Investing News Network recently spoke with Thunderstruck Resources CEO Bryce Bradley, about how she and her team are working to build value for shareholders through its portfolio of high quality projects in Fiji.
Thunderstruck Resources (TSXV:AWE) has developed a diverse portfolio of VMS and precious metals projects on the main island of Viti Levu, Fiji. The island archipelago is located on the Pacific Ocean’s resource-rich Ring of Fire and is considered a politically safe and stable jurisdiction for mining.
The company’s two flagship properties are the Nakoro and Wainaleka zinc-copper projects and the portfolio also includes the prospective Liwa Creek Gold Project, and Rama Creek copper-gold porphyry.
Investing News Network: Mining obviously isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Fiji. But the island nation does have a mining history and a wealth of resources. Can you tell us more about what makes Fiji a great place for a company like Thunderstruck Resources?
Bryce Bradley: I agree, most people don’t think of mining when they think of Fiji, they think of palm trees and beautiful beaches. But Fiji is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, and the country is in a mineral-rich zone of seismic and volcanic activity along which lie some of the world’s largest copper/gold porphyries and epithermal gold mines.
Fiji has a very mining-friendly government, and the country features many on-going projects ranging from exploration through to large-scale production. Many geologists affirm that Fiji has vast potential as one of the last underexplored areas in the world.
While Thunderstruck is an exploration company, it’s important to note that it already controls two proven zinc/copper discoveries in Fiji, as well as a copper porphyry target and a high-grade gold target. Our assets total nearly 4 percent of the main island. Moreover, our two discoveries feature grades up to 12 percent zinc and 2 percent copper over mineable widths, and our identified targets have returned samples as high as 30 g/t gold.
Our neighbors to our north have been mining in Fiji for nearly 100 years. The Vatakoula gold mine is owned privately by a Chinese group, and has produced over 7 million ounces of gold so far, with another 4.2 million ounces left to mine.
Newcrest and Mitsubishi are in development on their Namosi massive copper porphyry to the east of our properties, and another Canadian company called Lion One is in development on their nearly one-million-ounce gold deposit.
As you can see, Thunderstruck is in the position to benefit from a long line of mining history with a knowledgeable work force in a safe, stable jurisdiction.
INN: It’s interesting to note that Chinese and Japanese companies are already mining gold, iron ore, and other resources in Fiji. How does this benefit Thunderstruck?
BB: Yes, there is significant Asian investment throughout multiple sectors in Fiji, including infrastructure, tourism, and of course, mining. They own or have significant holdings in mines and mining exploration projects in many commodities including copper, gold, bauxite and iron ore.
Thunderstruck welcomes Asian investment in its projects and is open to many different types of investment, including joint ventures and private equity arrangements. Asian partners are a natural fit for Thunderstruck, given their need for base and precious metals, and as indicated by the current heavy levels of Asian investments in the country. As well, China has many smelters that it needs to feed and the proximity of Fiji makes the country an ideal location to find materials. Thunderstruck anticipates Chinese interest and for this reason our website has been fully translated into Mandarin.
INN: New Orleans Investment Conference president and Gold Newsletter publisher Brien Lundin is a co-founder of Thunderstruck as well as a major shareholder. Can you give us some additional insight into your existing shareholder base and share structure?
BB: I‘m the largest shareholder at over 10 percent, and co-founder and newly appointed Chairman Brien Lundin is likely the second largest shareholder. Approximately 70 percent of the stock is held by about 15 high net worth individuals. Other key stakeholders include Adrian Day, Doug Casey, Thom Calandra and a handful of other private, wealthy individuals.
With only 31 million shares outstanding, we’ve managed to keep a very tight share structure despite the difficulties in the resource sector these last few years. Our shareholders have been very patient while we negotiated for these projects, and we expect that their loyalty will be handsomely rewarded.
INN: You just completed the 100 percent acquisition of your optioned base metals and gold properties land package in Fiji. Can you explain the significance of this for investors?
BB: This news is very significant for investors since we now own a spectacular land package of highly prospective zinc, copper and precious metal targets encompassing nearly 4 percent of the main island of Fiji, a feat that has taken us three years to accomplish.
Moreover, we’ve achieved this purchase on very favorable terms with minimal share dilution and in a very challenging resource market. We are now poised to begin our exploration program on our pipeline of promising targets coinciding with the positive turn in commodity prices.
INN: I understand Anglo American conducted $10 million (today’s dollars) worth of historical exploration on your properties during the 1970’s. Can you elaborate on the results?
BB: Anglo drilled 20 holes at Nakoro, hitting numerous ore-grade intercepts including 12 meters at 12.7 percent zinc, 0.3 percent copper and 56 g/t silver, 23.2 meters at 5.1 percent zinc, 0.5 percent copper and 22 g/t silver, and 7.4 meters at 7.2 percent zinc, 0.3 percent copper and 54 g/t silver.
At Wainaleka, Anglo drilled 15 holes, returning ore-grade intercepts highlighted by 6 meters at 1.75 percent copper, 12.0 percent zinc and 25 g/t silver, 10 meters at 2.0 percent copper, 5.5 percent zinc and 47 g/t silver, and 15.5 meters at 1.4 percent copper, 1.3 percent zinc and 5.0 g/t silver.
Anglo also drilled a few holes in our Rama Creek copper gold porphyry target, with one hole returning over 244 meters grading 0.22 percent copper and 0.16 g/t gold, including 72 meters at 0.38 percent copper and 0.29 g/t gold.
We are lucky to be in possession of all of the Anglo drill data and core and, since commodity prices have appreciated significantly since the ’70s, it is our belief that we have a great opportunity to prove up mineable resources at one or more of our targets.
INN: Tell us more about the four key properties in Thunderstruck’s large land package and how you plan to develop all of these unique properties?
BB: Agreed, these are unique properties and each one deserves a fair bit of attention. They can essentially be divided into four projects: two zinc/copper, one copper porphyry and one gold epithermal. Now that we own 100-percent of them, we will commence exploration that includes mapping, geochemical and trenching programs to delineate drill targets.
Given the size of our land package, we will be seeking joint venture partners to avoid dilution to our shareholders on some or all of the assets, but in the meantime we can efficiently and affordably commence drilling operations with a man-portable drill rig that the company owns.
So we anticipate that, even at this early stage, we will be able to supply investors with significant and exciting news flow in the near term.
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