“[We thought] why break the magic? Let’s keep it together,” says President, CEO and Director George Salamis in this interview.
Investors are often told that one of the keys to identifying good companies is to look at management — the idea is that people who have been successful before are likely to be successful again.
The team behind Integra Gold, a Quebec-focused exploration company purchased earlier this year by Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD,NYSE:EGO), is ready to put that idea to the test. The company’s key players have joined forces once again at a new company called Integra Resources (CSE:ITR), and according to George Salamis, their plan is to recreate the success they saw at the original Integra.
“This is a team that works extremely well together. We all work hard, we all get along very well,” he said via phone. “[We thought] why break the magic? Let’s keep it together.”
Salamis was Integra Gold’s chairman, and he’s taken the helm at Integra Resources as president, CEO and director. Stephen de Jong, Integra Gold’s president and CEO, will fill the role of chairman at Integra Resources, while Andrée St-Germain will retain her position as CFO.
“Last but not least would be the rest of the team,” said Salamis. “From a technical perspective they have been involved with great discoveries. And for a capital markets/investor relations team we have probably the best of the best. [At Integra Gold,] there was not a week that went by that one of us wasn’t on the road doing marketing, getting the word out.”
The group was undeniably effective at Integra Gold. Over a period of about four years, the company rapidly grew its Lamaque gold project’s small resource to an asset that Eldorado Gold was willing to pay nearly C$600 million for. “We really grew the company quickly — perhaps quicker than anything I’ve ever been involved in during my career,” Salamis noted.
As mentioned, the goal is for Integra Resources to follow a similar trajectory, though at the moment it’s still early days. To form the company, Salamis and his team took over Mag Copper, a CSE-listed shell company with no assets — the the hunt is now on for the perfect property.
“Post-Eldorado transaction we had a lot of people showing up on our doorstep with asset ideas and things we should be looking at, so we’ve been really busy for the last little while now,” he explained. “Precious metals — gold, silver — is what we’re good at, [and we’ll be looking for] a project that’s resource stage that can be moved to PEA and prefeasibility studies, and then on to development.”
In terms of location, Salamis said Canada and the US will be Integra Resources’ preferred areas. “We are very mindful of the benefits of having an asset in a first-world jurisdiction like Canada or the US,” he said, adding, “we found [at Integra Gold] that having an asset in Quebec, for example, attracted a pretty good premium to our share value.”
The company hopes to have acquired its first project by late September or early October, and from there it’s possible others will follow. “Ultimately it would be nice to get a second asset in — it’s always good to not be a one-asset company,” said Salamis. But Integra Resources’ first asset will be its flagship and first priority, with large amounts of drilling already envisioned.
“One of the things we did really well [at Integra Gold] was just focusing on drilling, just drilling a lot of meters and constantly keeping rigs active,” Salamis explained. “I think that’s a key ingredient in our success, [and] that’s certainly what we’re going to focus on at our next asset.”
Salamis noted that to keep that type of momentum going the company will need to raise a fair amount of money, which is still a tough prospect in the market today.
“Financings are just barely getting done now, the market isn’t really buoyant,” he said. “I think part of that is the fact that the ETFs have largely robbed the resource funds of capital. So a lot of investment capital that would traditionally go into the resource funds that fund activities in the junior space are definitely going into ETFs instead.”
Even so, he’s confident that Integra Resources will be able to secure funding. “What we’re counting on to a large extent is our shareholders who invested in the first version of Integra. A number of them approached us [after the Eldorado transaction] and said, ‘whatever you guys do next as a company we would like to back you financially’ — obviously subject to us getting an asset,” Salamis explained.
For now, he’s encouraging investors to “stay tuned” for more news about Integra Resources’ first acquisition. “Also stay tuned for other things that we’re doing. We haven’t departed from a responsibility to keep a mining technology angle to what we do, and we’re working on a few things internally. Keep an eye on this space.”
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.