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TNR Gold’s Gary Schellenberg Discusses Gold Mining in Alaska on Midas Letter Money
TNR Gold Corp. (TSX.V:TNR) Executive Chairman Gary Schellenberg talks about his company’s flagship Shotgun Project, located 175 kilometres south of Donlin Creek within the Kuskokwim Gold Belt in Southwestern Alaska. The company acquired the remaining 50% of the project from Nova Gold Resources Inc, and so now controls 100% of the project.
The company is also embroiled in a court dispute with Minera Andes over that company’s claim to 100% of the Los Azules project, a large copper project which TNR lays claim to two thirds of the project area.
TheJames West: Hi. I’m James West. This is Midas Letter Money.
My next guest is Gary Schellenberg. Gary is the President and CEO of TNR Gold Corp., trades under the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol TNR.
Gary, thank you for joining us today.
Gary Schellenberg: Thanks for having me.
James West: Gary, we’re going to jump right into a TNR Gold spinoff, TNR Lithium.
Gary Schellenberg: Yeah, that’s correct. So International Lithium Corp. is part of our major business plan of creating well through generating new projects.
James West: So Gary, tell us a bit about your flagship project?
Gary Schellenberg: Well, that’s the Shotgun Project which we have in Alaska. It currently has a non compliant resource of about a million ounces made up of about 33 million tons of one gram.
The last time this property has actually worked was back in 2006.
James West: We’re talking gold here?
Gary Schellenberg: Yes. We’re talking gold. And it’s one of these intrusive related gold systems that has a big look very similar to the Donlin Creek. And so again, the last time we worked on this property was in 2006. We’re earning in our 50% from NovaGold it’s operator. And since that time once we earned our 50% the work was done.
Late last year we’re able to finally cut a deal with NovaGold, acquired the other 50% so now we have 100% of this asset which we think has a lot of earmarks very, very similar to Donlin Creek.
James West: So is it continuous to Donlin Creek?
Gary Schellenberg: It’s what, 80 kilometers away and it’s also about 80 kilometers to the west of Iliamna which of course hosts the Pebble deposit.
So, it’s in a very, very prolific gold area. We think it has a potential not just for one or two million ounces but again very similar type of deposit that Donlin Creek where we hope it’s going to host in the tens of millions of ounces.
James West: Great. Are you going to drill it this year?
Gary Schellenberg: We certainly hope so. Yes. And this is one of our projects where we want to be able to bring in a good partner to help us get to that.
James West: Okay. And so now it appears that TNR is a bit in a holding pattern and I’m just going to make reference to the press release of January 13th 2012, “TNR Gold offers to sell Los Azules litigation with Minera Andes for $125 million,” can you tell us a bit about what’s going there?
Gary Schellenberg: Well, it’s one of the projects that we generated many years ago and we’ve discovered a significant copper deposit, probably one of the largest copper deposits now in South America that’s undeveloped. It’s currently being developed by McEwen Mining.
The dispute started about four years ago over some land ownership and has essentially escalated to a point now where four years later we now have been granted leave to amend our claim against the parties to actually include the return of the deposit, the portion of the deposit of disputed land.
What’s interesting is that from the data that’s publicly available, 2/3 of the deposit lies within the dispute of the land. We have at least two different appraisals of this evaluation that’s done one by Mechanic Org(ph) back in August stating this deposit was worth 540 million. Most recently, the McEwen Mining, the Info Circular had a discounted rate. Our evaluation was deposited being 185 million.
So as you can see, it’s something that we take very seriously. It could have a significant impact on our company moving forward and yes, it has put us in a bit of a holding pattern over the last number of years but we’re looking forward to having our case heard in November of this year.
James West: Okay. So is there other exploration activity into the company right now?
Gary Schellenberg: Exactly, yeah. We’re going back to our project generation roots. We’ve just recently acquired an iron ore property in Ontario. We’ve got two Rare Earth Properties also in Ontario which we hope to aggressively start to develop and bring in partners.
We also have our host of asset still in Argentina. We have our El Tapau and El Salto projects which again is part of our model. We’re looking to bring in partners and develop these assets.
James West: So as an investor looking for something to invest in TNR offers a diverse project portfolio across a wide variety of commodities or is it just precious ones?
Gary Schellenberg: No. Exactly, we do all the commodities and that’s something. As a project generator, we like to just look at various commodities, what’s the next up and coming commodity and then put our exploration team developing new assets and acquiring these things and hopefully ahead of the curve and that’s what makes this a success.
James West: I see. Tell us a bit about your background.
Gary Schellenberg: I’ve been a geologist for many years — going on now 30 years. I’ve been early-stage project generator all of my life. We’ve had some successes in the past. We’re one of the first groups involved in diamond exploration in the Northwest Territories. I was one of the founding directors of Winspear Resources which got bought out for about $385 million in the late 1990s.
I also got involved in oil and gas at a very early stage as well back when oil and gas was $10 a barrel if you can remember back that far.
But it was going sometime and that was back in 1992. That company is currently now Providence Energy which is now being merged with Pembina.
James West: Wow! So you got lots of track records of success there.
Gary Schellenberg: Yup.
James West: Okay, great. So then what kind of budget does the company have for exploration right now?
Gary Schellenberg: This year’s exploration we would hope to put together a small budget of about a million dollars to essentially groom up both our iron ore and our precious metals properties in Argentina.
James West: Okay. So it’s the model in to generate projects for joint venture or is outright sale to other companies?
Gary Schellenberg: Exactly. That’s been our model over some time that various successes. We have some 13 projects in Argentina all of which three have joint ventured.
James West: Okay, and so across what commodities?
Gary Schellenberg: Well, we have copper, gold, rare earths, iron ore and expanding every word from Alaska right through to South America and Ireland.
James West: Okay. That’s great Gary. I’d like to thank you for joining us today.
Gary Schellenberg: Well, thanks very much.
James West: If you’d like to learn more about TNR Gold, you can visit them online at www.TNRGoldCorp.com. And if you’d like to learn more about companies like TNR Gold at the earliest part of the value creation curve visit www.midasletter.com.
I’m James West and this is Midas Letter Money.
Midas Letter is the Journal of Investment Strategy of the Midas Letter Opportunity Fund, a Luxembourg-based Special Investment Fund that specializes in Canadian-listed emerging companies in the resource sector with a focus on precious metals explorers and miners. James West is the Portfolio and Investment Advisor to the fund.
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