First Mining Gold Corp. a Canadian gold developer focused on the development and permitting of the Springpole Gold Project in northwestern Ontario, one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in Canada.
The company made news this week, when it offered to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of Beattie Gold Mines Ltd.
The transaction consolidates one of the largest advanced-stage, undeveloped gold projects in Canada – including the Duquesne and Pitt deposits, to create a multi-million-ounce gold resource district.
First Mining can become a leading Tier I gold development company, owning two prolific Tier 1 multi-million-ounce gold assets.”
TMH: To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of the company?
FIRST MINING: First Mining was founded in 2015 by Keith Neumeyer who was the founder and CEO of First Majestic Silver, well known to a lot of people who’ll be seeing this and Keith and some likeminded individuals in the last Savage downturn of the gold sector ended up acquiring eight projects or companies in about twelve months into and created the portfolio that we have today at First Mining Gold. That’s really sort of where it started. I joined in 2019 as CEO and we’ve done a lot of work to really find ways to bring lots of capital to develop the projects that we had in the portfolio. Some of which we’re advancing ourselves, some of which we have partners advancing but in total now, three or soon to be three wholly owned projects that we’re advancing including Springpole as you said. Our Cameron project and Duparquet and three projects we brought partners in on being Treasury Metals and the Pickle Crow project with the Auteco Minerals and the Hope Brook project in Newfoundland with Big Ridge Gold.
TMH: Can you update our investor audience and First Mining Goldshareholders on the developments behind the Beattie Gold Mines acquisition?
FIRST MINING: This is a project that we’ve owned a portion of since First Mining acquired a company called Clifton star in 2016, Clifton star had an option to develop the Beattie project from 2008 to 2014. They and their partners did in excess of 260,000 meters of drilling on this project in that 2008 to 2014 timeframe and took the project a prefeasibility study thorough environmental baseline work, thorough metallurgical program and millions of millions of dollars far more than we’re spending to acquire it and invested in advancing this project and in the end they weren’t able to fulfill their earning obligations. Since 2015, the world’s kind of forgotten about this project but we have been working with the shareholders of Beattie Gold Mines and the other two companies really as partners over the course of the last few years and as we got to know each other and we had a really aligned vision on what we’d love to see happen at this project. We kind of earned the right and earned the trust of the shareholders to be able to have a shot at moving this project forward, which we’re confident in our team is very well set up to do.
TMH: You also just released your inaugural annual ESG Report. Can you expand on this initiative for our investor audience?
FIRST MINING: We’re delighted to have got that first kind of environmental baseline ESG report pulled together. What we came to realize is that basically everything we do as a project developer in the mining industry is ESG. We are intensely focused on the environment having taken Springpole to a point where we’ve published our draft environmental assessment but that 10,000 page environmental assessment is the result of 10 plus years of data collection and a lot of hard work in putting together a thoughtful plan to be able to demonstrate we can develop the project without adverse effects to the environment but so much of what we also do is operating in the context of the communities around our project, be that local communities, indigenous communities and it’s something that really touches every bit of our business.
The big benefit for us of the ESG report is it gave us a framework really to start measuring how we’re doing on environmental and social relationships with our local communities and an example of that is it’s allowed us to really start having a framework to track how much money we’re spending in the local economies and really track what our economic contribution and development is how many locally sourced contractors are we are we bringing into our project? What are we buying for all of our spend and how do we target that to local communities? So it’s been it’s been a great process for us to go through and one that we’re looking forward to continuing to go through year on year to demonstrate not only that we have a good baseline on ESG but we will continue to improve year on
TMH: The company looks set for strong growth in the second half of 2022. How are you placed to expand operations to meet demand?
FIRST MINING: What’s interesting is we take on another 5 million ounce gold project I think need to add incrementally to our team’s resources to be able to do that but a lot of it is kind of the stage that our Springpole project is at. It’s hit a couple of milestones where a lot of the work has kind of moved from our team compiling and driving particularly this draft DA report. It’s now in the hands of regulators and in the hands of our communities and some of their consultants and they’re compiling and collecting their feedback to come back to us to understand where if they think there’s any deficiencies, if there’s other things they’d like to see studied and I think that puts us in a really good position while we’re in kind of this period in between the draft and the final environmental assessment for our team to shift a bit of their focus onto starting that process a new with the Duparquet asset in Quebec.
So that’s starting with environmental baseline work. It’s starting as Springpole;s going through a full blown feasibility study at Duparquet, we can take a step back and look at really kind of the thoughtful part of trade off studies. What are the options that we can study in terms of a development scenario? How do those integrate with what we want to do on the environment side? How do those put together a compelling proposal that’s both economically and environmentally sound, work with our regulators around the project and with the local communities around the project to understand their perspectives as well. And yeah, we kind of we sort of have the, the core of our team you know, with the capacity to be able to do a lot of that high value work here in the near term.
TMH: For company shareholders and potential investors, what kind of future development and progress can we expect at your Springpole Gold Project?
FIRST MINING: I think the feasibility study is just going to reflect kind of the game plan we put forward in the environmental assessment. So a lot of the trade offs between our prefeasibility study and where we are today we did a lot of trade off work, particularly around the water balance and the tailing strategy for the project and ended up with I think a much better, technically robust and quite sound development plan and that’s reflected in the environmental assessment. We just don’t have an economic study that reflects that game plan because the PFS had a different tailing strategy. So we need to update that as it goes forward, but no the real rate limiting step for us is going to be getting feedback from all of our communities and the regulators and then incorporating that into a final environmental assessment document that we aim to submit middle of next year and then that finally trigger really the one year timeframe for review and approval but the nice thing is everyone will have seen the document already once. So it tends to go through with fewer surprises.
TMH: What separates First Mining Gold Corp. from the competition and makes your business model unique?
FIRST MINING: I think it’s really emphasized by this acquisition that we announced this week. This is not just a single asset developer. This is not living and dying by one project. We have now a couple of real pillars of projects and, and three projects that we are going to be moving forward ourselves but what really differentiates it is sort of the nature of those projects. So we closed the Duparquet acquisition. We’re going to have two, 5 million ounce gold development projects in advanced stages, one in Ontario, one in Quebec and two of the best jurisdictions to operate in the world. I think when you look at that the quality of the assets and the fact that we have these assets of really globally significant scale with a team and a demonstrated track record of permitting and actually leading these projects through feasibility and the overall size of it.
We’re sitting close to Duparquet significant measure and indicated it and inferred resources. I think the size at scale of that, 10 million plus ounces gives our investors real leverage to an improving gold market and later stage development projects that I think are less risky than a lot of exploration but have a really defined path to surface value and on top of that, we’ve got about a hundred million of other strategic investments and cash on the balance sheet and so that’s something else that that I think helps differentiate us as well.
TMH: What’s the long-term strategy for the company moving forward and what should retail and institutional investors be looking out for?
FIRST MINING: Well, first and foremost you know, we’re going to close this this acquisition of Beattie and the associated companies to consolidate the Duparquet project and from there, we should have a resource update out on Duparquet reasonably quickly thereafter and then moving into the environmental baseline and scoping work but I think we’ll give more detail and timelines on that work program as it comes together over the course of the next 60 days. On Springpole, lots of continued work where we will update our investors on the feasibility process and some of the trade off work that’s happened, where we’ve had some interesting results coming that way that we think are going to contribute to a more robust economic project aiming to get out, to do some exploration at Springpole. We’ve done a lot of kind of low impact field work so far but a big geophysical program going on in the fall and hoping to get drilling on two or three exploration targets that we have in the land package around Springpole, which is 70,000 hectares, real district scale exploration opportunity. So yeah, lots to look forward to over the course of the next six months.
Thanks again for joining us at The Market Herald today, Mr. Wilton. We look forward to chatting with you again…
We’ve been speaking with Dan Wilton, CEO of First Mining Gold Corp. I’d like once again to thank Mr. Wilton for joining us and sharing this insightful information about his company with our Market Herald video podcast audience and investors.
First Mining Gold Corp. trades on the TSX under the symbol FF.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by The Market Herald.