Canadian Orebodies (V.CORE) was very quiet over the summer and early fall. Few press releases. No hype. Just prospecting and then an October announcement of a drilling program at the company’s Wire Lake project. As Gord McKinnon put it in this release, “This first phase of drilling is designed to test six target areas, several of which are virgin discoveries made by our prospecting teams over the last two seasons that have never seen any advanced exploration or drilling”.
Then not a word for a little over two months.
Until December 11, when Canadian Orebodies announced spectacular drill results from the Super G vein in what the company is now calling the Smoke Lake Gold System and one of the highest-grade gold intercepts in the Hemlo greenstone belt outside the Hemlo mine complex. It is a red letter occasion when a company is able to announce it has drilled over half a meter of 443 g/t Au rock as part of a two meter interval grading 133.2 g/t gold.
The market liked the news and CORE was up $0.09, representing a 42% increase on the day of the announcement. “It is nice to see a stock go up on good news,” said McKinnon who noted that too often good news is taken as a liquidity event and a chance to sell.
“The Super G vein has always been thought of as a single narrow high-grade gold target,” said McKinnon. “Entourage drilled it in December 2011 and found 2.4 meters of 44.5 g/t Au, which was the best hit outside the Hemlo mines complex itself until our intersection.”
“Our 2018 drilling program at the Super G has provided us with a much better understanding of the target and that it is part of a network of mineralized structures we identify as the Smoke Lake Gold System,” said McKinnon. “Now we clearly see that there was more to this target than the one, narrow, high-grade vein. We planned to drill three holes but ended up drilling five after visible gold was encountered in the holes and the presence of multiple distinct veins was becoming obvious. Hole BR-2018-002 which intersected the best drill cut to date was drilled down plunge and was successful in tracing the high-grade mineralization over a 170 meters. The grade got spectacularly better and established the continuity of the plunge that should allow for us to continue following it at depth.”
Looking at the Smoke Lake Gold System generally, McKinnon said, “We’re seeing a series of veins. We intersected 19.1 g/t Au over 2.0 metres in the Markes vein. And we are seeing good results in the Discovery vein as well.”
What all this means generally is that CORE is no longer just looking at a single, high-grade vein but rather at what may well be a greenstone-hosted gold vein system. “There is high-grade potential in each of these veins,” said McKinnon. “As we’ve drilled the grades have improved and so has our understanding of the system, which will greatly assist our 2019 drilling.”
The drilling itself was a bit challenging. The Super G vein is trending to the south under a lake so the drillers had to go in at oblique angles. They got the job done, but the fact is that drilling down which requires setting up winter drill pads on Smoke Lake rather than off the shoreline is the way to go. The good news is that the lake freezes well in winter.
“We’re working on the permits to let us drill off the ice this winter,” said McKinnon. “It is basically an amendment to our current permit. There will be consultations but we have a good relationship with the Pic River First Nation and we’re hopeful the ice permit will not take long.”
“Our plan is to drill a couple holes to fill in the high-grade Entourage holes to surface and then drill at depth under the current high-grade hole and then under that,” said McKinnon. “Additional holes will be planned to target for other undiscovered veins in the system.”
CORE has been methodical in assembling the land it sees as potentially hosting a significant extension of the Hemlo gold belt. It has been equally methodical in developing and implementing a prospecting, mapping and sampling program to identify the drill targets on that land. Canadian Orebodies has also assembled a distinguished Board of Directors and Advisory Committee. Nearly 50% of CORE’s outstanding shares are owned by Osisko Mining (12%), Northfield Capital (17.6%) and management and directors (17.9%). The company has cash in the bank to finance its next drilling program and the capacity to raise more cash as required.
2018 was a down year for many gold explorers and CORE is no exception having traded as high as $0.34 in January 2018 and now trading at around $0.25. But what is striking about CORE’s trading patterns is just how little stock is on offer. Following the December 11 announcement and the sharp rise in the stock price, no shares at all traded for two days.
Investors seem more than willing to hold their shares and see just where McKinnon and his team will steer Canadian Orebodies in 2019.