Allegiant Gold (TSX-V: AUAU) Chairman Robert Giustra on Assembling Nevada’s Most Successful Team to Explore a Prospective Gold Exploration Portfolio, Including the District-Scale Eastside Project
Sign up for the free RSD newsletter to get the latest
news and interviews delivered to your inbox.
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the Chairman of Allegiant (TSX-V: AUAU), Mr. Robert Giustra. Robert, how are you today?
Robert Giustra: Very well. Very well. Yourself?
Gerardo Del Real: I am doing excellent. I want to thank you for taking the time. It's Friday right now, and it's right after market. I'm very appreciative of the time today.
Robert Giustra: Anytime.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Listen, Allegiant, just a bit of background here. Allegiant was spun out from Columbus Gold. You happen to be the Chairman of Allegiant and Chairman and CEO of Columbus Gold. You've been actively engaged in funding and managing mining companies for over two decades, coming up on three decades now. Allegiant has a top-notch team. This business is really all about relationships and the people behind them. Before we get to the many, many projects in the exciting 2018, I'd love for you to touch on your background a bit, and if we could also talk about the team that you've put together. It's an impressive group of people.
Robert Giustra: Happy to do that. My background is banking. I've been in this business for 25 years. I started out as a retail broker, then an institutional broker, which included elements of banking, specifically in the resource sector. I'm really a mining guy, but the key guys to focus on on our team are our recent additions of Russell Ball, who is a former CFO of Goldcorp, and prior to that, the former CFO of Newmont, two of the three largest gold companies in the world, as you know. Norm Pitcher, who not too long ago was the President of Eldorado Gold, which has a $1 billion market cap.
For a small company, we have a pretty impressive team. But to round that off, Andy Wallace, our CEO, is recognized by the gold industry as having one of the best track records of gold discovery in the business. When I say discovery, I mean things that actually went into production, producing gold mines. He's personally credited with five gold mine discoveries in Nevada. His team, called Cordex, is credited with about nine, a pretty impressive track record.
Gerardo Del Real: That's incredible. Just to add some context there, most of those discoveries were multi-million ounce discoveries in Nevada. That's important, because Allegiant has 14 highly prospective drill ready projects, and 11 of those are in Nevada. You're in your back yard.
Robert Giustra: That's exactly right. That's where Andy and his team have focused for their entire careers. They have, I think it's safe to say, probably the best track record in the business, if you specifically look at Nevada. Nevada is probably the largest gold producer in the world on a per square mile basis. We're in the right state with the right people, there's no doubt.
Gerardo Del Real: It's a great jurisdiction. Obviously, that goes unsaid. I think that many of the long-term mining people would agree that the Cordex team is definitely one of the, if not the, most successful team out of Nevada when it comes to discoveries. You also happen to have a ticker symbol, which is one my favorite in the business. The ticker symbol on the venture exchange is AUAU, so great job there.
Robert Giustra: Yeah, thanks for that. That, with some luck, is going to be the ticker symbol in the US in about 7 to 10 days as well. We've applied for an OTCQX listing. We're already DTC eligible, which means we clear in the United States, but we've just applied for a new symbol to trade in the US. With some luck, our symbol will be AUAUF on the OTCQX in the coming weeks, Presently, because we were just listed in Canada, we're a new company. We receive a temporary symbol in the United States on the OTC markets. That's AZLLF.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you for that. Now I mentioned the 14 highly prospective drill ready gold projects. You had a news release out this week, just a day or two ago, that outlined the strategy here in the early part of 2018. The focus was twofold. On the one hand, you have one of the most aggressive exploration plans in the business. You're planning on hopefully doubling the in-pit ounces at the flagship, which is the Eastside project, but you're also testing nine other projects. Can we start by talking about the flagship? Then I'd love to pivot and talk about some of the other projects that you're looking to test out.
Robert Giustra: Eastside is located just outside of Tonopah. If you stand at Eastside on a clear day, you can see the Round Mountain Gold Mine, which is just down the way. It's one of the largest heap leach gold operations in the world. I think it might be the largest.
Eastside is very similar in terms of geology and in terms of grade. It is a typical Nevada style deposit. It's large, based on the drilling we've completed to date. It's open in several directions, and it looks like it's going to get much bigger. It's really impressive. We keep drilling, and we keep stepping out, and we keep intersecting gold. We're presently carrying out a program and hope to have some results out on our first phase of drilling this year. We're looking out probably about two weeks from now, but it is impressive to be there and look at it. It checks a lot of boxes.
The infrastructure's amazing. The power line runs right through the property. The highway between Reno and Vegas runs right through the property. It is our flagship, because it is the most advanced. It currently has 720,000 ounces of gold located in the pit, another half million ounces just outside the pit. Those ounces we believe will be in the pit on the next resource, in addition to any ounces we add from this current phase of drilling. We feel strongly that our next resource estimate is going to be quite a large increase in overall resources.
Gerardo Del Real: That's important because the property, if I'm not mistaken, is a district scale property, right? I believe it's nearly 70 square kilometers. Is that right, Robert?
Robert Giustra: It is, yeah. We're focused on one area of what is essentially a very large project. We use the word district scale, because that is the case. It's not easy to find a district scale property or opportunity in Nevada. The project from north to south is about 10 kilometers, and several kilometers wide. We're focused on what we call the Original Zone, which hosts the resource that I just described. There's an historical resource at the very south end of the property. In between, there's about a dozen undrilled targets. When you add all those things up, it really is a district scale opportunity.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Now I mentioned that there's nine other high priority gold projects that you announced you were planning on drilling, and these projects will see different meters being drilled, and each has a different approach. Can you walk me through that process, because obviously, discovery drilling is what your team is known for.
Robert Giustra: Right. In the last 10 years, it's well known that it hasn't been an ideal market for gold exploration. That's changed. I think for the first time in 10 years, there's actually an appetite in early stage gold exploration. What have we been doing for the last 10 years while we were working at Eastside, mainly in the last four, and looking at some other projects. But our focus really has been target delineation and prospecting.
We've been prospecting pretty heavily during the last decade, identifying opportunities, and delineating targets based on actual gold at surface, usually in outcrop, on different projects, whittling our way through different opportunities that we uncovered, and narrowing down those prospecting discoveries to what we felt had the best opportunity to be mines, or mine discoveries, with some drilling.
We're nowhere near having actual mines on those properties, but what we do have is well-defined targets from geochem sampling. That implies gold at surface, usually in outcrop, and in some cases, some additional geophysical information that defines a drill target. When we say discovery opportunity, we're talking about discovery from drilling. We have gold at surface on these other nine projects, and we need to drill them. That's what's going to happen. We're aiming to drill nine projects in addition to Eastside over the coming months.
Gerardo Del Real: Perfect, and drills are turning now. Is that correct, Robert?
Robert Giustra: Drills are turning at Eastside. The next one we're going to drill is called Monitor Hills. I'm expecting that to start in either March or April.
Gerardo Del Real: Perfect. Perfect. Now we talked about the team, obviously, an incredible track record. We talked about the projects. Can you go over the share structure with me. What does that look like?
Robert Giustra: Share structure is pretty good. There's about 50 million shares outstanding, 7 million warrants, exercisable at a dollar, and about 4 million options, so fully diluted, about 60 million shares outstanding. But about half our share structure's held by institutions. Retail holders hold about 40%. We have about 6,000 shareholders. For a company that's only been trading two weeks, we have a pretty widely distributed shareholder base. About 4,000 of those are in the United States.
Gerardo Del Real: Wow, and Columbus Gold owns approximately 17%. Is that correct?
Robert Giustra: Columbus Gold, because this is a spin-out from Columbus Gold, owns presently 17% of Allegiant.
Gerardo Del Rea Fantastic. What does the cash position look like? You just started trading on the 30th of January, if I'm not mistaken.
Robert Giustra: Right. We started out with $4.2 million. As you said, we've only been trading a few weeks, so most of that is still in our treasury.
Gerardo Del Real: Perfect. Perfect. It sounds like an exciting 2018, Robert. I hope that you come back on and update us as you start receiving some of those assays. There's nothing for me in this market like adding value with the drill. But it's, for me, the most exciting way to add value. I'm looking forward to you starting to receive some of those assays and see what this incredible team is able to dig up, because they certainly have a track record of doing amazing work in Nevada.
Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Robert Giustra: I think I can summarize by saying we have the most prospective gold exploration portfolio in Nevada. Nevada is without a doubt the premier gold mining jurisdiction in the United States and probably the world. We have excellent infrastructure. We're in Nevada with Nevada's most successful team. We have a hell of a board of directors and quite a tight share structure. It's a new opportunity, but it's an opportunity that checks all the boxes. It really does. It checks all the boxes for a gold play. There's a pretty exciting year ahead with the high level of drilling activity, so there should be constant news flow.
Gerardo Del Real: In a business that's high risk and high reward, you certainly have checked a lot of boxes to mitigate risk. As far as the team, of course, the jurisdiction, the track record, and the fact that you're set up right as far as share structure goes. I think everybody should go to the Allegiant Gold website and get a bit more familiar if you already aren't. That website, of course, is allegiantgold.com.
Robert, thank you so much. Again, I hope to have you back as soon as you start getting some assays.
Robert Giustra: I look forward to that. Thanks for your time. Much appreciated.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you.
Subscribe to the RSD email list and get the latest resource stock activity directly to your inbox, for free.
Subscribe to the RSD email list and get the latest resource stock activity directly to your inbox, for free.
Part of the Stock Digest family of websites