Vanstar Mining Resources (TSXV:VSR) is a gold exploration company with properties in Northern Québec at different stages of development. Projects include Nelligan, Bousquet-Odyno and the Amanda Project.
Here to update us on Vanstar’s recent business moves, exploration updates and a look at next steps is JC St-Amour, president and CEO of Vanstar.
The Market Herald: Let’s start with the Nelligan project receiving the 2019 Discovery of the Year from the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association. Talk about its location and infrastructure and what you are planning to accomplish.
St-Amour: The Nelligan Project is by far our largest project. It’s our flagship. It is a joint venture with IAMGOLD, of which we have 25% of the project, IAMGOLD being the operator. The project is located just south of the town of Chibougamau in Quebec, and near the town of Chapais just 40 kilometres south of that. It is close to infrastructure. Both towns have highways leading up to them; they also have workforces.
Chibougamau is a mining town historically, and the mining culture is precedent in this area. There are power lines, including a power line that runs right through our project, and there’s a number of them coming from the James Bay Power Project that feeds power into Southern Quebec and into the U.S.
There is an airport; there are roads that lead right into the Nelligan project. We can drive right up to it and so access is very good. From the perspective of building a project there, everything you need is there to build a mine.
TMH: How are your results from the eastern extension in July informing your next steps?
St-Amour: This year, IAMGOLD is performing a 10,000-metre drill program on the project. It started in the spring with the eastern extension, and we have some good results there. The deposit is clearly continuing in that direction, and so more drilling will be required there to see how much more it can add. Also, the drilling program will test the western extension, which I believe is where they’re drilling right now and then also the depth of the deposit as well. This project has 5.6 million ounces on it already and is a project that is also growing. We haven’t found the limits of it. It is open in the east and west and down dip and the 10,000-metre program this year is designed to test those limits, to see how big this project can be and designed to actually expand the resources that are there currently. I think between this program and maybe one next year, we should see significant resource additions in the next say 12 to 24 months. I think there’s a lot to look forward to on this project.
TMH: How has the forest fire situation affected your progress?
St-Amour: The forest fires actually did cause a pause in the program. The drillers had to stop for about a month or so, just given the number of forest fires that were burning. At one point, Chibougamau had five or six forest fires burning all around it, including some that were close to the Nelligan project. The project stopped just to make sure everyone was safe and not caught up in the middle of it but otherwise, our project was untouched, and the drillers are back on site now with two drills turning right now. Like I said, the Nelligan project is being drilled by these two drills to test the expansion potential. That should go into October with results later in the fall. Then there’s also some exploration drilling plans for the property in the south of the project with the hopes of finding another deposit on the property. There is potential here to grow this in more than one way.
TMH: Over to the Bousquet-Odyno project. Vanstar can earn a 75 percent interest by spending $4 million over four years. What are your plans with this project?
St-Amour: We spent a million and a half (dolllars) already on that project in the first year that we had it. We have 2 and a half million (dollars) left to spend. Once we spend, say another half a million dollars, we’ll earn in the first 25% and then the next $2 million will give us 75% of that project. It is a project that has a lot of gold in it. Every drill hole has gold intercepts. There is quite a bit of potential to grow and find something that’s fairly large. At surface there are indications that there’s potentially areas that might have a starter pit kind of situation, which would be ideal given that we’re very close to the Westwood Mill that IAMGOLD has. And part of our agreement with them is that we would process any ore at their Westwood Mill located only six kilometres away.
I think the grander potential is at depth, where you could find a monster deposit along the Cadillac Creek where we are. A lot of projects have started out as underground mines with the guts of the deposit starting at 500 metres or more in depth and so we believe the same thing could be happening in our situation. We’re taking a two-pronged approach to it, looking at near surface potential for maybe a quick “open pit-able” operation that can also help finance a deeper operation, which is obviously more expensive and a little more risky but we can do both. We want to do this in a fiscally responsible way. Nelligan is by far the largest asset, as I mentioned, which is by far the largest value in the company. We want to make sure that as we spend money on other projects; we don’t overspend so that we don’t dilute our interest in other projects. We’ll do it in a way that works for everyone and so I think in the next few months I’m hoping to be able to announce some moves on that front.
TMH: Finally, let’s move to the Amanda Project located 65 kilometres northeast of the town of Namaska in Quebec. You have optioned the project to Mosaic Minerals for gold and lithium exploration, tell us about this agreement and upside for Vanstar.
St-Amour: Amanda is a project that was explored historically for gold and there are quite a number of significant gold showings on the property that deserve some further exploration. On top of that, there’s a number of pegmatites on the project and a lot of lithium companies have staked, all around the project, looking for lithium in the area. That is also a commodity that’s worth looking into on the project and in the same vein that I mentioned with Bousquet, with us being fiscally careful, we decided to allow Mosaic to spend the money on the project to earn in and actually do the exploration on there. For us it costs nothing. They get to have a look and we would benefit from any discoveries that they would make. They’re also ready to do the work, so in the coming months here I think the beginning of the exploration program will start in probably September, October. I would look out for news on that front as well.
TMH: What are your next steps and what would you like investors to know about Vanstar?
St-Amour: I think Vanstar is a great story. Like I said, we have a jewel of an asset with our interest in the Nelligan Project. What’s important, which I didn’t mention earlier, is that it’s also a free carried interest, which means it costs us nothing to advance that project. It’s IAMGOLD spending all the money and we retain our interest no matter what. From that perspective, this is a valuable piece of property, and I think it can be valuable to other companies as well. Not only can we create value for our shareholders through exploration, through other people spending money on our projects but also by potentially being a target for other companies as well. That’s something that is feasible in the coming months or year or whenever, look out for some movement on that side as well, I believe.
For more information on Vanstar Mining Resources visit vanstarmining.com.
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