Can you elaborate on the Moneta Gold’s name change and the progress made in your flagship project, Tower Gold?
Changing our name from Moneta Porcupine Mines to Moneta Gold was our way of adapting to the new era of search engines and social media. It was time for a rebrand to focus our strategy primarily on gold, especially following the acquisition of the adjacent Garrison project. In December 2020, we updated our resources and added a new underground discovery with significant open pit resources at Westaway. The acquisition of the adjacent open pit resources at Garrison was completed in February. This increased our resources to 8.4 million ounces, of which 4.4 million ounces are indicated, 4 million are inferred, and 2.8 million ounces are underground, while 5.6 million are open pit. One more round of drilling was planned to test southwest near-surface resources, Westaway and others. A 70,000 m resource expansion program will be completed in 2021. We expect to have a resource update by early 2022, following processing and an assaying geology model.
A PEA will follow the updated resource for the new combined Tower Gold project, including all of the Golden Highway and Garrison zones. We will also embark on a PFS, to be completed by early 2023. We are well underway with our environmental baseline study and have already initiated our community engagement programs. The DFS will likely begin in 2024.
What is the secret behind the performance of your share price relative to your peers?
The first trigger that the market took note of was our resource update last year. Our share price then increased further following our deal with O3 Mining. They are our largest shareholder, with a 26% shareholding, and were brought in as a partner with the acquisition of the Garrison project. They are looking forward to playing a part in a major gold development story so our visions are aligned. People liked the idea of the consolidation of a much larger project.
It is also a reflection of the marketing strategy we put in place.
How do you strike a balance between delays in assay results and keeping a steady news flow?
Laboratories are overwhelmed and were unprepared for the large volume of work this year. We have been affected by that in North America, and it will impact our resource update. Another reason laboratories are delaying the results is due to Covid-19 and social distancing measures, limiting the number of staff available. We did not feel tremendous pressure from investors regarding these delays. Nonetheless, our shareholders want to see a steady news flow, which we take into account. We are considering alternatives and doing what we can to get results back as soon as possible. Moneta relies on a primary laboratory and a secondary one. One must be careful not to send samples to too many laboratories as you need to maintain similar procedures and QA/QC.
Given the rising interest in metals such as copper and nickel, why does gold remain an attractive investment opportunity?
Gold remains a great store of wealth and hedge against inflation. The volatility of currencies, particularly the dollar, only puts gold more in the spotlight. In many countries, the main store of wealth is to buy gold, and in some, everything from rentals to financial agreements are backed by gold equivalents. It also has other uses in the electronics industry, for example. Demand for gold is set to increase.
What potential do you see for Timmins?
Timmins is Canada’s largest most prolific gold mining camp. It offers excellent infrastructure and resources, and is a prime camp for new development. Since infrastructure is already existent, our operations have a lower carbon footprint relative to other jurisdictions, since we do not need to build new roads or structures. Recent M&A activity has attracted the world’s largest gold producers, such as Newmont who acquired Goldcorp. Kirkland Lake, who is a major player in the region, merged with Agnico Eagle. We are right in the middle of the new investments taking place and we have the largest set of undeveloped projects there.