"I believe there are five key elements to developing a successful exploration program: ground, funding, methodology, people, and leadership."
Talisker Resources (TSX:TSK, OTCQX:TSKFF) recently received a 14.9% strategic investment from New Gold. That’s Big News. What does this partnership mean for Talisker and your Flagship Bralorne project?
In a single word: Validation. New Gold’s CEO Renaud is an experienced narrow vein miner and their international technical team is very strong. As one of Canada’s top gold producers they are the largest regional player in south-central British Columbia, so Talisker forms a logical partner in their growth strategy. As all of our projects, including Bralorne, have excellent road access, we provide numerous potential project synergies for New Gold going forward.
Talisker acquired its flagship Bralorne project in December, 2019. What makes this project more attractive today than it was one year ago?
The confirmation of close to surface bulk-tonnage mineralisation at the Charlotte Zone has been a real game changer for us. Our initial exploration strategy was based on confirming well-constrained high-grade potential at depth, defined by historic drift assays and level plans. Now, with the discovery and drill confirmation of broad areas of mineralisation surrounding the high-grade veins, we have to essentially re-imagine Bralorne’s potential as we work to define large areas of bulk tonnage mineralisation and build these to resource, all in addition to the high-grade veins at depth.
What kind of results is Talisker seeing at its other exploration programs at Spences Bridge and Golden Hornet?
Talisker currently has multiple projects that are moving into permitting phase. Golden Hornet is the most advanced of those. It is an intrusion-hosted sheeted vein gold system with up to 27 g/t at surface. We also see broad areas of disseminated mineralisation and stockworks surround the veins potentially providing bulk-tonnage targets in addition to the veins. We are at drill stage there and we expect to have the permit for Golden Hornet by late April 2021 and to start drilling in May with a 6,700 m program.
Some of Talisker’s most exciting work is on two new discoveries called Cyclone and Nova that we found following up our stream sediment work from 2019. What makes these assets so enticing is that they are classical epithermal vein systems, with through going veins like we see in other mature epithermal gold belts around the world. Prior to their discovery, most of what we have seen in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt has been related to felsic volcanics expressed as breccias and stockworks. What we are seeing here is really well-developed vein arrays. At Nova, we can track these along strike for about 400 meters and the vein sets are about 300 meters wide. It is a similar style at Cyclone. These two deposits are about five kilometers apart, but they strike towards one another. Our work plan 2021 is to see if they join up across this five kilometers, then Talisker has great potential to define the footprint for a world-class vein system.
What is your philosophy on what it takes to develop a successful exploration program?
I believe there are five key elements to developing a successful exploration program: ground, funding, methodology, people, and leadership. It’s of fundamental importance to have the right ground and enough of it. You need to be able to generate targets and then stake or acquire property that is in a prospective area and ensure you have enough ground to cover the entire deposit footprint.
Access to capital allows the explorers to execute their plan in a suitable timeframe and is generally facilitated by capital markets, strategic investment, joint ventures with major companies, or some combination of these. Without money we can’t do anything.
The implementation of a scientific exploration methodology tailored for the deposit type we are looking for is the next element. Being able to understand the broad range of tools available, be it geochemistry, geophysics, structural geology, or mapping and apply them correctly. If your geological crew does not understand the methodology or it is not well defined or well implemented, then it will be very difficult to have a successful discovery. Having clear decision points in your methodology is also critical, knowing when to walk away and acknowledge that you have done your exploration systematically and that the project isn’t going to make it.
People are often the most undervalued component of a successful exploration program. Good geology and exploration require a large amount of abstraction and tacit knowledge, skills that take a long time to develop. As an industry, we often turn over our young geologists rapidly and throw them into mapping or logging before they have the skills developed to excel. At Talisker we work very hard to retain, mentor and develop our geological team and incentivize them to become the discoverers of the future.
Finally, we get to corporate leadership, the element that holds all the others together. Strong leadership provides a clear vision for the team to focus on and directs the pathway to achieve the vision. A good exploration leader is persistent, resilient and dynamic. At Talisker we believe we have all of these elements and that they will lead us to being Canada’s next tier one explorer.