ADELLA HARDING Mining Correspondent
Caliber Mining Corp. is the new owner of the Pan Mine in Nevada and is bringing in new capital to potentially extend the life of Pan and develop the Gold Rock deposit approximately 12 miles from Pan into a producing gold mine.
Vancouver-based Caliber is “very excited about Pan and Gold Rock,” said Ryan King, senior vice president of corporate development and investor relations for Calibre, who added that the company is “really delighted” with the acquired 124 square mile land package. in Nevada.
Caliber acquired Pan Mine from Fiore Gold earlier this year, along with Gold Rock and the former Illipah mine, all in White Pine County, and the big company plans to invest more money in Nevada that Fiore could not afford.
Pan produced 45,397 ounces of gold for the company’s fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and King said the amount of production was limiting Fiore’s cash flow, which he called ” very responsible miner”. Caliber has three producing mines in Nicaragua, which means increased cash flow.
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“At Pan, the last four years of investment has averaged $1,000,000 to $1.5 million per year in exploration drilling,” King said.
Caliber plans to invest more in exploration drilling in hopes of adding years to Pan’s life, and the company will continue work at Gold Rock. King said Pan’s growth was allowed and the goal was to maximize Pan’s potential. Pan is a heap leaching operation.
He said there were no operational changes to Pan after Caliber took over, and that “the operators are very good”. About 170 people work at Pan, but the number varies between consultants and contractors.
Fiore Gold purchased the Pan mine in 2016. Midway Gold began construction there around 2014.
King said the company may also do some early drilling at Illipah, but “this year the focus is on Pan and Gold Rock.”
“We could make a production decision next year on Gold Rock. We are advancing technical studies and anticipate there will be synergies with Pan, with people and infrastructure,” King said.
Jared Bybee, field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management‘s Ely District Bristlecone Field Office, said Gold Rock is already licensed as a mine on the former EZ Junior property and that Caliber “may begin mining Gold Rock at any time the company wishes. The 2018 decision is in effect.
“The exploration plan is also in effect and exploration activities are continuing,” Bybee said in an email.
Drilling results at Gold Rock are promising, according to Caliber President and CEO Darren Hall, who said in mid-January that “Gold Rock presents an exceptional near-term opportunity to increase production in Nevada. , leveraging the management and infrastructure of our Pan Mine.
“It is exciting to see continued high-grade Gold Rock intersections, especially those occurring outside of the previously reported preliminary economic assessment pit boundaries,” Hall said.
“Since the PEA, which was completed in 2020, numerous holes in and around the North and South Mineral Resource pits have intersected grades above the current average Mineral Resource grade of 0.7 g/t. gold,” he said.
There were five drilling platforms in operation between Gold Rock and Pan as of mid-January.
Calbre also has mines in Nicaragua that produced 182,755 ounces of gold in 2021, exceeding high-end production guidance, and 49,218 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company expects to produce between 180,000 and 190,000 ounces. gold from its Nicaraguan mines—La Libertad, El Limon and Pavon—in 2022.
The company announced in early February that it had approved a $22 million exploration budget for its sites in Nicaragua.
Caliber Mining became the company it is today in 2019, but the story is much longer.
King said Caliber was spun out of the Featherstone Capital group, which specializes in mining deals and was co-founded by Doug Forster and Blayne Johnson. Johnson is president of Caliber and Forster is the senior director. Johnson is also chairman of Featherstone.
Caliber began looking for exploration opportunities in the mid-2000s, and “the company has moved pretty quickly,” King said, acquiring properties in Nicaragua in 2009 from Yamana Gold and continuing to push projects forward with partners over the years.
In 2019, however, Caliber “thought it would be a good idea to research production,” he said.
This led to an agreement with B2 Gold for shares and cash for two mines and factories in Nicaragua. One of them, El Libertad, was “on the verge of closing, but we felt there was an opportunity to find more resources to potentially extend life,” King said.
Caliber spent over $60 million in Nicaragua in 2020, and “we spent even more in 2021 on assets so we could use the infrastructure”, and “by the end of 2020 we added over 200% to the reserves,” King said. .
The company is now seeing many years of production in Nicaragua and continues to invest in exploration drilling there, but Caliber was ready to expand. The company has no debt and a cash balance of $101 million, King said.
“The stated goal of our strategy is to grow the business organically and through mergers and acquisitions to create a multi-asset, multi-jurisdictional gold producer,” he said. .
King said the acquisition of Fiore Gold was an opportunity to work in Nevada, which is “one of the best mining jurisdictions on the planet”, and Caliber recognized the potential for mining development in Nevada.
In the January merger, Caliber acquired all the shares of Fiore Gold, which owned the Pan, Gold Rock and Illipah mine in Nevada and the Golden Eagle exploration site in Washington state.
The net worth of the arrangement was estimated at $158 million, with former Fiore shareholders receiving 0.994 shares of Caliber common stock and a cash payment of 8 cents in US dollars in exchange for their Fiore shares, according to the companies. Caliber issued over 101 million Caliber shares and the cash payment was nearly $8.16 million.
The companies said former Fiore shareholders now own 23% of Caliber’s issued and outstanding shares, and Caliber shareholders own 77%. ￼