World Class Management Team See Mining Riches With This Junior Miner
What should you look for in an exploration company? The simple answer is management. Consider that many upstarts look similar on their face, all trumpeting a great piece of land in a friendly mining district with nearby mines known to host millions of ounces of gold or uranium or whatever the metal of choice happens to be. After all, it wouldn't exactly be smart to try and raise capital under a business mantra of "we know no one has ever found anything remotely close to here and there's no signs of mineralization or infrastructure, but we're hopeful.”
That's not to say that there isn't different geology at every project; there absolutely is. There are also differentiating factors related to development costs, time to commercialization, all-in-sustaining costs, potential mine life and more. Making all these judgments are the responsibility of management, which comes full circle back to the opening question.
At Idaho Champion Gold Mines Canada Inc. (CSE:ITKO) (OTCQB:GLDRF), all the boxes are checked for projects with tremendous upside potential, which isn't a huge surprise considering the quality of management leading the company. The Idaho Champion portfolio is divided into gold and cobalt assets in Idaho, with the initial focus on the Baner and Champagne gold projects in Idaho County and Butte County, respectively.
The Idaho gold projects are in the region of one of North America's most prolific historic gold rushes with all requisite infrastructure nearby in one of the world's top mining jurisdictions. Hundreds of drill holes indicate mineral expansion laterally and at depth to validate and add to an historical resource (non NI 43-101 compliant) of 2.3 million tons of 1.2 grams/ton gold equivalent.
That's not to say that the company's four cobalt properties in Lemhi County's cobalt belt couldn't be prioritized for the metal's value in electric vehicles in short order, but the strategy is gold-centric now, particularly because of the near-term potential at Champagne, which produced gold as recently as 1993.
Even the quickest look at the leadership team at Idaho Champion indicates this company stands out amongst peers with rich experience in resources and capital markets.
Bruce Reid serves as Chairman of the Board and owns 11.19 million shares of ITKO, or 10.7% of the company's issued and outstanding stock. Reid is the epitome of well-rounded mining executive experience, with both geology and finance degrees and over 40 years of experience in the industry, including serving as President and CEO of Carlisle Goldfields during the six years leading up to the acquisition by Alamos Gold (TSX:AGI) (NYSE:AGI) in 2016. Before that, Reid was intimately involved in the startup and successful build and sale of numerous mining companies, such as Western Goldfields, Patricia Mining and High Plains Uranium, while also amassing his extensive business investment background working with firms like Nesbitt Thomson, Loewen Ondaatje McCutcheon and Yorkton Securities.
As detailed in this article, CEO Jonathan Buick and CFO Julio DiGiralamo have been steady buyers of the stock. Much like Reid, the two bring a strong combination of finance and resource management to Idaho Champ. Buick owns 7.39 million shares of ITKO and DiGiralamo owns 2.13 million.
The rest of the C-suite, board and technical advisors are equally impressive. Rob Kell came on as Chief Geologist in March, bringing over 40 years experience to the team earned at mining stalwarts including South American Mining and Exploration Corp., BHP Minerals, Homestake Exploration, Newmont Corp. (NYSE:NEM) (TSX:NGT), and Anaconda Mining Inc. (TSX:ANX) (OTCQX:ANXGF).
What would attract a venerable expert like Kell to a little company like Idaho Champion? Perhaps it the opportunity for a multi-million-ounce discovery at Champagne, for which Kell has called the drill targets some of the most exciting he's seen in his career.
Further management stalwarts include Director Greg Schifrin has a BSc in Geology from the University of Idaho, College of Mines and a history of exploration success in the area. During his career spanning over 35 years, Schifrin has been CEO and Director at Blackrock Gold Corp. and provided technical services and project management for major and junior mining companies specializing in precious, base metals, rare earth and uranium exploration and development. Schifrin has 2.22 million shares of the issued and outstanding ITKO stock.
Another veteran, Patrick Highsmith, is a professional geologist and mining executive with 29 years of experience in exploration, operations, business development & leadership roles for companies, including: Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), BHP Billiton, Newmont, Lithium One, Pure Energy Minerals (TSX-Venture:PE) (OTCQB:PEMIF), and Fortescue Metals Group. Highsmith has worked on more than 250 projects around the world, leading teams through creative transactions, new discoveries, scoping, and prefeasibility studies. He is experienced in the capital markets, having been associated with all manner of financings and transactions.
Richard Leveille and Dr. Craig Bow serve as technical advisors to Idaho Champ. When looking at data and making decisions, these are the type of people to have in your corner.
Leveille is world renown for his discoveries and research and currently a consulting geologist on mineral exploration projects globally. Previously, he was the SVP of Exploration for Freeport Copper & Gold and managed the team that added 54 billion pounds of copper to reserves and made the Chukarui Peki discovery in Serbia which shared the 2016 PDAC Thayer Lindsley International Mineral Discovery Award. He also held senior VP and geologist roles with Phelps Dodge in South America and Kennecott Exploration in the U.S.
Bow, who earned a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Oregon and was a Fulbright Scholar from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, is a precious-metals-oriented consulting geologist with over 40 years of experience in domestic and international exploration. He contributed to the evolution of the Stillwater PGE project from initial exploration stage to a positive production decision. He held a senior exploration position with Gold Fields Exploration Inc, where he led gold exploration programs in Central America and Canada and provided the catalyst for Gold Field's entry into the Arctic Platinum partnership with Outokumpu. He also was the gold exploration manager for Newcrest Resources in South America.
In sports terms, betters sometimes must decide if they want to bet on the horse or the jockey. In those rare occasions, they can get the best of both worlds. In the case of ITKO, management and insiders see it, as evidenced by holding over 30% of the outstanding stock, effectively proving that they believe in themselves and the direction of the company's projects.
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