Philippe Cloutier, CEO of Cartier Resources (V.ECR), understands that investors want a company to do what it says it is going to do. At the Chimo Mine project in Quebec, Cartier developed a plan which Cloutier was confident would position the past-producing mine for a new life as a gold producer.
The Chimo Mine had been closed in 1997 because the price of gold had plummeted. As Cloutier is fond of pointing out, “Chimo did not close because they ran out of gold.” The problem was that the price of gold had cratered.
For Cloutier, the challenge of the Chimo Mine has been to prove up the value of the gold that remained as well as demonstrating that there was “new” gold surrounding the old workings of the mine. While the shaft and drifts of the old mine are flooded they could be dewatered and recommissioned for far less than it would cost to sink a new 900-meter shaft. If the gold was there.
Back in 2014 Cartier began looking at the historic mining data for Chimo. By December 2016 Cartier was able to announce the successful results of a drill program which tested an extension of one of the gold zones on Chimo Mine project. Soon thereafter it attracted a strategic investment from a local and global Gold producer – Agnico Eagle. That sponsorship brought in all the funding Cartier needed to get the job done. To date, Cartier has drilled over 50,000 meters in a three-phase program. The program has tested over 25 known gold zones and was successful in prioritizing 7 zones of which 3 are now the focus of drilling. The second part of Phase III is currently in progress with hopes to expand the dimensions of three new zones. These significant programs extended the gold mineralization below the original mine workings and explored and confirmed mineralization of new zones and structures some distance away from the original shaft. Mid- 2019 drilling was suspended in order to produce an initial 43-101 compliant resource. On November 5, 2019, Chimo announced that in the Central Gold Corridor of the Chimo Mine it had a resource of 461,280 ounces indicated and 417,250 ounces of gold inferred in the Central Gold Corridor. In that resource estimate, a gold price of $1292 USD/oz was used and the cut off grade was 2.5 gpt.
The history is important because it illustrates Cartier’s methodical, conservative and realistic approach to building ounces.
“We’re optimistic,” said Cloutier. “While the market takes it’s time to turn Cartier is focussing on doing the work required to better understand and rate the value of the Chimo Mine project.”
Cartier is continuing to do the work. “First off, we have just awarded to an independent firm the mandate to commence work on a second 43-101 Resource Estimate which will include the drilling results from the Northern and Southern Gold Corridors,” said Cloutier. “This will add to the ounces identified in the Central Gold Corridor. We’re hoping this will raise it to over 1 million ounces.:
“We also have two drills testing an area just 450 meters east of the shaft where the first Resource Estimate generated ounces in the inferred category,” said Cloutier. “The results from those zones should lead to a third resource estimate”. With that work, Cartier thinks it could clear the 1.5 million ounce mark.
While drilling continues, Cartier has also launched internal engineering studies. In the press release in which it officially filed its 43-101 Resource Estimate, Cartier included a table to illustrate how using various cut-off grades impacts tonnage and grade of the mineralization:
|MINE CHIMO PROJECT – CENTRAL GOLD CORRIDOR|
Cut-Off grade (g/t Au)
Metric ton (t)
Grade (g/t Au)
Troy Ounce (oz)
Metric ton (t)
Grade (g/t Au)
Troy Ounce (oz)
“Mineralization at the Chimo Mine project is in large part hydrothermal and that affects large volumes of rock at a constant grade and in lesser part related to veins,” said Cloutier.
The table speaks for itself. However, a 1.5 Au gpt cut-off grade has to be justified and that justification could be, in part, given when the various technical aspects of the project are “mathed-out” and factored together. This is all made better if you use the current price of gold of say, $1550 rather than the $1292 from the first 43-101.
“We are working on several fronts that should produce valuable news flow,” said Cloutier. “Our goal is as always to reward shareholders for their support and confidence they have had in us.”
The engineering studies and additional Resource Estimates will also put Cartier in a position to realistically evaluate the Chimo Mine project as an asset. Which is important as there are a number of parties interested in buying a project with gold ounces and a potentially very low CAPEX.
Cloutier’s eye is always on maximizing shareholder value and to do that he has to know what a reasonable value is to put on the Chimo Mine project. “We have loyal shareholders and money in the bank,” said Cloutier. “we are preparing for 2020 to be a pivotal year for Chimo.”
Hard work, delivering on plans and a conservative approach to valuation mean that the Chimo Mine is ready to be acquired if the right offer comes in. While Cloutier would like to see the company’s hard work and its shareholders’ patience rewarded, he is in no hurry. If the Chimo Mine project makes economic sense at USD $1295 gold, then it will make even more sense if gold goes to USD $2000.
You can visit the Cartier Resources website here.