermal deposit. We believe that it’s developed in a continental rift zone that formed in the Cretaceous, so it was a strike-slit, pull-apart basin. These basins initially filled with conglomerates that come off the surrounding higher materials, become lakes, and then open up wider, gets filled with volcanics, and then finally finish in the sequence with mayfic volcanics.
James West: So tell me about the Bralorne deposit?
Terry Harbort: So, Bralorne deposit was an old historic camp in British Columbia, was mined originally from 1929 to 1971. It was a total of 4.2 million ounces produced at an average grade of 17.7 grams.
James West: Wow, high grade.
Terry Harbort: One of the highest grade, longest producing gold mines in British Columbia, and one of the highest-grade, longest-producing gold mines in Canada in general.
James West: Sure.
Terry Harbort: So our belief there is that there’s a lot of un-mined potential still sitting along strike, and below the existing deposit. So initially when it closed, we were going through the history of the gold standard, gold price in 1971, when it closed, was $35 USD an ounce. So put that in current dollar value, it’s about $220 current dollars.
Also at that time, the US and Canadian dollars were at parity, so that was actually about $220 CAD an ounce. So we’re an order of magnitude different, now; we’re well up in the 2,000s.
James West: Right.
Terry Harbort: So there’s a lot of material that was actually left behind along strike, the existing veins; it just wasn’t economic at a $200 gold price. The production that we see there, it’s got incredible continuity, as well as the high grade. Historically, in two of the mines – Bralorne and Pioneer, we’re still compiling data for King – but for every 50 metres that they mined, on average they produced 115,000 ounces. So that’s about 2,300 ounces per vertical metre.
James West: Sure, that’s incredible. So then, obviously you’re planning to drill that, and do you have what kind of budget set aside for 2020?
Terry Harbort: So for 2020 just at Bralorne, we budgeted to do 25,000 metres of drilling. The cost for that, also with some de-watering, we’re looking at about $11 million direct into Bralorne.
James West: Okay. What’s your next sort of milestones that investors can look at and say, Oh, progress is happening?
Terry Harbort: Right. So we’re very aggressive with our exploration planning and our implementation. Key for everyone to know that we only actually acquired this asset in December of last year, so we’re only in the second months. We’ve already got our first drill rig on the ground; we’ve already drilled four holes. We should have drill results coming out before the end of this month, and we’ll have a stream of drill results coming out for the rest of the year.
We’re also finishing our planning on our de-watering. We finished the permitting plan and the water treatment plan, and we just finalized the engineering plan, so we’ll be initiating that water treatment, as well. So we’re taking the project forward on a lot of fronts. One of the fantastic things about the project is simply the amount of infrastructure that’s in the project. Because we’re in south-central BC and it’s a historic camp, we’re not facing the challenges that others of our peers have to face, like building roads across glaciers or 200-kilometre power lines.
James West: No helicopters, no tundra.
Terry Harbort: Highway to the front gate.
James West: There we go.
Terry Harbort: Power line connected to it, two Hydro plants just next door…already got a camp and kitchen. Fifty years of metallurgical data, very high recovery, 90 percent historic recovery…all of these fantastic things that, with building a large-scale and what we believe can be world-class resource, it really adds into a turnkey operation.
James West: Sure. So I guess because Bralorne was historically a producer, there’s no First Nations issues, there’s no environmental permitting issues?
Terry Harbort: No. So all of that’s all been already understood very well, and signed off by the government. We’re developing very good relationships with our First Nations, looking at quickly signing engagement agreements and business development agreements with them.
We have a quarterly environmental meeting with the Ministry of Mines and the Environment and each of the First Nations groups, that we chair, where we look at monitoring and we look at the water treatment. So it’s a very good engagement.
Talisker, as a company, we’re very committed to First Nation engagement. We’re one of the few junior explorers in the world that has a public policy on indigenous engagement; we implement integrated environmental techniques in our Spences Bridge area. We have a garbage collection system that, when we’re walking up the creeks anyway, we identify garbage and we collect that. Our geologists, we recycle some and donate that money.
We have invasive species programs where we identify invasive species and we either map and monitor that, or we extract it if it can be contained.
James West: A very proactive, community-oriented program. That’s great! That’s exemplary. The BCSC wants us to look at the warts as well as the sweet spots in any company we talk about, so where are the challenges here?
Terry Harbort: Of course. Well, obviously we’re looking at an old camp. We have to deal with drilling around where historic mines were. A lot of the mining that was previously done was hand-mining done with jacklegs, so now, as we move towards mechanized mining, our mining units are going to be larger. But we’re going to be a lot safer, as well.
Luckily, with the mining here, because it’s so high-grade, we can deal with that internal dilution and still have really good grade and still have very good economics.
James West: Sure. Is mechanical instability an issue at Bralorne?
Terry Harbort: As we understand, it isn’t. The host rock is actually an intrusive rock; it’s a coarse-grain diorite, so it’s a very, we believe, a very robust rock. Our drilling that we’ve done, all our QDs, all well in the 80s of percent. But honestly, we’re not going to know that until we’re underground, and we should be underground in April this year.
James West: Terry, we’re going to leave it there for now. Thanks very much for joining us. We’ll look forward to having you back with drill results.
Terry Harbort: Thank you very much.