New York spot gold fell early, moved higher near noon but ended the day down $2 to $1,928.10 on Friday. The TSX-V rose 0.87 point to 622.01 while the TSX gold slid 4.07 points to 306.83. Most Canadian gold miners lost ground again today. Novagold Resources Inc. (NG), $9.33 on Wednesday, was again noteworthy in retreat, dropping another 23 cents to $8.40 on 200,000 shares. Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (SSL) kept it company, dropping 20 cents to $7.81 on 747,000 shares. SSR Mining Inc. (SSRM) bucked the trend, adding seven cents to $22.84 on 328,000 shares.
Ian Slater and Joseph Hebert's Outcrop Silver & Gold Corp. (OCG), one of the hardy few to roll out new assays on a Friday, cheered a 1.71-metre interval that averaged 2.17 grams of gold and 584 grams of silver per tonne with modest amounts of lead and zinc. The hit came from one of two new holes into the Megapozo shoot on the company's Santa Ana project in Colombia. Outcrop lost two cents to 29 cents on 562,000 shares on the news.
The other hole delivered a 0.73-metre hit with lesser grades, but Mr. Hebert, chief executive officer, was nevertheless pleased with his new assays. The drilling is designed to define the limits of 13 identified high-grade shoots, he says, adding that they will "substantially increase the potential resources." Further, he glows, the company has three rigs at Santa Ana, and they will be called upon to test "numerous high-quality targets" already lined up for a 2023 program.
Some of these targets, Mr. Hebert says, are characterized by surface values up to 6,300 grams of silver per tonne and 9,700 grams of silver equivalent per tonne, and the company has shown a very high success rate for discovery. That trend, he concludes, "is expected to continue."
Meanwhile, Guillermo Hernandez, Outcrop's vice-president of exploration, chose to tout the bird in hand, not those that Mr. Hebert hopes will take wing this year. "We are very excited to return a drill rig to Megapozo," enthuses Mr. Hernandez, noting that the current program at Megapozo, hosted within the Paraiso vein "in the heart of the Santa Ana project" aims to deliver a larger resource from this important shoot.
Mr. Hebert and Mr. Slater, executive chairman, are promising a maiden resource calculation for Santa Ana before the end of March, and they already offer an enthusiastic guess about what to expect. Outcrop promotes its near-term exploration potential of 18 kilometres of cumulative vein length on Santa Ana and perhaps 60 kilometres of vein zones ultimately on the total project. Further, the company says that its "discovery success rate suggests about 4.9 million silver equivalent ounces for each one kilometre [of] vein zone."
Isabelle Proulx's Stelmine Canada Ltd. (STH) closed unchanged at 18 cents on 912,000 shares on word it has drilled a 17.8-metre interval averaging 2.62 grams of gold per tonne in the Meridian zone at its Mercator project in Northern Quebec. The assays, from 13 holes into the zone, also included a 9.75-metre interval averaging 1.13 grams per tonne.
The results deteriorated from there, as the company says that five of the 13 holes returned significant intersections with grades topping one gram per tonne. (In other words, the eight others did not.) Nevertheless, Stelmine applauds its first phase of exploration drilling as confirming an important gold mineralized system that extends at least 1,700 metres and is 500 metres wide, reaching a depth of 200 metres.
Ms. Proulx, president and CEO, was suitably "impressed by the results" of the company's maiden drilling program at Mercator, one she applauds as "confirming an extensive mineralized system within the Meridian zone" -- a zone exposed at surface and continuing to a depth of over 100 metres. Based on the results, she and her crew believe the mining potential of Mercator stems from "high-tonnage, moderately-rich gold mineralization."
And so, Ms. Proulx is enthused for Stelmine's coming program at Mercator. Although work has just begun, she and her crew are "already planning [a] second drilling campaign for the summer of 2023." There are plenty of high-potential targets to investigate, she cheers, noting that just 6 per cent of the Mercator property has received systematic exploration and sampling.
Fridays are a good day to reveal failed deals. Nav Dhaliwal's Pacton Gold Inc. (PAC) fell two cents to 21 cents on 214,000 shares on word that it has elected not to proceed with the acquisition of the Adeline high-grade copper and silver project in Labrador. In mid-October, Mr. Dhaliwal and his crew were "thrilled to be acquiring" the project -- an ideal project for their technical team, they gushed. "Essentially, we are taking on a district-scale copper project that is primed for rapid expansion."
Now, apparently, reality has set in. Today, Mr. Dhaliwal, interim president and CEO, conceded that, far from ideal, his geological team has concluded that "the immense scale of the project exceeds Pacton's capacity to take the project to the development level." And so, the company and the proposed vendor, Chesterfield Resources PLC, have mutually agreed to kill the deal. Also dead, therefore, is Pacton's proposed sale of 10 million shares at 25 cents, as the $2.5-million was to be used to close the Adeline acquisition and get to work.
Ron Hochstein's Lundin Gold Inc. (LUG) lost five cents to $15.16 on 825,000 shares. The company has drilled a 30-metre interval averaging 5.1 grams of gold per tonne at Fruta del Norte (FDN) in southeastern Ecuador. This new drilling, which has turned up new mineralized zones to the south and at depth of the currently defined mineral resource, produced several other encouraging results.
Mr. Hochstein, president and CEO, says the results "highlight the potential of the largely unexplored area surrounding the FDN mineral resource envelope," adding that the assays show the significant potential of the system beyond the known limits of the deposit. This supports the company's belief that the near-mine program will yield an expansion of the existing resource. To prove the point, at least 15,500 metres of new drilling are planned this year, roughly double the company's 2022 effort.
At last report -- just over a year ago -- FDN held a reserve of 4.92 million ounces at an average grade of 8.7 grams per tonne. That reserve is going quickly, however, as the company produced just under 480,000 ounces from the mine last year, providing an onus to keep the drills busy in the near-mine area this year.