General Precious Metals
Austin Gold Corp. (NYSE-American: AUST) Consulting Geologist Robert Hatch on Multiple High-Potential Gold Drilling Projects in Western U.S. in early-2023
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today from Austin Gold is first-time guest — Mr. Robert Hatch. Bob, you said you preferred Bob, so I'm going to call you Bob… how are you today, sir?
Robert Hatch: Doing great. Thanks for including us in your discussion here.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, I thought it was timely. When I look at companies and I look at gold — and I foresee a 2023 that's going to be a breakout year in gold — I expected that this year in the fourth quarter… and although gold hasn't broken out, it has done extremely well relative to the major indices as a wealth preserver. And I think that's a great setup for 2023.
So when I look around at gold companies, and I'm looking at share structures, and I'm looking at market caps — the one thing that's super clear to me is that companies that are cashed up with robust treasuries going into 2023 have a much better chance of making shareholders money.
When I looked at Austin Gold and I realized you have US$0.92 per share in cash and you're trading at US$0.78 — giving the company a market cap of just over US$10 million — that seemed like a pretty good time to reach out to one of y'all and have you on to talk about the projects. Because clearly, when you're trading at less than cash in the treasury, there may be an opportunity there, especially for those that believe gold is going higher. So with that being said, can you tell us a bit about your background, Bob?
Robert Hatch: Yeah, I've been in this business for 45 years, which is hard to believe, but I started with Homestake Mining as an exploration geologist in late '77. And I worked for Homestake for 12 years in Nevada, California, lots of western US states; Oregon, Idaho. I was part of the team that discovered the McLaughlin Mine, which was about a 2.5 million ounce high-grade open pit deposit in California.
I spent a year in Australia and New Zealand for Homestake. And then, since '88, I've been a consultant and I've been vice president of exploration for public companies, and I've got some of my own companies and projects that I manage. So I’ve been on all sides of the business, and very pleased to be involved with Dennis and Darcy Higgs and Joe Ovsenek and Ken McNaughton with Austin because it's a great team and a great company setup.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's get right into the company setup. The shares are listed, of course, on the NYSE under the symbol AUST. You have five projects that are located in the right address, right? North-central Nevada, one in central Nevada, and then you have one in southeast Oregon. And so I want to get into the merits of the projects and just kind of how you see the company advancing those in 2023.
Robert Hatch: Sure, it’s important to note, and this is highlighted on Austin's website, that this is a company that's made of serial company builders working with serial mine-finders. And the serial mine-finders are Perry Durning and Bud Hillemeyer, who were recipients in 2010 of the PDAC Thayer Lindsley Award. And three of the projects are due to their relationship with Austin. I'll just go through the projects.
Fourmile Basin is a project leased from Perry and Bud and actually also Bud's son, and it's located in a ligacine volcanic rock east of Tonopah in the same age setting that the Round Mountain deposit is. And of course, Round Mountain is Kinross’s huge gold-silver mine. I think it has produced something like 18 million ounces. But if you take the total contained ounces of the deposit, some of which will not be mined, it's greater than a 25 million ounce occurrence.
Gerardo Del Real: Wow!
Robert Hatch: This age of volcanic rocks can produce big deposits. The Fourmile Basin project, the target is the hypothesized buried source of gold and silver mineralized boulders that are found in a very large area in Fourmile Basin. And there's a concentration of them that's about 5.5 miles long, 8.9 kilometers, along the east side of the basin.
And Perry and Bud have hypothesized that there's a source for those immediately to the west of where all of these boulders lie. So that's the target. We’ve just started drilling out there, and we won't be finished until January. But we're just doing our first sort of initial probe holes to see the geology down in that basin.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, January comes quick! Obviously, everybody's excited for the assays in January. We know the business; it's high-risk, high-reward. Exploration is tough but the reward when you do hit that one discovery hole can be pretty substantial to the upside honorary rating, especially with an NYSE listing.
Clearly, that's the project that's getting the bulk of the attention right now. Can you briefly touch on a few of the other projects in the portfolio… the ones that you plan on hopefully advancing towards drilling in 2023?
Robert Hatch: Absolutely. And I bring up Fourmile Basin first only because it's on my list. But the others are equally prospective as well. I'll talk about Miller. The Miller Project is southwest of Elko, Nevada. It's a Perry Durning and Bud Hillemeyer recommended project that's leased from two guys, one of whom is a world-renowned expert in biogeochemical surveys. And that's why he and his partner acquired the property.
And biogeochem involves sampling sagebrush, and other brush, and assaying the brush and getting anomalies from that. So this project is located southeast of the Rain and Emigrant deposits that were mined by Newmont along what would be the southeast projection of the northwest to southeast trending Carlin Trend.
And the potential is not under cover; it's never been drilled. So our program is to determine where to drill some holes to look for the favorable host rocks where the biogeochemistry indicates the best prospectivity is. So we are in the process of starting to put together what's called the Notice, and that's the permit that'll be submitted to the BLM. And we're envisioning drilling in the second quarter of 2023.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. So drilling one project now; assays, obviously, expecting those after the new year. You're looking at drilling a second project. Can you give me just, again, a roundabout on the last few projects that are in the portfolio and what to expect there?
Robert Hatch: Stockade Mountain — and this is another Perry and Bud project — is in southeast Oregon in a favorable location for high-grade vein-type deposits. The hydrothermal system is analogous to what we find at the Midas, Sleeper, and National mines in Nevada, and numerous others worldwide, that are really high grade.
And what's intriguing about this occurrence is that a lot of work was done in the '80s and '90s. But that was followed by about 20 years of no work because pretty much all exploration had left Oregon. Well, with permitting advancing on the Grassy Mountain Mine just off to the east of us, there's a lot more attention back on Oregon with the belief that you could permit an underground deposit.
So this project has had quite a bit of anomalous gold drilled already. The biggest intercept is 260 feet, or 79 meters, averaging 0.937 grams per tonne, and there's a lot of other near-surface gold intercepts. But no one has ever drilled it deep for the high-grade potential that we believe is there.
So this is a very tangible target, and we're advancing the permitting on it. Oregon does require not only permitting with the BLM but also with the state. So we've got that underway, and we hope to be drilling it probably in the second quarter of 2023 also.
Gerardo Del Real: Well Bob, it sounds like you're going to have a 2023 full of assay results and drilling. When you have the kind of treasury that you have when you have the share structure that's as tight as it is, that's absolutely, as a shareholder, what people want to see. Anything to add to that before we go, Bob?
Robert Hatch: Yeah, the Kelly Creek Basin Project. We did drill a few holes earlier in the year. And this is a project that's right near the Marigold and Lone Tree mines. It's pediment; it's all covered. And we drilled some holes, and we are still sort of evaluating the data and where to go.
The last project, Lone Mountain, which is northwest of Elko, is very intriguing because the mountain itself is cored by an Eocene intrusive. And these intrusives are known to be the cause of the creation of the Carlin-type deposits and distal-disseminated deposits and even things like the Bingham Canyon, Tantric, Mount Hope, and Molly deposits.
So we're in the right age and in the right locality; it's south of Jura Canyon on that trend. We have the favorable host rocks. We have favorable alteration. Considerable data is available to us from prior workers, and we're involved with compiling and interpreting the data to sort of put a fresh set of eyes on the project. And we're envisioning drilling for, probably, Q3 2023.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, Bob, you have drilling lined up for the first three quarters. I suspect there's probably going to be drilling in Q4 of 2023. It's going to be a busy, busy year.
I want to thank you for taking the time to come on… and hopefully we can do this more often. I'm looking forward to the assay results here in January. Have yourself a great Christmas holiday and New Years! And again, hopefully we can do this again soon.
Robert Hatch: Yes, thank you. I do want to just say the drilling at Fourmile Basin will continue, probably, until the end of January. We probably won't see assays until late-February.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! We know that's always lab dependent so I always like to caution that as well. You've been at this a whole heck of a lot longer than I have… but you know how that can be… it can be favorable but it can go the other way.
The good news is Mother Nature left behind what Mother Nature left behind… and we're going to find out sometime in January… or hopefully February at the latest, right?
Robert Hatch: You bet!
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! Bob, thank you for your time, sir.
Robert Hatch: Thank you. Appreciate it. Take care.Click here to see more from Austin Gold