General Base Metals
Nine Mile Metals (CSE: NINE)(OTC: STVGF) Director Patrick Cruickshank on Applying Brand New AI Technology in the Pursuit of Copper-Dominant VMS-style Deposits in New Brunswick, Canada
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the director of Nine Mile Metals — Mr. Patrick Cruickshank. Patrick, how are you? You're new to the show. It's great to have you on… you're here in my stomping grounds, Austin, Texas.
Patrick Cruickshank: I am, pretty lucky! We had a big tornado event last night so we're all pretty safe, and thank you for inviting me in today.
Gerardo Del Real: No, look it's great to hear that you're safe. It's great to know that we're safe. We missed a tornado by a neighborhood on each side so thankful for that. But listen, let's get right to Nine Mile Metals.
I am a big believer in what I like to call the technology metals; the battery metals, the green metals… call them by whatever name you want to call them. There is a boom in green energy minerals for technology.
And the bottom line is, if we're going to satisfy even half of the demands and the expectations and the goals that countries have set for emissions and for the electrification-of-everything… we're going to need a lot of copper… we're going to need a lot of lead… a lot of zinc… a lot of silver.
And so when you and I started talking about helping tell the Nine Mile Metals story, what attracted me to the company was a couple of things. One, the small market cap; two, frankly, no one had heard about it yet, and; three, you were targeting the right metals in a part of the world that has an abundance of them.
So before we get into the projects and the share structure and what you think about the future for these battery metals and these green energy minerals, I want to talk to you a bit about the team that you've put together because you just announced a technical committee that is impressive in itself.
I look at the board of directors; solid, solid group. And then, of course, your background speaks for itself. So for people that may be new to you, tell us a bit about that.
Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, Nine Mile Metals is a forward-thinking, environmentally conscious mineral exploration company. But what's unique is we utilize new cutting edge, exciting 3-D and AI technology in our quest for discovery of high-grade deposits of, like you said, minerals for technology or green minerals.
There is a global shortage of these base metals but they're being reinvented almost for completely supplying EV and solar and wind technology. And there is a global shortage. And you are 100% correct on the supply appetite not being met. As much as we love EV cars, it only represents less than 5% of global car sales.
We could not meet any of these forecasts government agencies have put on us for carbon emission reduction because we just can't make enough batteries; we don't have the source. And this is where I believe the future is in reinventing base metals for new technologies.
Gerardo Del Real: We have the Gigafactory here near the airport in Austin. And then, they just announced a brand new Samsung microchip factory that's going to be in Taylor, Texas, not too far away from where I'm at. And that's going to be a US$20 billion investment.
So, I wanted to make sure that I provided some context that, just in the area that you and I live in, we're talking US$20, US$30, US$40 billion dollars worth of investment here over the next decade or so.
Patrick Cruickshank: And making a small dent in the global demand, I mean, it's phenomenal. People don't realize that copper represents about 40% of all EV car wiring, plus the battery, plus zinc, plus silver for solar panel technology and copper wire for wind technology.
So all of those things, our appetite just keeps growing as a nation, as a country, and as a continent. It's just phenomenal. If you believe in that growth of technology, we still need the base metals to support that. And that's the nice thing we have with what we go after, which are deposits of discovery for VMS, which is volcanic massive sulfides.
Those are high-grade deposits, and there's only four or five big mining camps on the planet. And we're lucky enough to own a project in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, which is the third-largest VMS camp on the planet. And these are high-grade massive deposits that the Brunswick No. 12 Mine, for example, ran for 51 years.
We're very excited. This is, obviously, a great jurisdiction in Canada. Just like the United States; very safe, very pro-business, and very environmentally conscious, and being a first world nation. So we're very excited. We can't wait to tell our story. We are unknown… but hopefully, very quickly, everyone will get to know us very shortly.
Gerardo Del Real: Tell me a bit about your background, and then let's talk about the team that you've been able to put together.
Patrick Cruickshank: Well, I've been in the junior exploration space for about six years now, and primarily all private. We came through a very, very strong recession for many years; base metals and things that are cyclical. I've been in the financial services industry for many years, and I've believed that we've got a very, very strong, unique model to our exploration companies and how we protect our shareholders and keep our share cap low and the way that we implement work programs that is different than the majority of the junior exploration market.
We have been very fortunate, like most companies, we want to put a lot of our capital into our people, and I am very much pro-technology. For example, out of — I think Bathurst has 46 deposits — they average about one and a half deposits per year in this mining camp. And it's only discovered about 30% of its deposits, and that's supported by the government and from the geophysical landscape out there.
So there's only 1% of outcrop. And what I mean by that, there's only 1% of all the deposits that actually break the surface and you can see it. So 99% of these deposits are, in fact, hidden. And because of all the glaciers and the way this evolved over 470 million years, there was a volcano that was just spitting out pure mineralization for 10 to 15 million years. And it created this halo in all of these deposits. Then, all the glaciers came in. Then, all the continents started moving and folding and flipping, and it became very complex.
So as you can see, the need now is… all of the easy deposits have been found. But we believe, as well as the government of New Brunswick — who is super supportive of the community and the mining community — we believe that this new technology, which has only been around for about a year, will really take us over that hurdle and really give us some really good geophysical traction.
The technology is just brand-newly coming out; the 3-D and the artificial intelligence. And we do have a fantastic supporting team member, Daniel Card, who's president and CEO of EarthEx Geophysical Solutions in Winnipeg, Manitoba. And he is on our technical board; he's a geoscientist and a P.Geo. We have used him in the past, and I can't talk more highly about his technology.
He worked at NASA. He worked on developing this as a Ph.D.; his drone and geophysical technology that shoots down into the ground up to a mile in high-def with the modeling and the 3D and the AI interpretation and processing. I'm telling you, this is truly groundbreaking, not just for us, but for this industry, and especially when you're looking for deposits that are 100% subsurface.
So there is a long tombstone of successful projects that Daniel has in the last two years with this technology, and we've used it on another project in the area. And I am a complete believer in the technology.
Gerardo Del Real: Tell me about when we get to see what that technology will yield. And what I mean by that is, tell me about your projects. You've been busy adding and acquiring additional claims around one of the projects; the Nine Mile Brook VMS Project. And so when can we anticipate drilling on that project? And then, tell me a bit more about that project and the portfolio in the company.
Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, so there's primarily two projects in Nine Mile Metals at the moment. One is Canoe Landing Lake West, which is also in Bathurst, New Brunswick. And you can look at our press releases; we do have some geological maps up there.
Those projects are definitely on the correct geological formations; 80% of all of the deposits fall into this one-aged rock; call it a fairway, kind of like a golf course. California Landing Lake is about 8 kilometers west of the Canoe Landing deposit, which is 30 million tonnes of VMS.
So VMS, you get lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold. Very high grade; very profitable, obviously, because you're mining five distinct minerals with very little composite or filler between the minerals. Think of sand in a mason jar; just layers of banding because this volcano was spitting up pure minimization, and it was just settling on the ocean floor. So that's primarily how it was formed.
Nine Mile Brook is very, very unique. We actually already have discovered a lens. And what a VMS lens is… pretend you’ve got a big deposit. And with all of this folding and glaciers and all of this continental movement, a part of that deposit is broken off and it gets moved with the till and the overburden, etc. We have that at Nine Mile Brook. That's why we're so excited.
And we've already assayed it and tested it and sent it in for lab samples in Canada. And we press released it; 38% lead-zinc, 12% copper, 14 ounces silver, and about 10% gold. So when you look at all of that, it's very high-grade. We are going to continue to test that lens; define it with the new technology; how big it is, how deep it is, get a subsurface 3D model of the lens.
More importantly, that lens is a broken off component. The actual deposits are one solid deposit with a lens broken off or it's a series of multiple stacked lenses. The Caribou Mine that Trevali has in the Bathurst camp — which is producing and it has about 1.2 billion pounds of lead-zinc-copper-silver-gold — is actually three stacked lenses.
So we have a fantastic starting point. We're not just looking for a needle in the haystack. We are going to use new technology to find the source of the lens or multiple lenses because, in reality, they don't move very far. We've already got five significant geophysical targets up-ice northwest of the lens where we believe it is. We are going to bring in the new technology, obviously, and confirm that and define those targets, which will lead to our drill program.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. When do you anticipate the drills turning? I mean, everybody loves high-grade samples. You mentioned the numbers. It was something along the lines of, I think, it was 38.8% lead-zinc, gold was 2.694 grams per tonne, silver was 14.5 ounces per tonne. Those are phenomenal numbers.
But you know the market as well, if not better, than I, Patrick, and you know that everybody wants to see the truth machine prove out what's underneath. When can we anticipate that?
Patrick Cruickshank: Well, just to be completely transparent, obviously, this is the winter in Canada; this is the offseason; this is where we develop our program for the upcoming year… all of our funding… we get all of our technology analysis done, and then we apply for our permits. We are well underway on all of that. There will be news coming out very shortly.
We have applied for our permit. It's a very supportive province in Canada. They actually are, probably, out of all of our projects, New Brunswick, I'd say, is, number one, our biggest supporter from the government and from the mining community and our peers and our neighbors; don't forget our neighbors.
It's the third largest mining camp in the world; we've got Osisko, Trevali, Wolfden, Puma… so many different companies there. It is a thriving camp. And I will tell you, not just us, but with all of these companies doing new work, new technology, you're going to see a lot coming out of the Bathurst mining camp in 2022… I’ll tell you that right now.
Gerardo Del Real: We talked about the asset; we talked about some of the technical team and the team involved; we talked about the obvious need for these metals. You're in a great jurisdiction. We talked about the catalysts. We're waiting for drilling; that's always, always a major catalyst.
Tell me a bit about the market cap. Tell me a bit about the share structure and what that looks like. I did mention that it's a relatively new and unknown story. And I like being early to stories that I see have potential here. What's the market cap looking like?
Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, we've got roughly around 44 million shares outstanding. We just, in January, closed this transaction with Fiddlehead Mining and Nine Mile Metals. So besides the share cap, we've also acquired more ground all around Nine Mile Brook.
We're always evaluating more and more property for the investor and for the portfolio. With the acquired grounds that we just press released in Nine Mile Brook, we now completely own, 100%, the eastern targets that we already have identified on Nine Mile Brook. So that's a big win for us as a shareholder base and what we're trying to accomplish.
We are constantly evaluating more property, more ground, more projects. I just think we're going into — and if you talk to different economists — we're going into an 8 to 12 year bull market on commodity-based metals. You can't have infrastructure — trillions of dollars in infrastructure programs announced by the US government — without copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, steel. You just can't fix bridges and everything without base metals.
So that, plus the EV growth… it's a fantastic sector to be in and a great jurisdiction, like Canada, to be a part of versus any geopolitical issues that you're having in other jurisdictions around the globe.
Gerardo Del Real: You're trading at C$0.17 today. If my math is on, on a quick scan here, puts the market cap at a measly C$7.5 million; just under that, approximately. So obviously, a lot of runway. I like VMS deposits. I like the metal combination you're looking for. I like the area.
I'm looking forward to having you back on, Patrick, as we get closer to drilling. And it sounds like you have quite a bit of news flow planned between now and then. So I'm looking forward to having you back on as soon as that is published.
Patrick Cruickshank: Yes, thank you very much. We can't wait to share our news and to let everyone know that we're actually out there in Bathurst working away. So we can't wait for the field season to start, which starts in just two weeks.
Gerardo Del Real: I encourage everybody to go to the website; brand new website, www.ninemilemetals.com. Patrick, thank you, sir, for your time. Appreciate it.
Patrick Cruickshank: Alright, stay safe there.
Gerardo Del Real: Same your way. Thank you.