Balmoral Resources (TSX:BAR) has drawn plenty of positive attention from the mining community lately, and it’s easy to see why. With the acquisition of three properties today, the company has secured the last 2.3 kilometers of the projected strike extent of the Grasset Ultramafic Complex in Quebec’s Abitibi region. Grasset is the site of Balmoral’s recent high-grade nickel discovery, and the company wanted to make sure it got every slice of the proverbial pie.
Headed by seasoned exploration geologist Darin Wagner — and much of the same management team that led West Timmins Mining when it was acquired by Lake Shore Gold (TSX:LSG) in 2009 — the Canadian exploration and development company has a substantial portfolio of both early and advanced exploration projects in the Abitibi region. Balmoral is working hard on its Martiniere and Grasset advanced-stage projects, actively drilling at both sites in order to further delineate its gold and base metals deposits.
Today, the company completed the purchase of the Jeremie (ABE), 5 and 8 properties to ensure that it owns the entirety of the Grasset Ultramafic Complex. As Wagner told Nickel Investing News, “there’s about a 2.3-kilometer swath at that northern end of the host intrusion that we didn’t own, and this ties that up. So now we have the whole thing, and we have the whole thing 100 percent to Balmoral’s credit.”
Investors may be wondering why Balmoral was so keen to secure the entire formation, but Wagner explained that the reasoning behind the transaction was fairly straightforward.
“I think we just wanted to make sure that it’s us who finds it if there’s additional mineralization similar to the nickel mineralization elsewhere along that trend,” he said.
The CEO explained further the benefits of getting in early as far as property acquisitions go, stating, “it’s always cheaper to buy properties early in the evolution of a discovery rather than waiting until there’s a discovery on the other property. There’s a tad more risk involved in that there might be nothing up there, but having said that, if there is, then we acquire it for a very, very low price and we all go home happy.”
To be sure, Wagner has reason to be excited about the Grasset property. Follow-up drill testing at the project’s gold discovery intersected a previously unknown occurrence of nickel-PGE mineralization, and drilling at the property has continued to yield excellent results. Highlights from the most recent drilling at the property, announced May 20, include the intersection of 45.28 meters grading 1.79-percent nickel, 0.19-percent copper, 0.42 g/t platinum and 1.04 g/t palladium, “confirming the potential for very high grade nickel and PGE values within the system.”
Watchful investors will note that Balmoral’s stock has almost doubled since those results were released. When asked about what’s behind those gains in the company’s stock price, Wagner said it’s all about the timing. “It’s a combination of very good results from both the nickel and the gold side and a slightly improved resource market,” the CEO stated. “I think that we’ve had strong results from both projects into an improved market.”
He also sees the current positivity in the nickel market as a driving factor for Balmoral’s rising share price. “There’s an element of speculation built in on the nickel side as to what this is, and I guess ultimately what it might become over time,” he said, “but it’s largely predicated on the results to date, and some anticipation of the results to come with the drills currently turning on both projects.”
To be sure, investors interested in the nickel space will want to keep an eye out for further results from Balmoral. As Wagner said in the company’s May 20 press release, “[w]ith recent price increases demonstrating the sensitivity of the nickel market to political uncertainties in major producing regions, the lack of new nickel discoveries globally over the past several years, the strength of the grades, wide nature of the intercepts, significant PGE content and apparent scale of the mineralized system, the Grasset discovery would appear to position the Company to attract significant interest from investors in both the precious and base metal sectors.”
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.