Banyan Gold (TSX-V: BYN)(OTC: BYAGF) CEO Tara Christie on Advancing a 7 Million Gold Ounce Resource in a Premier Jurisdiction

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Banyan Gold — Ms. Tara Christie. Tara, it's great to have you back on. How are you?

Tara Christie: I'm doing great, Gerardo. Thank you for having me back. I think it's a pretty exciting time for all of us in the gold business.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, we chatted a few months back, and we talked a bit off-air, and it's amazing what a couple of months will do not just on the macro side but on the micro side as well. 

We have a gold price that is just above US$2,300 per ounce as we speak. It has flirted with the US$2,400 level pretty consistently here recently. It looks to have a lot of momentum the rest of the year, and I think we're in for a pretty historic gold market. 

You’ve positioned Banyan Gold perfectly with the 7 million ounce Au resource, tons of exploration upside, excellent infrastructure, and really top-notch technical work that I know, in the retail environment especially, often gets overlooked but is so critical when you're a takeout target the way I believe your company is. 

I wanted to have you back on to talk about the current gold price environment and how Banyan is benefiting or not benefiting from that. And then, let's talk technical stuff and what comes next.

Tara Christie: That's great context because a lot of the juniors haven't seen the impact of the gold price yet. And yet, being positioned where we're seeing exactly what was predicted — gold prices are up as is central bank buying. This morning, I saw a statistic that central bank buying from China is up 23% over what it was at this time last year even at these higher prices. 

We're seeing cash flows; some great numbers from Agnico and Newmont and others that are making a lot of money at these gold prices. Then, it'll be the next step down. We are seeing some pretty exciting mergers and acquisitions. 

Some of them are still at bargain basement prices, which is not where I want to see Banyan, for sure, because I think we've got an asset that is very desirable. There are not very many places with 7 million ounces, road accessible, hydropower, exploration upside, easy mining, permittable jurisdiction. 

So I think, in context, this is kind of what you could expect. In a little bit more time — say, six months from now — it's going to be a very different environment. And I think we will start to see more retail coming in. Retail has been a bit slow coming into the market. Actually, we’ve seen more Asian and US retail interest than Canadian, whereas, normally, it's the Canadian retail that’s first to come in. 

Gerardo Del Real: You know what's interesting about that is there's so much central bank buying but it's not coming from the Western central banks. And so it's interesting to me that that's a trend that you're noticing even on the retail front. 

You've positioned the company for 2024 to have catalyst after catalyst after catalyst. And I want to get into what the rest of the year looks like because I mentioned some of the important technical work that you're doing but you also have some pretty important exploration that I think is going to unlock a lot of value for shareholders this year.

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Tara Christie: Absolutely, and it's a combination of that. So this past winter, we haven't been drilling but we've had a lot of time to do some technical work and really look at what holes are going to add value. 

We have a fairly strong treasury unlike lots of companies. We've been able to conserve cash and we have revenue. Seven million ounces is significant. We wanted to wait until the results of our scoping study work to really help guide us so we can focus some of our drilling on what the key economic drivers are. 

The metallurgical work we're doing is super important. Some of that will add percentages to our IRR when we do our PEA. We're not in a rush to do a PEA. We really want to understand the different processes first because we still have optionality.

People will say, ‘Well, why don't you just pick one and follow up on that?’ Well, that will actually scare away a few different potential acquirers or investors or strategics if we do that too soon. And really, the economics need to drive that.

Some companies might pay a higher upfront capital cost, and can, because it's a 30 or 40-year asset. And they'll put in that greater infrastructure. And there are some that are still kind of the ‘what's the lowest capital cost option,’ which is usually your heap leach or gravity flotation mill.

We’re actually in a really unique spot as not very many companies have optionality on their projects. And so we've done that. We now know those drivers. And we'll have our next phase of metallurgy happening throughout the year, which, I believe, will be a significant catalyst for us along with a very strategically planned drill program. 

We've had time to look at every hole, including ones that are going to add some higher grade material and confirm our structural geological model in our starter pit areas. And ones that are going to show that we not only have 7 million ounces at AurMac but that there is, I believe, the potential to host 10 Moz plus as we know the mineralization goes to depth. 

We've only drilled to about 200 meters, and we've started to do some of the technical work to really hone in on the intrusive. And remember, that's the key difference between us and Snowline Gold and Sitka Gold. They’ve found their intrusives; Sitka’s is pretty deep; Snowline’s is fairly remote. Where is ours? We've really started to do some of the technical work to understand that. 

And beyond that, we're going to continue to position this project so that it can be moved forward quickly through permitting. A lot of projects might miss this gold cycle. Who knows how long this gold cycle will be. Maybe it's prolonged because it has such momentum behind it. 

There are not very many North American projects, or projects in safe jurisdictions like ours, that could actually be in construction in four to five years from making your decision on the project and having a PEA. So that makes us unique… kind of a unicorn out there.

Gerardo Del Real: I couldn't agree with you more. Again, it's rare to have a 7 million ounce gold project with great exploration upside and with the infrastructure that you have and with technical work that you've done. 

You touched on finding the intrusive and understanding that a little bit better. You may not even have yet found the sweet spot of the mineralization. So all of that has got to be music to Banyan shareholder ears. Tara, anything else you'd like to add before I let you go? I appreciate the update, and I'm sure shareholders will as well.

Tara Christie: I think our team has worked really hard to manage our capital, and you'll notice that 85% of our dollars go in the ground and that we have real skin-in-the-game. 

For me, it matters what the share price is. Dilution matters. I had to buy my position in the market so I'm very cognizant of what we are doing and what the long-term value is for shareholders. We're driven by that. 

I've got a great team that shares that view and really wants our legacy to be that this project adds a lot of value for our shareholders and is really positive for the community. And ultimately, I'd love to see this project get built. 

We’ve started to call ourselves ‘Yukon's Next Goldmine.’ Forward-looking, yes, but I think it's a great place to be in, and I've worked most of my career to get here. So thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it… and look for another exciting year from Banyan.

Gerardo Del Real: Always a great conversation and always insightful. And look, Banyan is by far one of the best-run gold companies in the entire space. Kudos to you and your team and the way you approach it. Thank you again, Tara.

Tara Christie: Thank you so much, Gerardo.

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