What drew you to joining Canadian-based Rupert Resources?
I decided to re-enter the industry and joined Rupert Resources as CEO in 2017 to build a business in a Tier 1 jurisdiction. Canada is such a well-known destination for raising funds for the resources sector and an established base to have our public listing and headquarters, regardless of where your assets are around the world.
Can you elaborate on Rupert Resources’ balance sheet and the company’s financing strategy moving forward?
Our Finnish assets got transferred into Rupert Resources in 2016, and we had a very strong core group of shareholders that funded the company through the early, high risk, conceptual stages of the business when it is hard to attract external investors. From there, we started to demonstrate the success of our exploration approach and attracted the interest of Agnico Eagle to come onboard as strategic investor in February 2020. Not long after, we started to demonstrate the prospectivity of our land package and in particular the new 4 million oz Ikkari discovery, which has been the main driver for the valuation of the company over the last 18 months. With people starting to understand the discovery, we have been able to raise C$48 million to continue exploration with 60% of our budget allocated to Ikkari and 40% of our budget allocated to our regional program and on making further discoveries of scale. We are well funded until the middle of 2023.
Can you speak to Rupert Resources’ partnership with Trillium Gold Mines at the company’s Red Lake asset?
As we focused our attention on our Ikkari discovery we were looking for partners for our Canadian assets. In August 2020, Rupert Resources entered into an arm’s length, definitive agreement to joint venture the company’s Gold Centre property in Red Lake with Trillium Gold Mines. Trillium will have an 80% participating interest in the joint venture and Rupert Resources will have a 20% carried participating Interest. In order to maintain its 80% Participating interest, Trillium will be required to spend C$2 million per annum in each of the first five years and C$500 000 in each subsequent year. After the completion of a positive feasibility study and a decision to proceed to production, expenditures representing Rupert’s 20% participating interest will be treated as a loan by Trillium to Rupert Resources.
Can you elaborate on Rupert Resources Lapland project and highlight some recent developments?
The Rupert Lapland project in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt (CLGB) in Northern Finland includes our multi-million ounce Ikkari discovery and permitted Pahtavaara mine and mill within a total land package of 595 km2. The CLGB can be compared to the Abitibi in Canada, or greenstone belts in West Africa and Western Australia, as it has significant similarities. The CLGB has two gold mines of significance - Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä mine, the largest gold mine in Europe, and our permitted Pahtavaara mine. There is also significant base metals potential in the region with Boliden’s Kevitsa mine and Anglo American’s world class Sakatti project located in close proximity and Rupert’s systematic exploration program is designed to find deposits of scale across the commodities spectrum.
In September 2021, we announced a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate for Ikkari of 49 million tonnes at 2.5 g/t Au for 3.95 million ounces. This estimate was based on over 36,000 m of drilling to the end of June. What makes Ikkari unique is that it is a cohesive deposit comprised of broad intervals of strong and consistent gold mineralization which can be drilled off relatively quickly to an inferred category. Ikkari remains open at depth and along strike and up to a further 90,000 m of drilling will be conducted by the end of 2022. We believe the demonstrated size, grade, cohesive mineralization and growth potential, combined with non-refractory metallurgy and proximity to infrastructure, positions Ikkari as one of the most high-quality advanced exploration-stage assets of recent years. We are surrounded by hydro facilities and a large proportion of our power supply is from renewable sources. The site also has excellent 4G connectivity. We are well funded for further exploration and will deliver a PEA in mid-2022 to give the market some color on the potential the discovery holds.