Revival Gold (TSX-V: RVG) CEO Hugh Agro & Chairman Diane Garrett on Drill Plans for 2019 with an Eye Towards an Updated Resource and PEA in 2020
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Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today I actually have the pleasure of speaking not just to the CEO of Revival Gold (TSX-V: RVG)(OTC: RVLGF), Hugh Agro, but also the Non-Executive Chair, someone I'm really excited to speak with, Dianne Garrett.
Hugh, Dianne, how are the two of you?
Dianne Garrett: Wonderful, thank you. How are you today?
Gerardo Del Real: I am excellent. Dianne, you really need no introduction, but I'm going to go ahead and just cite one of the more recent successes that you helped lead. You helped lead the transaction, the sale of Romarco for over $550 million. That was back in 2015. I'm working off of memory here. Is that accurate?
Dianne Garrett: That's correct.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. You also happen to have a Ph.D. from where I'm located, the University of Texas, UT here in Austin. Anytime I talk to somebody that's friendly to Austin, it generally tends to be a good conversation, so thank you so much, the two of you, for taking the time.
Hugh Agro: You bet, Gerardo. We're really happy to have a chance to chat here.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, let me ask you, Dianne, and then I'm going to pivot to you, Hugh. You decided to come on as a Non-Executive Chair with Revival Gold. It's a company that has a market cap of, what is it at today, Hugh? You tell me.
Hugh Agro: $34 million.
Gerardo Del Real: $34 million. Obviously, that's a long way from the kind of success that Dianne has had in the past. But you are really, really good at building assets, building companies, making companies and monetizing them, Dianne. What attracted you to little Revival Gold?
Dianne Garrett: Well, Revival may be a small market cap company at $34 million, but keep in mind that that's even larger than where Romarco was when we started at $20 million, and that company was taken all the way to over $1 billion dollars and then ultimately acquired. One of the things that really attracted me to Revival is I go back to my days on the portfolio management side with US Global. The number one criteria I always had before investing was the people, because at this stage of the game that's really the only asset that you have. People will make the difference on how you approach a project, how you develop it, how you move it forward. Mining's a tough business and it can go awry very easily. So, knowing that you've got the right people in place is very critical. I knew Hugh from his days at Kinross, had a lot of respect for him. They have a really solid, phenomenal team within Revival. So that was number one for me.
If I start looking at their strategy of where they were going with the company and this asset, I became very fascinated because when Romarco acquired the Haile Mine from Kinross, Hugh and I knew each other during that transaction. He has taken an asset that has long been forgotten in the industry, that was a past producer, closed when gold prices fell below $300. It sort of got orphaned inside a larger company, and that's something that we see happen from time to time. He seized on a real opportunity to acquire this project, increase the land position, and take a new view of it. I think the very fact that in the first 18 months, there was a substantial resource of just shy of 2 million ounces on the property says that they obviously had a pretty good sense of how to go about the project and developing it and targeting it.
So, the asset itself still has a lot of potential from the days when Meridian operated it. Through Revival's work, they now have an even increased understanding of the geology. I think what we have here is something that not only obviously in a great jurisdiction like the US, but something that has the potential to be a multi-million ounce project that is a true opportunity for the shareholders of an asset that's not been looked at in an improved commodity price environment.
Gerardo Del Real: You know, Rick Rule has that line, you're either a contrarian or a victim. It's amazing to me how the truly successful people in this business are able to look at bear markets and assets that you mentioned at one point were orphaned, and really see, no pun intended, the diamond in the rough. I think it speaks to Hugh's ability and vision and, Dianne, to yours as well, coming onboard at such an early stage.
Hugh, the ball's in your court. I know you were excited because you and I talked when Dianne came on. Why were you as excited as you were? Why are you as excited as you are to have Dianne on board?
Hugh Agro: You've talked about Dianne's experience, but there are a lot of people that have good experience. I think what really excites us about Dianne's involvement in Revival Gold is the fact that she is somebody who's done it. She's taken a company very much like we are today and done with it what we envision to do. It's the same playbook that we intend to follow at Revival Gold. It's the playbook that Dianne wrote in the US in the Carolinas with Haile. She's somebody who acts as an owner. As an owner myself in the business, I value that. I think there's lots of people who can serve on boards for board fees, but what you really want is somebody who's done it before and somebody who acts like an owner and really has the shareholders' interests in mind.
Just on that count, one of the first things that Dianne did was meet with our team and spend time on the geology and the asset. Rolled her sleeves up, got involved, and the next thing she did was start buying stock in the market. This is the kind of director, the kind of Non-Executive Chairman that you really want in a new venture like Revival Gold. Somebody that we can grow with and somebody who's got our shareholder interests in mind along the way.
Gerardo Del Real: It's one of the best teams in this space. I can make a good argument in a better gold market that the team alone, if it was just a shell, would be worth ... the market cap should be a lot higher than it is today. With that being said, you have a heck of a head start with a couple of million ounces. You just had some drill results that speak well for growing that resource, not just at the past-producing Beartrack property but also at Arnett Creek. You had some near-surface oxidized gold that I think is going to be important.
Can we talk about the potential of Beartrack and Arnett? And let's talk about the latest results, which were solid. I'm going to highlight some numbers really quick. You cut 15.3 meters of 0.64 grams per tonne gold. More importantly, it was from 15 meters, so very near surface. You also cut 0.94 grams per tonne gold over 54.3 meters from 92 meters. Again, near-surface, good grades, oxidized gold.
Let's talk about Beartrack. Let's talk about Arnett. These were the final four holes of 2018. What can we expect in 2019?
Hugh Agro: Gerardo, you were quick to observe that one of the attractive aspects of Revival Gold and the Beartrack-Arnett project is this possibility of a restart of the leach operation. So, finding more leach material on the Beartrack-Arnett site sets us up really well to do that. The longer-term gain is a mill operation at Beartrack, and we'll continue to drill up millable material and build out that longer term gain. But in the nearer term, these results out of Arnett this year really set us up well for 2019's drill program and plans as we build out oxide material. We're really excited about these results. They're resonating in all the right quarters. It's a tough market, but Revival Gold's share price has performed well. And more important than that, because we're all long-term players here, is that we're building credibility around this story.
Systematically we've delivered what we've set out to deliver, and as I say, the message is really resonating in the right circles. We're getting lots of interest from institutions and from corporates. Their ears are starting to perk up on the possibilities of this land position with these results out of Arnett released yesterday.
Quickly, on Beartrack, we put out a couple holes from Beartrack yesterday as well. Here we've got some of the highest grades we've encountered at Beartrack with 20 grams over 2.1 meters at the Joss area, within 6.7 grams per tonne over 8 meters. So really, very excited about what we're finding at Joss. It's almost a kilometer of strike that we've added beyond the existing resource at Beartrack, and lots more to go there for 2019. So, really this is a great way to end the 2018 field results and it sets us up well for 2019.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Let's talk about what shareholders – and maybe people that are watching this story that like the team and think we're going to get a better gold market as I do – can we talk about what they can expect in 2019?
Hugh Agro: Our plans for 2019 are between 5,000 and 10,000 meters of drilling. That would be consistent with what we did last year. We've got three or four areas of interest. Our team is just digesting the results from 2018. We'll spend the next month and a half or so updating sections and geological plans and developing our drill targets. Then we'll come back to the market probably by the end of the first quarter with more detail around the drill program for 2019. But I expect it'll be somewhere in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 meters.
We will also do a second phase of metallurgical test work. By the end of the year, 2019, we want to have initiated an updated resource for the project. Plans are, if all's going well, by 2020 we want to be into a PEA. Of course, that will depend on the results of the updated resource, but our drilling in 2018 got us off to a great start.
As you know, we've expanded the prospects around the South Pit area at Beartrack. I mentioned earlier that we've added almost a kilometer of mineralized trend with the drilling out to Joss and south of Joss. So, that sets us up really well. 2019 we'll probably look to do some more drilling around those target areas. We'll be drilling across the Arnett project area, expanding on what we did at Haidee at the tail end of the 2018 season. We've got some target areas to the north on the Beartrack trend that we're looking at as well.
Again, over the next couple of months, it's digest the results from 2018, formalize our plans, and we'll come out to the market in March sometime with more detail around that. And then get into the drill season, updated resource initiated by the end of 2019.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Dianne, you've seen bear markets, you've seen bull markets. You've succeeded in both. What do you see for the gold market? Which direction do you think it's going here in 2019?
Dianne Garrett: Well, none of us have a crystal ball.
Gerardo Del Real: No, we don't.
Dianne Garrett: Or we do, but it's a little bit cloudy. I think the one thing that gold had proven to us is that it's incredibly unpredictable, more so than we've ever seen in the past. I've been through a lot of bear markets, probably three. This is probably one of the worst that I've seen. I think the bottoms are getting longer for the commodities. We can still all talk to what we know is true, which is the fundamentals are still very strong for gold. The reality is it is one of the five major currencies in the world. While you have other general commodities that are going to be dependent on the economy functioning and supply-demand fundamentals, gold can move next week, in the next couple of weeks, in the next month for a whole variety of reasons.
For me, with the uncertainty of the stock markets, we used to always say at US Global that investors should have at least 5% to 10% of their portfolio in gold. It's a hedge against the risk of the general markets going down. But when you look at that, it's very important because gold can move very quickly and you want to be positioned for it. We all know that we think about gold as being in jewelry, but you can't even have a smartphone without gold production. Bigger and newer discoveries are fewer and farther between. They're coming in very politically unstable and scary jurisdictions. So when you've got as asset in the US, I think it makes it even that much more attractive, and I think there's a premium that gets allocated to those types of assets in very good stable safe jurisdictions.
But as far as the gold price itself, I think none of us really know. Look, I would guess that we're going to see gold stay where it is at least for the first half of 2019 and probably well positioned for some type of a rebound as we get later in the year. But it's anybody's guess. As I said, we don't have a crystal ball.
I think the key thing is that when you're looking to secure an investment such as in Revival Gold, you look for a team that is fiscally responsible, prudent with their money. We've been one of the best performers in one of the worst markets last year. We continue to hold our own in terms of valuation. That is a very good indicator of where the smart money is going to well managed, well run assets by a strong management team, and an asset that's got really some good upside potential to grow in a bull market and navigate through the bear markets as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said. I don't think it's a coincidence that Revival shares outperformed every benchmark that I track. I think that speaks to the team and what you were able to do in 2018. Congrats on that front. I'm excited for 2019. I'm looking forward to drilling at both Beartrack and Arnett. I want to thank each of you for your time. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Hugh Agro: Just a thank you, Gerardo, for the ongoing interest. I think you're on to some very good things. Revival Gold is working hard for your subscribers and we look forward to keeping you posted on developments.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much. Hugh, Dianne, have a great morning and thanks again for your time. I really, really appreciate it.
Dianne Garrett: Thank you.
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