By: Cherie Leeden – President and CEO, Gold Bull Resources Corp.
The holiday season is a special time of year. At Gold Bull Resources Corp., we use this time as an opportunity to reflect on the year that was and to design a road map aimed at achieving our goals the following year.
2022 has been a difficult year in the precious metals markets, particularly in the junior gold exploration sector. Post-COVID, the price of gold has not behaved as well as most economists expected it to, and as a result, gold has been outshone by its battery mineral cousins. Given the difficult market conditions during the year, the Company made the difficult decision to reduce its team to reduce our overheads while continuing to advance our core asset, the Sandman Project, located in Nevada, USA.
During the year, Gold Bull drilled 24 holes at Sandman for a total of 4954 meters. These drill results included results such as 83.8m at 1.5 g/t Au from the surface at Silica Ridge and included the successful intersection of a high-grade feeder in that same hole 3m at 14.67 g/t Au from only 1.5m below the surface. In a nearby hole, we hit 47.2m at 1.54g/t Au from 1.5m, which included a wide high-grade zone of 6.1m at 8.01 g/t Au from 3m. These extraordinary drill results largely were ignored in that with each positive drilling update announcement came downward pressure on our share price. Given the market’s negative reaction to our 2022 exploration drill program, the Company decided to commission a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA” or “Scoping Study”) to investigate the viability of a small-scale startup operation (proposed mine) at Sandman, focusing on the existing gold resources above the water table.
Sandman boasts a gold resource of circa 500,000 ounces, of which about half is located above the groundwater table. We chose to focus our PEA on a small-scale operation targeting extracting the gold only above the water table (about 250,000 ounces) because that typically equates to faster and simpler mine permitting, i.e., capable of generating cashflow as soon as possible. The PEA considered a conventional heap leach mining operation targeting 35,000 ounces of gold produced per annum over an initial 5-year operation. Given the nature of the Sandman deposits (outcropping), a 2.1 Mtpa production rate and very low strip ratio of 1.6:1 extracts an average gold grade of 0.74 g/t Au (all oxide). The economics for this scenario is robust, with a 99% IRR (pre-tax) and NPV of US$77.2M, with only a 1.1-year payback period (pre-tax). The PEA illustrates a USD$77M NPV on only half of our existing gold resource (which remains open in numerous directions). In my biased opinion, when the Sandman NPV is compared with our current market cap of around USD$4mil, this represents an investment opportunity that is backed up not only by our existing gold resource but also by our $30 million worth of data package, including our comprehensive Plan of Operation permit.
The capital required to build the above mine is modest at $28.8 M, for an all-in-sustaining cost of US$1,173 per ounce of gold.
From our Board’s perspective, a 35,000-ounce per annum operation is not our end-game goal. However, the PEA indicates that a small-scale operation at Sandman could become a ‘cash cow’ capable of self-funding further exploration to grow the known gold resources and co-fund M&A activity. In the current market, cash is King. Many of the world’s biggest and most successful gold mining companies started off small, such as with an operation at a scale similar to our proposed Sandman PEA. Very few exploration companies have an opportunity to investigate a near-term production scenario such as Sandman, especially in mining-friendly Nevada.
It should not be forgotten that immense exploration potential exists at Sandman and in the surrounding region. The Gold Bull team believes there is significant ounce potential in the Sandman region, targeting ‘Sleeper’ style discoveries. Our independent epithermal advisors have reiterated that belief. The Sandman region boasts plentiful world-class targets, many of which have never been drilled. Additional exploration is warranted at Sandman and in the surrounding region.
Sandman represents two opportunities in one, exploration upside and a near-term development scenario. For the latter, the next step at Sandman is to commence a feasibility study. Our team is already working on long lead items and components of the feasibility study and permitting, such as environmental monitoring and additional metallurgical test work.
Gold Bull’s 100% owned Big Balds Project, also located in Nevada, is fully permitted and ‘drill ready’. The Company made the decision not to drill its maiden program at Big Balds within 2022 in order to preserve cash reserves during a market that is not rewarding exploration success. Big Balds is targeting an undercover geophysical anomaly along strike of the Bald Mountain mine. A maiden drill program will cost approximately US$500,000 and that drill program will either deliver a positive (new discovery indicators) or a negative (barren geophysical anomaly). Therefore, it is considered a high-risk/high-reward target.
In the current market, it is generally considered cheaper to acquire existing known gold resources than it is to drill and explore for additional ounces, which makes our M&A (merger and acquisition) discussions a vital part of our Company’s growth strategy. We have a short list of assets and companies we are advancing to the next level of due diligence in pursuing value-adding transaction(s). In short, if we can acquire existing ounces cheaper than we can explore for them – we believe that represents compelling value for our shareholders.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us this year: our communities and stakeholders, the Board of Directors, the accounts & admin team, advisors and consultants, and supportive stockbrokers and I would like to acknowledge the dedication of our Nevada based technical team, led by Regina Molloy.
Most of all, I thank you, our shareholders, for your continued support. On behalf of Gold Bull, we wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.
In December 2020, Gold Bull purchased the Sandman Project from Newmont. Gold mineralization was first discovered at Sandman in 1987 by Kennecott, and the project has been intermittently explored since then. There are four known pit-constrained gold resources located within the Sandman Project, consisting of 21.8Mt @ 0.7g/t gold for 494,000 ounces of gold, comprising of an Indicated Resource of 18,550kt @ 0.73g/t gold for 433kozs of gold plus an Inferred Resource of 3,246kt @ 0.58g/t gold for 61kozs of gold. Several of the resources remain open in multiple directions, and the bulk of the historical drilling has been conducted to a depth of less than 100m. Sandman is conveniently located circa 30 km northwest of the mining town of Winnemucca, Nevada.
Cherie Leeden, B.Sc Applied Geology (Honours), MAIG, a “Qualified Person” as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has read and approved all technical and scientific information contained in this news release. Ms. Leeden is the Company’s, Chief Executive Officer. Cherie Leeden relied on resource information contained within the Technical Report on the Sandman Gold Project, filed on SEDAR on October 27, 2022, and prepared by Steven Olsen and Jerod Eastman, who are Qualified Persons as defined by the National Instrument NI 43-101. Each of Mr. Olsen and Mr. Eastman is an independent consultant and has no affiliations with Gold Bull except that of an independent consultant/client relationship.
About Gold Bull Resources Corp.
Gold Bull’s mission is to grow into a US-focused mid-tier gold development Company by rapidly discovering and acquiring additional ounces. The company’s exploration hub is based in Nevada, USA, a top-tier mineral district with significant historical production, existing mining infrastructure and established mining culture. A Board and Management team leads Gold Bull with a track record of exploration and acquisition success.
Gold Bull’s core asset is the Sandman Project, located in Nevada, which has a 494,000 oz gold resource per the 2021 43-101 Resource Estimate. Sandman is 23 km south of the Sleeper Mine and boasts excellent large-scale exploration potential. Drilling at Sandman is currently underway.
Gold Bull is driven by its core values and purpose, which include a commitment to safety, communication & transparency, environmental responsibility, community, and integrity.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This news release contains certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements” with respect to the Company within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “projects”, “potential”, “indicates”, “opportunity”, “possible” and similar expressions, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “could” or “should” occur. Although Gold Bull believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance, are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results or realities may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such material risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company’s ability to raise sufficient capital to fund its obligations under its property agreements going forward, to maintain its mineral tenures and concessions in good standing, to explore and develop its projects, to repay its debt and for general working capital purposes; changes in economic conditions or financial markets; the inherent hazards associates with mineral exploration and mining operations, future prices of gold and other metals, changes in general economic conditions, accuracy of mineral resource and reserve estimates, the potential for new discoveries, the ability of the Company to obtain the necessary permits and consents required to explore, drill and develop the projects and if obtained, to obtain such permits and consents in a timely fashion relative to the Company’s plans and business objectives for the projects; the general ability of the Company to monetize its mineral resources or conduct M&A transactions; and changes in environmental and other laws or regulations that could have an impact on the Company’s operations, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, dependence on key management personnel and general competition in the mining industry. Forward-looking statements are based on the reasonable beliefs, estimates and opinions of the Company’s management on the date the statements are made. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management’s beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change.