"There is a lot of talent here, people are proud miners, mining is perceived well, and people understand the wealth it generates."
What is your vision as the new CEO of Abcourt Mines?
Abcourt is a gold development company. We own the Sleeping Giant mine and mill located north of the 49th parallel near Matagami. Abcourt has been listed on the TSX under ABI for decades, it was a small producer for a long time. The board approached me in the winter of 2022 to turn the company around: we needed to unleash the value of the Sleeping Giant mine. It is a high-grade deposit that historically produced over a million oz at 10.3 g/t, with a recovery of over 96%. The geologists that were there in the early 2000s told me that the full potential has not been discovered yet, and they just scratched the surface. As of last year, the mine did not even have a 3D model! So, we started there using modern techniques and just released a resource estimate in December 2022 where we more than doubled the resource.
What are some of the main highlights of the PEA?
The PEA we released in June shows lots of upside potential. The NPV of the project, as it stands, is over C$55 million dollars after tax, and the IR is over 33%. After the PEA, we announced we will tackle the next phase, which is drilling to convert inferred resources into indicated. We can grow this resource to over a million ounces in short order. We will tackle the underground drill program in Q3 2023, which will lead to a PFS. The mine is fully permitted.
How do you allocate capital and manage the transition from developer to producer?
Most of the capital will continue to be spent on Sleeping Giant. We are going to invest some funds into satellite deposits next to the mill, like Discovery, Flordin, and Pershing-Manitou. Those three deposits are trucking distance from the mill. We will look at assets around our mill down the line, as our goal is to be a producer, increase the number of ounces, and grow organically that way.
Do you think we will see more consolidation among gold players in Québec?
Consolidation must happen. I believe that the growth of the province is through exploration, JVs, and partnerships. Majors have assets, but they are mining them, they are doing some exploration. Eventually, these will phase out, so more exploration is needed, and growing for producers means talking to developers and juniors with assets close to their mills. We have properties near the Cadillac fault, and other explorers near the Sleeping Giant mill will have to go through permitting, build a mill…or choose our mill. There will be consolidation, it is just a matter of time with how the capital markets are right now. The more aggressive mid-tier producer will win. The market wants consolidation. Investors do not want to pay G&A for 50 different juniors, they want the money to be in the drill bit. They are sending clear signals to explorers, you are going to merge or vanish.
Is there still potential for big gold discoveries in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt?
We have only just scratched the surface of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. The geologists have only been focusing on the Cadillac fault, and eight years ago, no one knew about the Windfall deposit. Canadian Malartic is an open pit on top of an old underground mine, everyone thought the mine was done. These are just recent examples of successes. Québec will be there for more decades at least, and that is just near Val d’Or. If you keep going north near the Sleeping Giant mill, there will be more big deposit discoveries. The talent around the camp is what makes Québec special. Agnico, Teck, Barrick…they began in the Abitibi decades ago. There is a lot of talent here, people are proud miners, mining is perceived well, and people understand the wealth it generates.
Why will Abcourt be a great story for investors?
Managers and directors own over 35% of the company and are participating in almost every placement. Being in production a year from now, it is a no-brainer for any investor who would want to jump in. The company went from totally unknown to putting its name out there, and once people realize Abcourt’s potential, we will not be at a C$26 million market cap for long.