Six months after news of the COVID-19 virus first broke, financial markets around the world are finally starting to shake off the dust. And while a sense of normality may be starting to return, the blows it dealt will likely result in a few resilient bruises.
Like the overwhelming majority of industries, the precious metals sector was not one to escape without its share of a beating. While gold remained relatively bullish in its role as a well-established safe-haven for investors, reaching a seven-year high in early March, prices quickly fell as US funds with gold-based interests were forced to sell their holdings to meet margin calls and maintain their positions.
Meanwhile, silver dropped to its lowest point since April 2009, falling 29 per cent between March 12 and March 19.
But – as the saying goes – in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. One such opportunist is Canadian billionaire and notorious champion of precious metals, Eric Sprott, who over the last few weeks has launched an extensive campaign of investments in gold and silver companies, perhaps signalling a positive outlook for the sector in the not-too-distant future.
Included among these acquisitions is Scottie Resources, in which Sprott purchased a C$2 million stake back in mid-January.
With a primary interest in the prolific Golden Triangle region of British Columbia, Scottie Resources is a firm believer that the best place to look for gold is where it’s been found before. The company’s experienced management team also believes that many mineral properties in the region are currently under-valued, and that with modern exploration techniques, data interpretation and 3D modelling, they can be transformed into significant geological assets.
But how has Scottie Resources managed the COVID-19 crisis, and what does the future look like for gold and silver? We sat down with President and CEO, Bradley Rourke, to see what he had to say.
Bradley, thank you for taking the time today. Perhaps you can tell us a bit more, generally, about Scottie Resources and its focus?
Simply put, Scottie Resources is a 100% exploration company, focused on discovery of high-grade gold deposits in the Golden Triangle.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a widespread impact around the world, how has the company managed it?
We’ve always been a very lean company, outside of the exploration season we maintain a very low burn rate – we have no head office, it’s just a few of us working out of home offices. COVID-19 really allowed us to embrace the decentralized culture, having zoom and team meetings was a natural transition to us. Even with robust COVID-19 protocols, we are able to fully execute our planned field season with little additional cost and almost no loss in efficiency.
In mid-April, Scottie Resources announced that it had consolidated its holdings in the Golden Triangle region and amended several option agreements. Has this changed any operational priorities?
Understandably, the saving generated by amending the agreements frees up cash that can then be directly put into the ground instead of paying option holders. More importantly, the amended agreements allow us to shift our planned exploration expenditures to our highest priority targets, rather than having to use funds to maintain non-core claim packages.
Scottie Resources owns 100 per cent of the Scottie Gold Mine, which is a past producer. Is there any ongoing work at the property? Is the intention to bring it back to production?
The Scottie Gold Mine is the core of our mineral tenures – it has been a central feature that we have continually focused on. All the work that we have done so far indicates that the mine was not mined out, and that tremendous potential exists for brownfield exploration in and around the mine. In 2019 our step-out drilling on the Scottie Gold Mine clearly demonstrated the untested potential of the deposit.
We have no intention of bringing it back into production – our goal is to first show that Scottie has a clear pathway to a multi-million-ounce deposit, and we believe that the Scottie Gold Mine is the cornerstone.
Most recently, the company announced that it had mobilised field crews to the Cambria Project. Can you tell us more about the exploration program and what the long-term plan might be?
Our Cambria project constitutes a very large package of claims strategically situated south of Pretium, and between Ascot’s Red Mountain and Premier deposits. The area is exceptionally imbued with known mineral showings – with fantastic silver and base-metal values, and the area has lower average elevation than our Scottie Gold Project. Because of this, we are able to extend our core season by starting working on the Cambria project.
The company currently has an extensive land holding within the Golden Triangle area of British Columbia, totalling 24,589 hectares. What are the benefits of being entirely focused on a specific region?
While there are obvious downsides to working in the Golden Triangle, namely the short field season – there is a tremendous amount of upside by being entirely focused here. We’ve been able to assemble a team consists of geologists who are experts in the area, and who understand the fundamental controls on mineralization with respect to the rocks. This allows us to quickly assess, characterize, and prioritize targeting on our claims, as well as acquiring new ones. We have very strong ties to many of the players in the area, which greatly aids the logistics, as well as providing us with many opportunities not available to others.
As we’ve discussed, COVID-19 has had an extensive effect on a wide range of industries. Do you think it’s changed how investors view the precious metals sector?
Overall, I think that COVID-19 has been a generational disrupter, and for many it has invoked a sense of underlying uncertainty in the markets that wasn’t obvious before. Investors who really understand the degree of monetary stimulus that is being pumped into the system to prop up the markets recognize it as completely unsustainable. Those who consider that gold and/or silver will hold value in periods of economic turmoil, see that now is the time to invest.
In your position at the helm of the company, what’s your long-term vision for Scottie Resources?
I view Scottie Resources as having a singular focus – finding a viable high-grade gold deposit in the Golden Triangle, and with our upcoming drill program we are running full speed at that goal. We’ve got the right rocks and the right team, and as we continue to post exceptional results, I’m confident that people will recognize our value proposition. In the end, we will always just base our decisions on maximizing the benefit to our shareholders.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish?
Thanks for the opportunity! We’ve got a 5,000+ drill program starting the first week of July, and will be releasing results as soon as they come in. This summer and fall will be very exciting for us, and we hope that you follow our upcoming successes!
For more information on Scottie Resources (TSXV:SCOT) visit scottieresources.com.
Full disclosure: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.