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Kore Mining (TSX-V: KORE)(OTC: KOREF) CEO Scott Trebilcock on Landmark ACES Reclamation Initiative in California
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Kore Mining, Mr. Scott Trebilcock. Scott, how are you today?
Scott Trebilcock: Awesome, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much for taking the time. You had some news that was really interesting to me here a few days ago, and let me read the headline. The headline reads:
KORE Mining Launches Project Aces - A Clean Environment for the Salton Sea
So I started digging into it a bit and you and I chatted in Beaver Creek that you had some ideas and some initiatives that at that time you couldn't really speak about, but that would be very beneficial, environmentally, for the part of California that you're working in.
And so, I as always, took it with grain of sand and thought to myself, "Well, how is Kore Mining looking to do something that's going to be environmentally friendly," right? And so when I read the release, I got to be honest with you, I was absolutely blown away by how logical and practical this initiative is, and just how much of a difference to the area, in a positive way, not just to the environment, but economically this will be if it works out the way that it's envisioned.
So, I say all that to say, can you please explain for people that haven't read the release or aren't aware what Project Aces is, because I think it's going to be extremely consequential for your multi-asset production profile, that is one of the most undervalued in the entire space, right?
Scott Trebilcock: Yeah, great. I'll try to say it in as few words as possible, because like everything, it's got some complexities to it when you try and tell it in the 30 second story. I think I'll read the second line of that news release, and then I'll bridge into what it is. The second line of that release is, "Improving the lives of local stakeholders, mining with a difference." And Project Aces is using mined material, that was already going to be mined as part of the Imperial Project's gold mine, to solve a need for construction materials in the local community for an environmental cleanup. And the cleanup is of the toxic beaches and receding shoreline of something called the Salton Sea, which is an evaporating salt lake leaving behind toxic beaches in a large number of the local communities around our project.
So, you have this mine, there's a couple ways to think about it. I think about the net project of our gold mine combined with Project Aces as an aggregate project fixing a major environmental problem for a huge part of Southern California, that is subsidized to be zero environmental impact by a gold mine. That's one way to think about it. And by helping fix the Salton Sea, we're literally saving lives due to the large impact of respiratory disease to children and adults across the Imperial Valley. So, I think there's a real positive to come from what is now more than just a gold mine bringing jobs and taxes.
Gerardo Del Real: And let's be absolutely clear, this is a 116 year old problem, correct? This isn't a recent problem. This isn't something that politicians haven't had time to address yet. This is an over century old problem, correct?
Scott Trebilcock: Yeah. The root of the problem is over a century century old and there is hundreds of millions of dollars of long term state and federal money that's going to be required to clean up this problem. The problem arises from the fact that it's hot in the desert, and the Salton Sea is an artificial lake that's evaporating. And it's got 100 years of agricultural, industrial, residential pollution that has settled in the bottom of this lake, and when it dries up leaves behind these toxic beaches that fine material that blows around the wind and harms local people.
Gerardo Del Real: This not only has the potential to be very, very, environmentally friendly, but it also has the potential to contribute to the local economy in a pretty significant way. And when I say the local economy, this is an area that has higher than average unemployment rates and some of the lowest incomes in all of California, right? I mean, we're talking, I believe the release highlights over 1.1 billion in investment for Imperial County in the state of California, I think it's over 500 construction jobs. Can you walk me through that aspect of it?
Scott Trebilcock: Yeah, exactly. Behind this net environmental positive, so, improving the lives of people in Imperial County, also through helping their health through Project Aces, but we are also bringing that fundamental economic backbone to a very poor part of California. You hit the numbers, we've got $1.1 billion in investment going into the county in this project, to Aces and the gold mine, construction jobs, permanent jobs, and all of the taxes and government payments that go along with that is the tax base that these parts of California need to sustain the infrastructure for their communities.
And I think that story combined with, "Hey, and by the way, all of this brings a positive environmental impact," is really getting the attention of local stakeholders and state and federal level politicians to say, "Hey, this is more than just a gold mine that's putting another hole on the ground,” we're going to leave behind no trace of the gold mine on federal land. And because all of our excess materials go into Salton Sea, you're fixing this huge problem, a politician is going, "That's something that's interesting to me. That's something I can put political capital behind." And that's ultimately what you need to build a mine in the United States.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent work on that front, identifying the opportunity, and I have to believe that you're going to get overwhelming local and state level support from all sides.
Let's pivot a bit and remind everyone that you are still a mining company and that none of it happens if you're not able to advance your projects, right? How are things come coming along on that front, Scott?
Scott Trebilcock: Yeah, absolutely. So, we're currently working with, so we are on federal land, Bureau of Land Management land in Imperial County, California. We're currently permitting a drill program for 2022 on the exploration side. We've got a team of local professionals based in the county that are building that social license to operate. And in the very near term, we want to be putting in our mine plan of operations to start marching down that multi-year process of permitting a mine at this site, because we believe that between the economic and social benefit, this project is something that's going to garner support.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it, looking forward to the last month or so of the year. And then 2022, I think is going to be a pivotal year, not just for the gold price and the gold space, but for Kore. Is there anything else that you'd like to add to that?
Scott Trebilcock: I mean, when you think about Kore as a company, we also have our Long Valley project, where we've been successful in receiving permits, and we're currently looking for, albeit very rare, so challenging, but we're looking for a drill to go put some holes in that property. So I think we've got the ability to generate news and to do the things that requires as a public company, a small public company, to grow. But I think underlying that there is this fundamental value creation from taking a 2.2 million ounce deposit at Imperial and moving it towards production, and ultimately that's the big value creator for Kore.
Gerardo Del Real: It's a big prize at the end of that road. What's the market cap at right now?
Scott Trebilcock: Oh, currently about $50 million market cap. So, a lot of value created. I think we had almost $1 billion of NPV between our two projects at $1,600 gold. So, that's the type of value you try to create by investing capital in these types of gold projects.
Gerardo Del Real: $50 million to $1 billion, and that's before drilling and additional allowances. Quite a disconnect, right?
Scott Trebilcock: Absolutely. That's the value creation proposition.
Gerardo Del Real: Great. Scott, thank you so much for your time today. Have a great holiday and we'll chat soon.
Scott Trebilcock: Yeah. Wonderful, Gerard. Have a great holiday yourself. Cheers.
Gerardo Del Real: Appreciate it.Click here to see more from Kore Mining