"At Noble, our job is to take out the early risk on a project by completing all of the airborne surveys and compiling historic and current data."
Can you explain Noble’s current interest in Canada Nickel’s Crawford project?
When Noble spun out the Canada Nickel (CNC) deal, we gave our shareholders a direct benefit through exposure to CNC’s large Crawford resource. With Crawford sitting a few kilometers north of the Kidd Creek complex, we felt that there was an opportunity that could encourage Glencore’s participation. That is going to be a call that CNC’s team will be making down the road. The prefeasibility study will be available in early 2021 and that should give us a good handle on the kind of numbers we are looking at, but we know it is a very large deposit.
The other properties that were optioned out to CNC are potential low-grade, nickel, PGM, cobalt deposits that we know from our experience drilling them contain between 0.25 to 0.27% nickel. Recently, CNC completed an airborne mag and gravity survey over the option properties, and they are ready for a drill program. Right now, Noble owns approximately 2.1 million shares and we distributed 10 million to our shareholders. If CNC wishes to pick up the second option, Noble can take back additional shares, depending on the number of options that they pick up, or take cash back.
Can you provide an update on Project 81, including mobilization of the diamond drill at the Dargavel Gold Trend project?
We recently completed a drill program with a partner on the Dargavel Gold Trend and we are currently waiting on results to come in from the assay office. With respect to other opportunities at Project 81, we are entertaining option and joint venture partners coming in on certain areas of those projects. Additionally, the group that came into the Carnegie Township option is planning an active program over the course of the next few months.
What did the exploration update from the Holdsworth oxide sand project preliminary metallurgical results show?
Noble engaged Dundee Sustainable Technologies to determine whether a gold concentrate could be generated from the oxides and, utilizing their system, we were able to generate over 90% concentrate. The next step is to determine the kind of resource we have and what kind of economics will be associated with the asset. It is early stage, but we have hope that it is something that may be able to generate some fairly near-term cash flow in the next 12 to 18 months.
What role do you think the project generator model can play during a bull market?
At Noble, our job is take out the early risk on a project by completing all of the airborne surveys and compiling historic and current data. We do this to the point where the next round of de-risking the project is at the drill phase. From there, we have another partner come in and carry that out either in association with Noble or on their own, whereby we can then take a position down the road. Normally, if it is another junior or mid-tier company, we will take an equity position in them and take a ride on their paper. Then, in the final analysis, we can take a direct interest should they prove something up. It is about laying off the next round of risk to the partner coming in.
Which of Noble’s projects are currently best suited for partnerships?
The one project that Noble would like to find an active partner on is the Lucas gold project. We now have a very good handle on its geology and we know that we have a 1,700 m strike length there, of which we have only drilled something in the order of 600 m. It is a project that has some legs, but needs a deep-pocketed partner to come in on it.
Do you have a final message for potential partners about Project 81?
Project 81 is in an area that has been totally underexplored. It is covered by overburden and consequently there is no outcropping on it. As a result, the only way that you are going to be able to determine whether there is a successful deposit is by going out and drilling. Noble has taken out the early risk by carrying out up-to-date airborne EM/Mag surveys, and we are considering doing a gravity survey over the entire project area. The potential on an asset in an underexplored area, with significant infrastructure, is very high, and Noble’s success with the CNC deal has validated our land package.