Aben Resources President and CEO James Pettit joined INN at VRIC to discuss his explorationist strategy, expert team of geologists and progress being made at the Forrest Kerr project in BC’s Golden Triangle.
Aben Resources (TSXV:ABN,OTCQB:ABNAF,FWB:E2L2) President and CEO James Pettit joined the Investing News Network at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference to discuss his company’s explorationist strategy, expert team of geologists and progress at the Forrest Kerr project in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle.
The Golden Triangle has become a hotbed of mineral exploration activity thanks to recent developments in infrastructure, including roads and power lines, as well as higher gold prices and maturing global gold production. Aben Resources’ Forrest Kerr project is in the center of the Golden Triangle. The company’s phased 2019 drill program expanded mineralization at the North and South Boundary zones, which both remain open in various directions and at depth.
Below is a transcript of our interview with Aben Resources CEO James Pettit. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: What is your company name, your symbol and what market can they find you on?
Aben Resources CEO Jim Pettit: The company name is Aben Resources Limited. The symbol is ABM on the Toronto Venture Exchange and then it’s also on the OTCQB in the United States, under ABMAF.
INN: Tell me a little bit about the company. When did it come together, what properties do you have and which one are you active on?
JP: Well, we’ve got three projects right now. The main one is the Forrest Kerr, which is in the Golden Triangle of northwestern British Columbia. That’s the one we’ve spent a lot of money and time on since 2016. We also have a project in the Yukon, which was the remaining property of about five we had up there. We weaned them out all out over time, when Yukon was really hot. We’ve kept the Justin and Hit properties. They’re very similar in nature and Hit is just north of Justin. We’ve done most of the work on Justin up there and it’s still worthy of more work. Just waiting for a better time for the Yukon. It’s expensive.
Then, we’ve got a third project, the Chico, which I’m making the determination on over the next month or two as to whether we’re going to proceed. I think it’s a really good potential property. It’s right on the southern border of SSR’s property, the site of the old Claude Resources mine. Their Fisher property extends right down to our Chico property.
INN: Primarily, you’re most active right now is in the Forrest Kerr project. So, where are you at there?
JP: Forrest Kerr is where we’re spending 90 percent of our money. We’re now four years into it. In 2016 we assembled the ground, and in 2017 we conducted our first drill program, which was extremely successful. Nine holes, and in three of those holes we hit massive grades. You know, the classic 10 meters of 38 grams, 32 grams, and those three holes were indicative of the zone. Then the season was over, and next year we came back. In the offseason, the stock was back down to seven to 10 cents. Then we started up again and the stock did its run. It’s an area play up there, so it’s got a lot of eyes on it.
Our first hole from 2018, I’ve never seen a hole like that, especially in Western Canada. It was massive. There were four zones in that hole. But the primary one, the big zone, was pretty substantial. It was another one of these 38 gram holes, but over a much greater intersection. Then there was an upper zone and two lower zones below it, and that zone allowed us to immediately raise C$4 million. We took down C$1.5 million in warrants, and I already raised C$1.5 million for the season. Eric Sprott took down half of the C$4 million. And he’s still there. He’s got the Midas touch. He’s investing in a lot of deals because it’s just the time to do it. In his mind, it’s all cheap. It’s a good deal.
So that’s our primary interest right now. That’s where we’re focusing. So that year, I upped the meterage for the drilling to 10,000 meters and that gave us the money for 2019, which was almost 10,000 meters as well. I’ve still got C$1.5 million left over, and right now I’m looking at what to do for this year.
INN: Do you have the drilling plan for this year?
JP: By the end of this week, I will. Cornell McDowell will be in town, he’s the VP of exploration. He runs the program like I’ve never seen a program run before. That’s an expensive area to work in. It’s very extreme terrain and he’s got our cost to about C$250 per meter. Whereas in the Yukon, I remember the last time I actually did a big extensive program there, it was more like C$450 to C$500 per meter.
INN: That’s a big difference.
JP: Yes, he’s got really good control over things and he’s doing the modeling right now. I got the 3D modeling coming in. We’ve got an awful lot of analytical data. Plus we’ve done a big airborne mag survey this year that directed the drilling we were doing. So this past year, we didn’t hit the great big high-grade zones because we had drilled 35 holes in and around that high-grade zone that we hit initially. It’s called the North Boundary Zone. The whole area is called the Boundary Zone. So we took the geophysics and coordinated that with surface sampling and geochemistry. Then we were testing longer holes, drilling into these and moving south and we were hitting longer intersections of lower grade gold. Plus it was polymetallic, which we didn’t have in the North Boundary Zone. We had gold and silver, sometimes associated with chalcopyrite. Not all the time, but that’s when we knew we were on to something was the chalcopyrite. Now we’re hitting more of these longer low-grade intersections and it’s polymetallic, so something’s changed.
INN: As an investor, what’s my opportunity right now?
JP: Well, if you want to look at it from a chart perspective, just look at the seasonality of it. This is a big seasonality play. It’s about a three to four months season up there. The end is just before tax-loss selling, so everybody exits. It doesn’t matter how good it is, they exit. Takes a few years to stabilize everything, but from a resource perspective, it’s still one of the best environments in the world to be drilling. The one knock on it is the complexity of it. The structures are very hard to nail down.
INN: What is the infrastructure in place in the region that’s going to allow for the building of an operating mine?
JP: All the infrastructure is fine. That’s why everybody’s back there. It’s been years and I think 1993 would have been the last big cycle there. Prior to that, it was Murray Pezim’s day, right? That was the introduction that year of flow-through finances. That’s what made it take off. That’s what helped get Snip and Eskay Creek up in production. Aside from the fact that they were two of the richest mines put into production at that time.
Today, the infrastructure has changed dramatically. The road is paved all the way up to the Yukon, basically. It used to be a dirt road. There’s an airstrip right on the highway, which we use. That’s where we base our helicopter that comes out and picks up everybody out there. There’s a massive power system right there. AltaGas built the McClymont power station. It has three run of river projects that all flow into the one. It’s producing so much power that I think BC is selling about C$1 million a day in energy to Washington State. It’s big. Basically from the Terrace Kitimat area up to the mine site and then up to Dease Lake. The power line’s huge and follows the highway. It’s a straight run north. So, you’ve got enough power there for probably 30 more mines.
One more thing, there are lots of contractors up there now. The helicopters, the drillers, the core handlers, everything — they’re there.
INN: Is this a property that you’re going to develop and hope to see acquired? Or is it a property you’re hoping to develop and build-out?
JP: Our model is to sell. We’re explorationists. I’ve got Ron Netolitzky, our chairman of the board, he’s one of the best. He was in on Snip and Eskay. Tim Termuende is a project generator. He’s on the board and very active with me. Cornell McDowell is an amazing geologist. He’s got a really good eye. We have access to a lot of other geologists to assist that are some of the best in the biz. So, we’re going to take it as far as we can. We would like to take it to a point that we can get the interest of a major to come in and start spending some of their money. Then you give them a first right of refusal.
INN: Right, but you’ve got the team, you’ve got the property and you’ve got promising results.
JP: Yes, especially for grassroots exploration business, I don’t like taking something that has never had work on it. What we have here is a property that was three separate claim units, owned by three separate companies. We brought it all together and compiled all the data they had over the last 30 years. That’s massive, you know. It’s 20,000-plus soil and rock samples and 120 holes drilled. We put that all into a compilation study to give us a direction to go when we first got in there, and it turned out to be a heck of a success.
We want to keep going. There’s a lot of mineralization that we’re hitting — it’s more polymetallic because you got zinc, silver, gold, copper and even lead. It’s just something’s happening roughly close to the Kerr fault, where you get a lot of sub-faults coming off it. The complexity is there and we’re getting a better understanding as we go. Plus we have a massive database.
INN: Well, thanks for coming in and bringing us up to date. All the best on this project.
JP: Thank you very much.
This interview is sponsored by Aben Resources (TSXV:ABN,OTCQB:ABNAF,FWB:E2L2). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Aben Resources in order to help investors learn more about the company. Aben Resources is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.
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This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.