Chris Thompson on the newest entrant into Idaho’s gold rush, Freeman Gold
Well known for its potatoes and lentils, Idaho’s official nickname is the “Gem State” and its gold rush started way back in 1860 when the shiny metal was found along the Canal Gulch.
Today, mining in Idaho is a billion-dollar industry and the state continues to rank high in the Investment Attractiveness Index from the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies.
This year’s gold rush in Idaho is financings with mining companies raising over $200 million, including Integra Resources (TSXV: ITR | NYSE: ITRG) raising US$23 million to fund exploration and a pre-feasibility study at the DeLamar Project, and Midas Gold completing a US$35.0 million financing for permitting and a feasibility study at the Stibnite Gold Project.
Idaho’s Next Gold Company – Freeman Gold
The newest entrant into Idaho’s gold rush is Freeman Gold Corp. (CSE: FMAN | OTC: FMANF) but it’s working on a project with a long past and plenty of potential.
Freeman completed its IPO in November 2019 but then raised an additional $1.2 million in December to help fund the acquisition of the Lemhi Gold Project.
Located near Salmon, Idaho, the Lemhi Gold Project has been explored since the 1980s with over 355 drill holes completed. However, the property had not seen any work since 2012 when low gold prices mothballed the project.
Historical Oxide Resource
Previous drilling on the project delineated gold mineralization covering an area roughly 600 metres by 400 metres and historical gold resource estimates pegged the deposit anywhere from 500,000 to over 1 million ounces of gold.
Previous historical highlight drill holes included 1.80 grams per tonne (“gpt”) gold (“Au”) over 193 metres, 3.94 gpt Au over 56 metres, and 1.81 gpt Au over 180 metres.
The mineralization consists of shallow, near-surface, primarily oxide-gold, and still remains open at depth and along strike. The oxide mineralization enables standard, low-cost heap leach processing that can contribute substantially to the economic viability of the project.
Drilling Towards a Maiden NI 43-101 Resource
Freeman is currently executing on an exploration program consisting of 5,000 metres of drilling, metallurgical test work, and extensive groundwork designed to:
- Twin a portion of historical drill holes to confirm historical data and allow the Company to use the historical drill holes in a maiden NI 43-101 resource estimate.
- Infill drilling within the known mineralized orebody to increase the resource and shift Inferred Resource ounces into the Measure & Indicated category.
- Complete groundwork to identify possible high-grade feeder zones and satellite deposits along strike.
Financings Fill the Treasury
After raising $1.49 million in May 2020, Freeman closed a bought-deal financing of $10.35 million in July to fund its exploration at Lemhi.
In addition, Yamana Gold Inc. (TSX: YRI | NYSE: AUY) came in as a strategic investor in September 2020 when Freeman acquired and extinguished a back-in right from Yamana in consideration for Freeman shares representing 5% of the Company.
New Management with Deal Making and M&A Experience
In May, Freeman announced the appointment of Will Randall as President and Chief Executive Officer and Director. Mr. Randall is a professional geologist with over 20 years of experience in the mining and mineral exploration industry. He has been involved in raising over $200 million and the successful development of several mining projects, including joint ventures with major mining companies.
Then in October, Freeman’s Board of Directors appointed Bassam Moubarak as Chief Financial Officer and Director, and Paul Matysek joined the Strategic Advisory Board. They both have extensive experience in the mining industry and have been involved in multiple companies that have been successfully developed and then sold.
Most recently, Mr. Matysek was Executive Chairman of Lithium X Energy, which was sold to Nextview New Energy Lion Hong Kong Limited for $265 million and he was President and CEO of Goldrock Mines Corp., which sold to Fortuna Silver Mines for over $100 million. Mr. Moubarak was CFO of Lithium X Energy Corp. and Goldrock Mines Corp. during both of the aforementioned transactions.
The Company plans to complete the drill program by the end of November and release a maiden NI 43-101 resource estimate before year-end.
Although drill results have not been released, Freeman confirmed gold mineralization was visible from the first 3,000 metres of drilling, and all holes intersected mineralization, supporting Freeman’s geological model.
With over 3000 hectares (7,515 acres) of land, the Lemhi Gold Project has plenty of opportunity for resource growth from both brownfield and greenfield exploration.