goldstandard

Gold Standard Ventures drill rig: “There’s gold in that there hill.”

RENO, Nevada — ​Mac Jackson is Gold Standard Venture’s exploration chief. Like the Nevada prospector’s CEO, he and his co-workers are youngish — late 30s, early 40s.

I imagine most of them were not born when the Carlin Trend “became” a gold trend in Nevada sometime in the 1960s.

Gold Standard Ventures’ ​latest reverse-circulation drill holes at its Dark Star target outside Elko, Nevada, point to easily mined oxidized gold — multiple swaths of it. (DS15-11 intersected multiple zones of oxide​-​gold​, including 21.3​ ​meters​ of 3.17 g Au/t.​)​

Just as importantly, these latest drill assays follow Dark Star drilling that has been taking place at least since July along a 6-kilometer stretch of (one hopes) stratiform gold. (The Canada company is using meters, not feet, in its reports.)

GSV shares ratcheted higher last week on a DS15-10 assay that showed what looked like robust gold intercepts. Tuesday, as in today, those same shares rose another 22 percent.

​The Canadian company, one of our original TCR featured prospects, explained more in a telephone conference call and webcast that happened as this was published.​

We can as shareholders look at what comes from the mouth of Mr. Jackson, reporting to CEO Jonathan Awde. I think Mac Jackson is raising the bar on what to expect from further Dark Star drilling.

Mac Jackson references what he says is “discovery of a new, blind oxide gold zone on the Carlin Trend.”

Speaking the language of geologists and potentially, larger acquiring gold companies, he points to “good continuity and significant volume within this gold zone.”

Some of it is shallow — within 60 meters of surface.

And of course, there is the “C” word, which many Nevada prospectors use in their references: “It looks like classic Carlin geometry, with stratiform gold in the footwall of a normal fault.”

Finally, Mac points to “very high exploration potential along the 6 km strike of the Dark Star Structural Corridor.” The fact he is saying this, and the board and Mr. Awde let him say it — about a Carlin Trend “possible” — is probably worth a read between the lines (or paragraphs, as it were).

This is in part because making such an exclamation about a Carlin Trend “possible” whets the corporate appetite for heap-leach, open-pit massive mining of easy, shallow gold up top and much richer gold (with silver) sulfides in the rock that is deep down there.

How is that for a TCR sentence?

Leave it said, Mr. Jackson and the execs who helped him craft his choice of words are raising the bar. Raising it among geologists, shareholders, and potential acquirers.

One of those is OceanaGold. Oceana is the most recent large equity placement buyer of Gold Standard Ventures. Some 15 percent of GSV’s equity in May 2015 for about $16 million CAD. Oceana’s stake in that placement is now “in the money,” as in, above the 65-cent CAD strike price it paid.

A twist: conditions that point to OceanaGold eventually owning Gold Standard Ventures. Mick Wilkes, CEO of OceanaGold, in that share purchase obtained the right to assist Mr. Jackson and team with technical matters regarding development of the project.

OceanaGold also received rights to refuse any outside offers for toll-mining of the property or debt financings for Gold Standard Ventures, among other matters.

Fidelity (FCMI), the Boston asset manager, owns a 14-odd-percent stake in GSV. American Century, another mutual fund company, owns 5 percent. GSV jas about $17 million of cash for future exploration.

I have been to the Railroad Project and base camp on Elko a few times. The HQ is right across the road from the main assay lab that does work for the umpteen exploration outfits in the region.

Everything the GSV team does is plotted in a way to be fulfilled — as in, assays this week confirm assays from last week, or month, or summer, and so on. Mr. Awde chooses his adverbs carefully — “rapidly,” for instance, when discussing speed of development of the Nevada tracts his company controls.

This Railroad-Pinon exploration has been going on at least five or six years. Before Mac Jackson, Steve Koehler and the geology team there, it was a senior citizen geologist and Nevada discovery pioneer in his own right, Dave Mathewson, calling the target shots, gravity readings and so on.

Gold Standard Ventures is in the heart of the USA prospecting tradition there in little old Elko, with its saloons and thick, ham-handed miners and contractors. Whenever I am in town, I meet someone who has been assembling land packages or digging for gold, or both, for most of the decades of their life. Carl Pescio, an Elko native, comes to mind.

Mr. Awde, the youngish CEO, has taken heat for repeated and relentless equity financings. These have given the share count a large number: 168 million outstanding on two exchanges: NYSE and Toronto. All in, the figure is probably 180 million shares. See the latest presentation.

I own a fair wad of shares at a far higher price. I’ll be adding, as they say in the biz, “on weakness.” And listening to the call.

— Thom Calandra​

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