Triumph Gold VP of Exploration: The Deepest Drill Program in Yukon History
Triumph Gold believes it has found a potentially massive deposit underneath the previous drill holes made at the Freegold Mountain property.
Triumph Gold (TSXV:TIG,OTCQB:TIGCF) Vice President of Exploration Tony Barresi recently joined the Investing News Network to discuss his company’s progress on the Freegold Mountain property in Whitehorse, Yukon.
The company is taking a patient, low-cost approach to exploration on the property, leveraging existing infrastructure, which is expected to result in a relatively affordable cost per meter explored when compared with similar mining operations in the area.
Triumph Gold believes it has found a potentially massive deposit underneath the previous drill holes made at the Freegold Mountain property. According to Barresi, mineralization commonly found in large copper-gold porphyry systems becomes highly concentrated near the source of heat that originally created the formation.
Following this hypothesis, Triumph Gold believes it has found a potentially massive resource that could return higher concentrations from deeper drill targets. The company intends to drill over 1,600 meters deep during its upcoming drill program, with the capability of going down to 2,000 meters if necessary. Like the Red Chris mine in Northwestern British Columbia, Triumph Gold is optimistic that deep drilling at the Freegold Mountain project could reveal another significant underground discovery.
Below is a transcript of our interview with Triumph Gold Vice President of Exploration Tony Barresi. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: Tell me a little bit about Triumph Gold. What is your symbol? Where do you trade? And what is your role?
Triumph Gold Vice President of Exploration Tony Barresi: Sure. Our company’s name is Triumph Gold. The symbol is TIG on the Venture. I’m the vice president of exploration for the company.
INN: There’s some pretty exciting news right now as we go into this exploration season. Where are you at? Tell us what’s happening on your property.
TB: That’s right. Our flagship property, the Freegold Mountain property, is located just 200 kilometers north of Whitehorse. It’s surrounded by most of the exciting projects that are going on in Yukon right now. We’re just to the south of Minto mine, we’re close to Western Copper and Gold‘s (TSX:WRN,NYSEAMERICAN:WRN) Casino project and Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT,NYSE:NEM) Coffee gold project. Unlike most of those projects, we have great infrastructure. We have a road running right up into and through our property.
INN: You’re about the closest site to Whitehorse, aren’t you?
TB: Absolutely, yes. Not just close to Whitehorse, but the road gives us such incredible bang for our buck when it comes to exploration. We’re looking at an all-in cost for exploration at somewhere around C$250 a meter. Whereas many other exploration companies in Yukon are looking at all-in costs of C$400 to C$550 a meter, and that’s because of our road. The same synergies that we have for exploration with the road would translate into development as well.
INN: This is no small matter.
TB: Oh, no, it’s a big deal. For our exploration this season, whereas many companies would be mobilizing helicopters and flying in fuel and all of that kind of stuff, we’re just driving a drill onto the property from Whitehorse. It takes us half a day and we’re driving it straight up to where we want to drill our first pad. We’ve already done that, and we’re starting the exploration program.
INN: What are you endeavoring to do when you’re on site?
TB: We have a big plan for this year, testing a big idea. Something that’s very different than what we’ve done in the past, different than what most exploration programs are designed to do. We have a one season, already financed, already started to be executed program that is designed to test and show whether or not a broad, 6 kilometer long area has a potential world-class porphyry copper-gold deposit deeply buried underneath it. We’ll be drilling the deepest holes that Yukon has ever seen into what we discovered last year, which is the highest-grade porphyry ever discovered in Yukon.
INN: So you already know that there’s a rich reserve there?
TB: We know that the mineralization that’s associated with this porphyry body is richer than anything that’s been found in Yukon before.
INN: For somebody who doesn’t know what a porphyry is, what is a porphyry?
TB: Porphyry is a type of mineral deposit that typically has copper and sometimes gold. It’s the type of deposit that is actually the main source for copper around the world, but these are deposits that are very, very large. They’re not little deposits and they’re also not super high grade. A lot of people think of exploration as something where you’re looking for really high-grade stuff. But the other thing that you can look for instead of high-grade material is large deposits of low grade. You might think that’s not as good as the high-grade stuff. But it’s actually better.
INN: Why? What makes it better?
TB: I was just listening to an interview a few months ago of Pierre Lassonde, who started Franco-Nevada (TSX:FNV,NYSE:FNV) and made loads of money for everyone. He was saying that the real bread and butter of royalty companies are large bulk-tonnage deposits. It’s because even though there might not be as high grade of mineralization, because of the size of the thing, they go and go and go like the Energizer Bunny. They’re lasting for 20, 30, 40 years and paying and paying and paying the whole time. That’s why these are such significant deposits.
INN: Is the makeup of that deposit limited to gold?
TB: No, there are often copper deposits. In fact, most porphyry deposits are mined primarily for copper. What’s really interesting about our porphyry intersections is that we have among the highest ratio of gold to copper of porphyry deposits anywhere in the world. We’re looking at about two parts gold to one part copper as far as the value of the rock that we’ve been mining goes. That’s really unheard of for porphyry. We have great exposure to copper, but we have better exposure to gold than almost any other porphyry exploration story out there.
INN: Are other minerals frequently found in porphyry deposits?
TB: That’s right. Molybdenum is a by-product in most copper-gold porphyries. Some porphyries are just molybdenum. But there’s not many of those being mined right now. Molybdenum is a metal that’s used to give tensional and torsional strength to steel. So it’s very important for railways and buildings and that sort of thing. We probably have a recoverable amount of molybdenum in this as well, which adds to the overall copper equivalent grade of the system.
INN: The resources on the property have previously been recognized as uneconomical based on past metal prices. How has your company changed the equation?
TB: We have three resources on the property, current NI 43-101 compliant resources. They amount to about 5 million gold equivalent ounces in the ground. We love having those resources. But when they finally were defined around the end of 2012, the metal prices then and now didn’t demand a capital investment for a mine and mill. It was just too marginal. The new approach that we’ve taken to the property is to find something that’s economic today. To do that, we took a step back from those resources and we looked at pure greenfields exploration potential. Something that the company hadn’t really been doing for a few years because they’ve been so focused on defining those resources.
In 2016 we identified some great exploration potential. I presented those ideas at a technical conference in Whitehorse in November of 2016. Goldcorp had just bought Kaminak for the Coffee deposit, which is just steps from us. They were bullish about the Yukon. They loved our exploration ideas. A few months later, they bought 19.9 percent of our company for C$6.3 million. Since then, we’ve used that money conducting two of Yukon’s most aggressive and successful exploration campaigns that culminated last year with us making an intersection that was one of the best greenfield exploration intersections in the world, revealing the highest grade porphyry ever found in Yukon. That’s what we’re following up on this year. We defined that over a small area last year. But we think that that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to find this year.
INN: You’re that optimistic?
TB: I’m very optimistic for two reasons. First of all, when you look at these things, you need them to be large. We think that what we tagged into last year is very large. We think that it’s actually extending over about a 6 kilometer area, but that it’s fairly deep and has never been tested by drilling before. So our drill program this year is testing those deep targets along that whole strike length. I’m super excited about defining the deep potential over a long strike length. But the other thing that we have going for us is grade. Not only are we going to define a larger body, but we expect that we’re going to hit even higher grades than the very high grade that we hit last year.
INN: What leads you to be so positive? What are the telltale signs that give you that indication?
TB: Geologically, when you’re looking at a porphyry system, porphyry is always related to magma bodies that have come up into the Earth. We think that the intersections that we’ve made so far are quite high above that magma body. But when you get closer to the heat source, that’s where you find higher-grade mineralization, more voluminous amounts of mineralization and more continuous mineralization. That’s typically the kind of thing that is actually what turns into the mine. We don’t think we’ve touched that with drilling yet. As we vector down through these high-grade zones that we hit last year, we’re going to be experiencing an increase in the grade as we come closer to that heat source. Geologically, that’s normally the case.
INN: Is that why your company has decided to drill the deepest exploratory hole in Yukon history?
TB: That’s right. One of our holes we’re looking at drilling is planned to be 1,600 meters deep with a drill that has the capacity to go to 2,000. A lot of people raise their eyebrows and say, “How could you possibly think that something that deep is worth exploring for?” But around the world, deep drilling has been a game changer for porphyries. And as you drill deeper, you often get into higher grade mineralization, which then allows you to look at options for underground mining instead of open pit mining. There are all kinds of deposits around the world where that’s the case.
INN: Is that what happened to the Red Chris mine? It looked like it was not necessarily an economical mine. But they went deeper and look at the result.
TB: That’s right, Red Chris in Northwestern British Columbia. That’s a mine that had been explored for 30, 40 years. Lots of shallow holes, and it just wasn’t going anywhere. One deep hole over a thousand meters revealed a great increase. They had a massive long intersection, and a few years later, it was mined. Now we have an Australian company that has come in and basically bought out the rights to mine that underground at depth from Imperial Metals (TSX:III,OTC Pink:IPMLF). Just in the last couple of months this has happened. That’s a real endorsement for underground mining of the stuff where it’s really high grade. We’re going to be the first company ever to test that potential in Yukon.
INN: So what is the timeline of your next steps? When can we start to expect to see results?
TB: Our drill program started basically yesterday. I expect that we’re going to put out the results in batches. It’s always hard to predict exactly when that’s going to be for a variety of reasons. But I expect that we’ll be putting out results sometime around mid-August when we start our first batch.
INN: Will that determine your next steps?
TB: That’s right.
This interview is sponsored by Triumph Gold (TSXV:TIG,OTCQB:TIGCF). This interview provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Triumph Gold in order to help investors learn more about the company. Triumph Gold is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.
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