New York spot gold jumped $20.20 to $1,419.20 on Monday. The TSX Venture Exchange fell 3.45 points to 589.12 while the TSX Gold Index added 6.62 points to 224.63. Most Canadian gold miners moved higher again today, with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM) adding $2.22 to $68.93 on 2.64 million shares.
The gradual changing of the guard at Detour Gold Corp. (DGC) continues. Detour, up 49 cents to $15.89 on 1.81 million shares, says that Frazer Bourchier, its chief operating officer, and Laurie Gaborit, vice-president of investor relations, are resigning effective the end of the month. They will be leaving with about $4.5-million in combined termination payments, significantly more than their original contracts had called for, it appears. (For instance, Mr. Bourchier was entitled to receive just under $1.9-million following a change of control.) Detour renegotiated its arrangement with Mr. Bourchier and Ms. Gaborit in April, effectively buying a few extra months of their time at an enticing premium, but as it turned out, that premium was too good to pass up.
The change of control began a year ago, when Paulson and Co. mounted a bid to depose Detour’s board of directors and its management, then led by interim chief executive officer, Michael Kenyon. Paulson’s bid largely succeeded, and Mr. Kenyon took his leave at the start of 2019. Apparently, his resignation was sufficiently “voluntary” that change-of-control provisions did not kick in. Mr. Kenyon was doing quite well nevertheless, as his salary was a hefty $1.5-million. The new man in charge, 48-year-old Michael McMullen, receives just $800,000 per year in base salary, but he is also entitled that much again as an annual cash bonus.
Ari Sussman’s Continental Gold Inc. (CNL), up 40 cents to $3.68 on 1.69 million shares, has received assays of up to 44.9 grams of gold and 59.4 grams of silver per tonne over 1.2 metres from four underground holes drilled into the northeastern portion of the Yaragua vein system, targeting the Centena vein. A second hole yielded 35.54 grams of gold and 47.9 grams of silver per tonne over 2.1 metres and a third managed 582 grams of gold and 159 grams of silver per tonne over 0.5 metre. The drilling is designed to convert inferred resources to indicated and to add additional ounces through stepouts to the northwest.
Mr. Sussman, CEO, says that his company’s strategy of drilling targets with potential for being mined within the first three years at Buritica “has yielded excellent results” this year. He points to the new assays from the Centena vein that have yielded “greater than a 500-per-cent higher grade of gold” than the company’s mineral resource block model shows in corresponding locations. Therefore, he says, he and his crew — and presumably Continental’s shareholders — have “plenty to look forward to in the coming months.”
One of the pleasing events in the offing will be the first gold pour at Buritica, expected within a year. The mine, a 2,100-tonne-per-day operation now expected to cost well over $500-million to complete, is based on a current reserve of 13.72 million tonnes averaging 8.4 grams of gold and 24.3 grams of silver per tonne, or about 3.7 million ounces of gold and 10.7 million ounces of silver. There is plenty more available, as the project holds a total resource of 11.3 million ounces of gold and 47 million ounces of silver, although over half of the ounces are still inferred.
The Toronto-based Mr. Sussman is already reaping the benefits of Buritica. He has been drawing $500,000 in base salary for the past two years, a stipend topped up by cash bonuses that have averaged $350,000 over the same period. His backers are unlikely to object much, at least those who paid just $1.28 for a share in late 2015 and early 2016. (Those who dallied and paid $5.75 for a share a year later may have a different opinion.)
Marz Kord’s Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd. (WM) unchanged at 33.5 cents on 3.55 million shares after it let loose a flurry of new assays today from its Fenelon project in Quebec. Mr. Kord, president and CEO, whetted the market’s appetite with a lengthy summary early this morning, promising new assays “later today.” Later proved to be minutes, not hours, later, as Wallbridge dashed out not one, but two, releases carrying the news.
First, Mr. Kord said that Wallbridge had received assays of up to 16.66 grams of gold per tonne over 2.33 metres from the Naga Viper zone and 14.67 grams per tonne over one metre from the Habanero zone. These extensions of high-grade shoots in the Naga Viper zone “have good potential for adding resources,” cheered Attila Pentek, vice-president of exploration. Six minutes later, Mr. Kord said that Wallbridge had hit 3.93 grams of gold per tonne over 20.72 metres, including a 1.24-metre interval that averaged 55.95 grams per tonne from drilling in the Tabasco corridor. Mr. Pentek mustered more enthusiasm for this second salvo of assays. He deemed a 19-metre hit averaging 3.61 grams of gold per tonne within a mineralized shear zone cutting through sediments to be “an unexpected surprise.” (The market’s ho-hum reaction was perhaps another surprise – just not as pleasing.)