Can you outline what encouraged Radisson to attempt to revive the historical O’Brien project?
We are exploring for gold right next to what historically was the richest gold mine by grade in Québec. Our 100% owned property is in a great mining camp, covering more than five kilometers of prospective strike along the Cadillac Fault, including more than 2.5 km to the east and 2.5 km to the west of the past producing O'Brien mine. This mine was a consistent high grade producer for 20 years. It produced just under 600,000 ounces from 1926 to 1957, with average grades in excess of 15 grams per tonne. The old timers mined down to 1.1 kilometers before the shutdown in 1957, and that was not because they ran out of gold, but because the gold price at the time was US$35 per ounce, which did not justify extending the shaft any deeper.
A few companies undertook exploration programs at the project but the geology wasn’t well understood until early 2019, when Radisson took a fresh look at the asset. This led to a new structural model, and that is when things started to fall in place.
What are the advantages of O’Brien’s location?
We are located in elephant country, with a number of large producers within 70 km of O’Brien including Agnico-Eagle, IAMGOLD, Wesdome, Yamana and Eldorado. Québec is a great jurisdiction for mining, and we are located in the world renowned Bousquet Cadillac Mining Camp, which is widely considered the best mining camp in the province. We are right off the Trans-Canada Highway, and we have access to power, infrastructure, skilled labor, support services and everything needed to support a low-cost mining operation. In addition, there are a number of operating mills with spare capacity within driving distance of O’Brien which also plays to our advantage.
What are your observations on the deal making environment in the Abitibi, and what are the implications of Radisson’s New Alger transaction?
This is a camp that is strategically important to many large companies, so I am not surprised to see a lot of consolidation in the camp. Following the recent acquisitions of the Wasamac project by Yamana and QMX by Eldorado, there are not many smaller players with meaningful land positions left in the camp.
The New Alger acquisition was a transformational acquisition for us. It increased our land position nine-fold and gave us the scale to be relevant to a broader audience. In addition, it increased the prospective strike we control along the Cadillac Break to over 5 km.
How do you view the current price environment for gold, and how does it affect Radisson’s access to financing?
For several years money was not available to exploration companies, but now that is changing with investors becoming more positive on gold. In particular, companies with exploration assets in Canada have many more advantages including lower geopolitical risk, stable mining regulation, access to a broader range of financing alternatives and investors. Companies such as Radisson operating Québec benefit from strong financial support from provincial organizations such as the CDPQ and SIDEX, both large shareholders of Radisson. For these reasons we are able to raise money at very attractive terms to fund our exploration efforts.
What is Radisson’s plan to progress O’Brien moving forward?
Since the last resource update in July 2019, we completed 60,000 meters of drilling to the end of 2020. I would say that the work that we have done so far has not only validated our model, but exploration results have continued to expand this deposit along strike and at depth. We have another 70,000 m of drilling to complete for a total of 130,000 m of total drilling that we plan to complete following the last resource update. We are ramping up our exploration program in 2021, with the aim of a resource update next year, so you can expect strong news flow over the next 12 months.