General Base Metals
Millrock Resources (TSX-V: MRO)(OTC: MLRKF) CEO Greg Beischer on Name Change & Focus on Flagship Nikolai Nickel Project, Alaska
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Millrock Resources, Mr. Greg Beischer. Greg, great to have you back on. How are you today?
Greg Beischer: Well, I'm very well, and it's sort of a momentous day, Gerardo. It's been Millrock Resources for 15 years now, but we're about to become Alaska Energy Metals.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get right into it. You and I have used some baseball parlance in the past, and we've talked about swinging for home runs at 64North. We've talked about taking a big whiff at that. What I know about baseball is this. I'm a big, big, big baseball fan. Most home run hitters, there is exceptions, of course, but most home run hitters also tend to strike out a lot. With 64North, it's definitely not a game-over type of situation, but there's been some swings, some big swings, and some big misses thus far. You were able to quite, quite brilliantly, I'll say, bring in a very, very, very prospective nickel project that has a commodity mix that includes copper, cobalt, chrome, iron, platinum, palladium, gold, and silver, and it's a project that you're very familiar with. You actually have an intimate background with this project. I understand that the pivot to Alaska Energy Metals, which will be the new name after the consolidation, is designed to focus solely on that project. Am I accurate in that assessment, Greg?
Greg Beischer: Yes, you are exactly right, Gerardo. You've taken all the words right out of my mouth. But yes, we're definitely swinging for the fences with this one, and I do have a long history with it. If I was ever really going to go to bat for a single project, this is definitely the one.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, tell me about your background with this project. I know the background obviously, so it's a rhetorical question on my part. But for those that aren't familiar, tell me a bit about the project. Tell me a bit about your history with it and why you're willing to take the kind of swing that you're taking on this project. You're changing the company name. You're changing and pivoting the focus of the company. I don't think you'd be doing that if you didn't believe strongly that this has the potential to make Millrock shareholders, who frankly have suffered in the market the past couple of years, to make them whole if you're able to knock one out of the park with this one.
Greg Beischer: Yep. Millrock was frustrating and a bit disappointing the last few years because the team executed the business model perfectly, but we just weren't rewarded in the market. Some of the results were good, but just not good enough, not quick enough. So bold action had to be taken. We're taking it.
But yeah, I do have a very long history with this project that dates back to 1995 when my first employer, where my first career happened at INCO, which was at the time the largest nickel miner in the world, now Vale.
But the global nickel targeting team had identified this Nikolai Project area as having a lot of geological and geochemical similarities to the Norilsk area of Russia, where there's the largest accumulation of massive sulfide, very rich nickel deposits in the world. So I came here in the '90s, executed all the usual first pass exploration work that an explorer would do, and then we drilled a series of holes. Honestly, I was disappointed because we didn't hit that thick, rich, massive sulfide, but we did hit hundreds of meters thicknesses of disseminated mineralization. At the time, that wasn't going to be economic, but things are completely different now. Those historic holes that I drilled and others after me in the 2000s, looks like they really hold together, and there should be a very large, thick deposit of disseminated sulfide mineralization that has all those metals you mentioned, nickel, copper, cobalt, and especially the platinum group elements, which really help.
So really quite excited to get back on this ground again. We know we can incrementally build that large disseminated deposit, but the potential remains to find the very rich, high-grade, massive sulfide deposits as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Tell me about the analog to this deposit. Obviously, again, this is another rhetorical question. I know the analog. I know the market cap. But I want to provide, because there is a financing decision that you're going to have to make here over the next week or two, one that I may be keen to participate in, but we'll have that discussion at a separate time. Tell me about the analog that you are basing potential market cap and potential returns on the Nikolai Project on, because the market cap post-consolidation is going to be minuscule for Millrock.
Greg Beischer: Exactly. Yeah, there's actually several peer companies, but the analog I would draw most closely is the company called Canada Nickel and their Crawford deposit near Timmins, Ontario in Canada. A similar story actually, a discovery made by INCO back in the 1950s, at the time just disseminated mineralization that wouldn't cut it economically. But again, now things are totally different, the demand for nickel growing and projected to be much, much higher. They have done great work, delineated a large deposit, so they have a resource in the ground. They're a couple of years ahead of us. They've done the right metallurgical studies, but at this point, their market cap is $190 million Canadian. They've just had a great endorsement from Anglo-American of $24 million to get a partial ownership of their company. So I think they're a direct analog for what Millrock can accomplish in the next two years.
Over the next two drilling seasons, we will incrementally build out our resource, and before the end of 2024 are likely to have resource in the same ballpark as Canada Nickel's Crawford. Therefore, we should have a market capitalization or value of our company that's in a similar ballpark, at least over $100 million, which would be 10 to 20 times of where we sit today.
Gerardo Del Real: How is the infrastructure for the Nikolai Project?
Greg Beischer: I think it's great. By Alaska standards, we can drive right up to the claim block on a paved highway from the international airport at Fairbanks, Alaska, which I know you know well. In fact, you've probably driven right by those claims. The road continues south to the deepwater port at Valdez. The main power grid for Alaska lies around 100 kilometers just to the west, as does the main rail line for the state. So Alaska-wise, it's excellent infrastructure.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to details on the financing. I have to ask you, you have several non-core assets, including the ownership stake in 64North, which of course is partnered. Where do we go from here as it relates to the other assets there, Greg?
Greg Beischer: Right. Yes, we've got ownership in 64North. We've got royalty assets in the Fairbanks area, several other blocks of claims, mostly focused on gold and copper. They'll have value. We'll probably sell those over time when it makes the most sense, when we can maximize the value for our shareholders and put it into the nickel project.
I still have great faith in both 64North and the Fairbanks area to produce valuable gold deposits. I'd hate to sell them immediately because I think the value ultimately is going to be there and much higher. So we'll be selective about when we sell as long as we're able and just evaluate on a step-by-step basis as opportunities come up.
Gerardo Del Real: Greg, you live to swing another day. It's a high-risk, high-reward business. Thus far, mother nature has been a bit elusive in delivering the goods. But in this case, you have an advanced stage project with a ton of history and data to work with, which of course bodes well for future programs, future resources, and a rapid rerating.
Let's have another conversation here in the next week or two once you put together the details of your financing. Anything to add to that, Greg?
Greg Beischer: You bet. This is a more advanced project than has been typical. As you know we were on the earliest leading edge, the most early stage, sometimes purely conceptual projects. While the rewards can be huge, the discoveries don't happen that often. In this case, the discovery's been made. It's more a matter of drilling the holes to delineate the initial resource and then expand upon it. So it's quite different, more advanced than has been typical for Millrock. So it is time to swing for the fences, and Alaska Energy Metals, I think, is going to hit a home run with this one.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it. Greg, thank you for coming on. Appreciate your time as always, sir.
Greg Beischer: You, too. Good talking with you, Gerardo. Have a great day.
Gerardo Del Real: Same.Click here to see more from Alaska Energy Metals