What was your initial inspiration for founding Newfoundland Gold?
When we were looking at restructuring our company and moving it to Newfoundland, one of the things I identified was that there was a lack of awareness about the jurisdiction. I previously set up another organization, called the Yukon Mining Alliance in the Yukon, and the premise was that it is important to market, promote and educate people about the jurisdiction and the companies within it. Investors can then pick what works best for their specific investment strategies.
As we were moving into Newfoundland, staking and buying up properties, it became clear that we were being presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is a phenomenal gold rush happening and this is going to take the world by storm. We set out to educate people on the jurisdiction, highlighting why it is an amazing place to work. We cover everything from infrastructure, to tax and power rates, to government support, and the geological survey database. From there, we begin marketing the companies involved. We are very fortunate that 12 companies have joined our alliance so far, and we continue to expand our membership.
Since setting up our organization, we have seen phenomenal results led by New Found Gold and the investment of Eric Sprott, who has taken a 20% or greater ownership stake in a dozen companies in the province. It is turning into the most exciting exploration story in the world right now.
How does the permitting process in Newfoundland compare to other world class jurisdictions?
The permitting time is short in Newfoundland. There are a number of permits to get, but you can permit in eight to 12 weeks. Furthermore, when all the governments across Canada were cutting their budgets for geological surveys, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador increased theirs. They invested time into putting everything online, so companies can now go in and know what to stake. This online staking system was implemented during the pandemic, so you could stake during Covid.
What are the keys to building upon exploration success and further derisking the development of mining in the province?
When you see New Found Gold stepping out a kilometer at a time and hitting gold, that is when people are going to realize that this is going to start to look like Australia and South Africa. When you start seeing more results, you will see more investment interest and less skepticism.
Does Newfoundland have the infrastructure in place to sustain a mining boom?
There are so many forestry roads in Newfoundland, that you can drive anywhere, and you can probably stay at a B&B in a community that night. The money goes into the ground here rather than going into travel, helicopters, and camps.
Have citizens of the province shown support for mining?
When you stake the whole province, you are going to eventually create concern in a community or collectively as a province. However, companies have been very clear that just because they stake 1,700 km2, it does not mean that two years from now they will still have 1,700 km2. The process for exploration is that you do your soil sampling, and you take it down to a manageable and affordable size. This huge swell of staking will pull back, so to the extent that concern exists, it will be managed.
The nice thing about Newfoundland is that the people have a history of mining and industrial development. They have gone through very difficult times, where they lost their primary industry be it cod fishing, mine closures or industry slowdown. Therefore, many Newfoundlanders had to leave the province in order to work. If you go to many mining towns, these communities would be made up of 50 to 75% Newfoundlanders. They were willing to go 3,000 miles to get a job, but they now can take the skills that they would use elsewhere and go home. As long as you manage the development and you do not overstrain the community, I think you have a handle on social licensing.