Canadian Energy Materials CEO Michael Schuss talks about the company’s goal to find Congo-style cobalt mineralization in Canada.
In the interview below, Schuss reflected on how cobalt was originally overlooked at Grindstone and how mining companies need to continue to pursue new ideas and make new discoveries.
Below is a transcript of our interview with Canadian Energy Materials CEO Michael Schruss. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: What is it about the Grindstone property that attracts you right now?
Canadian Energy Materials CEO Michael Schuss: When I saw the Grindstone project in New Brunswick we were looking for Carlin-style mineralization.
INN: For somebody who doesn’t know what that is, what do you mean?
MS: It’s a type of gold mineralization and plays into our theme of ‘Congo in Canada’. We wanted to see if we could find Congo-style geology in Canada, which we can because Canada is such a large country.
Noranda owned the project in 1993 or 1994. Some former Noranda geologists re-staked the project around the time that I was looking for a cobalt project. When they contacted me, I realised its potential and we moved on it quickly.
INN: What was it about the information that you received that made you say, I know this is a good find?
MS: When looking for mining properties, you use old reports in your research. Cobalt wasn’t always looked for in the average assay package until approximately the mid-1990s. Anything was assayed for copper or nickel, but not cobalt. When looking at these reports, we look for stream sediment or placer cobalt, if you want to call it that.
At this point I had probably looked at 300 cobalt projects from around the world and when I saw the stream sediment numbers for cobalt at Grindstone, the numbers were so high that I thought it was an error. The consistent, high-cobalt stream sediments in this area have never been looked at for cobalt.
INN: Do you think that because Noranda and Inco weren’t looking for cobalt, their assessment of this property is marginal?
MS: At that time, Noranda owned the Brunswick 12 lead-zinc mine in the Brunswick camp. They also had a copper mine in Gaspe, not too far from their Brunswick mine, but in the same formation of rocks. They were looking for a copper skarn like they had at Gaspe. Subsequently, they drilled on the property with the intent to find copper, not cobalt or nickel.
INN: Were the results there in the assay reports that came back from this that you were able to review?
MS: We obtained our information from the reports they filed and that can be found within the government’s database. When we obtained these results, we were trading at one cent and broke. We received a loan and we’ve been using it over the past 18 months as we assemble our land package.
INN: So what makes you so excited about this project?
MS: They did a large airborne magnetic survey that was never explained. We have the data and are in the process of reinterpreting it. So far, we’ve flown an airborne survey using a new process called magnetotellurics. We also have some targets that will be drill-ready by January or February 2019 and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to confirm that it’s a Congo-style mineralization.
INN: Based on the fact that you have a structure of moving up a large-scale project like this, where do you go from here?
MS: We want to give credence to the idea that there’s a Congo-style cobalt mineralization in Canada, which is really not that foreign a concept. We have the Pine Point deposit that is based off of the same model that the Mississippi Valley mineralizations are based off of. Missouri is home to the world’s largest lead–zinc producing district. The Missouri Geological Survey and the University of Missouri are the leaders in this type of geology and they’ve been mining in that area for almost 300 years.
INN: Once you confirm this, are you going to seek out a development partner?
MS: I think we’d be able to do it ourselves. In the beginning we’ll have to raise more money, as being able to prove the concept doesn’t mean that we’ll have a higher stock price. I also think we’ll gain a lot of interest from the technical side of the business.
Everyone is focused on these old, washed-up cobalt projects, but to have someone new come in and suggest that they may have a regional play is significant. If you found the Bathurst 12 mine now, you’d probably have a $100 stock. It’s also in an area that the majors know quite well and is known to host large deposits.
We’ve been pretty quiet as we complete our land assembly and we’re finally ready to let the world know what we’ve got. This, in part, is because the scientific geological community is coming up with new ideas and discoveries. We wanted to find something that nobody else has looked for and I think this is probably as important as the money you make.
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