Michael Griffiths has literally been around the world chasing money for his Rossland gold project.
And it hasn’t been easy.
“As you are aware, the world’s financial markets are a little bit nervous about all that’s going on, not only in the States but now in France and the U.K.,” says Griffiths, the president and CEO of Currie Rose Resources.
“It will affect us. All exploration companies are restricted by what they can raise, and I know all other companies working in the region are in the same boat. We live and breathe on the backs of our investors and how they see the markets playing out. And external factors are particularly unusual at the moment.”
The Rossland News caught up with Griffiths from his home in Perth, Australia, on the country’s west coast. It’s almost summer there, which also has people looking for money working against a headwind.
“There is not a lot of excitement out there. This time of year, people tend to go to sleep I think,” he says. “Time to put their feet up and have a hot glühwein and help the winter come in — or down here have a cold beer and help the summer come in.”
You can’t blame investors for looking for a bit of solace in drink, considering the way the world is going.
“What is going on with the trade war between the U.S. and China, plus Brexit, plus other key things going on in the world at the moment, there’s a lot of uncertainty, which then causes investors to hang onto their money, hoping that things are going to get better,” says Griffiths.
“But the contrarian view is that [situation] generally causes people to switch to gold as an asset or way of working your way through. That’s why we’re in the gold business, it’s one of the better commodities to look for, for junior explorers.”
It’s never easy to get any mining project going, so Currie Rose’s travails are neither unusual nor unexpected.
“I would have liked to be a bit further down the track by now, in respect to the work we are doing,” he says. “We are probably a little bit delayed, but it is always difficult when you start off somewhere new.”
Currie Rose Resources, a 45-year-old mining company with headquarters in Toronto, announced its ambitious exploration project last spring. Picking up a patchwork quilt of old mining properties collected by local geologist Dan Wherle, the company hopes to find commercial levels of gold reserves in the long-abandoned claims.
After years of inactivity in Rossland, the mining company is the first in a long time to open an office downtown.
“A lot of the preliminary organization of the company is now complete,” says Griffiths. “We have an office in the old Velvet Hotel, on Columbia Avenue, just as you turn the corner into Rossland.
“Its location is not only ideal but it’s also the way we can actually operate with a front door and back door to get our drill cores in and logged in a warm, well-lit place, so that’s ideal for that.”
But there’s still plenty of paperwork to do. The company’s waiting for its provincial government permits to explore in the area, and that requires ensuring a lot of different groups and people are brought into the loop of what’s going on.
“We clearly want to make sure we have engaged with every interest group that there needs to be engagement with,” he says. “Not only the city of Rossland itself, but private land we have to cross or sit on, we have to make sure they are well informed, and that also includes engagement with First Nations groups.”
Griffiths says it’s important for Currie Rose to make sure everyone is fully informed, “so there’s no innuendo or surprises coming along that either party are aware of.”
The company had hoped to have exploration drilling start in the fall. That’s been delayed while they await their final permits, though the company has already hired a local contractor to do the work.
Making it a bit easier for Currie Rose — and what drew them to the area in the first place— is the extant knowledge of the ore bodies from the area’s mining history.
“The advantage we have, the old mine — which we don’t have tenure on— is like a window into a house. We can see what’s going on and use that information effectively to work on areas we have identified as extensions to the old mining area, which means we don’t have to do some things like geo-chemical sampling. It’s all been done.”
“The amount of information in the museum and online is second to none,” he adds. “And the quality of information is second to none. It’s a real treasure trove of history which we are certainly going to be the user of.”
Griffiths says if all goes well, the company plans to be fairly active in 2019, but still low-key. He says they’ll be successful if their work goes unnoticed.
“That’s the way we’d like to be, in the background, not causing too much of a fuss,” he says.
“While we will be busy, it’s not likely to have any real impact on people, with volumes of people coming through. We don’t see that as necessary at all at this point.”