Ridgeline Minerals Corp (CVE: RDG) (OTCQB: RDGMF) is not your average exploration story.
The young gold-silver explorer has four equally-strong, early-stage assets in the prolific Carlin and Battle Mountain-Eureka Trends of Nevada, where it counts among its neighbours’ big names like Nevada Gold Mines (a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont) and Kinross Gold.
With a new shallow-oxide, silver-gold discovery at its Selena property and one of the largest land packages controlled by a junior in the state at 125 square kilometres, Ridgeline’s Carlin-East, Bell Creek, Selena, and Swift properties each hold the potential for a new discovery.
READ: Ridgeline Minerals announces the completion of Phase I drilling at the Swift gold project in Nevada
A junior company with one or two projects in its arsenal is often enough of a handful. Is there a risk of taking on too much at once? Not at all, Ridgeline’s CEO Chad Peters emphatically told Proactive.
“A lot of companies have a single flagship asset that makes for a simple story to tell investors. Trouble is, that’s putting all of your eggs in one basket,” Peters said. “You’d better be confident that you have a winner, but statistically, you won’t – that’s exploration in a nutshell and the reason we have multiple projects.”
Ridgeline took a different approach when it went about acquiring ground and looked at dozens of exploration prospects before zeroing in on three under-explored land positions on the Carlin and Battle Mountain-Eureka trends that it felt had discovery potential. Ridgeline lay claim to Carlin-East, a 35-square kilometre property located three kilometres north, and directly on-strike, of the Nevada Gold Mines-owned Leeville mine; and Selena, a 35-square kilometre shallow-oxide prospect just 12 kilometres southeast of the Kinross-owned Bald Mountain open-pit mine, which produces 150,000 ounces of the yellow metal annually.
Also in its arsenal: Swift, an even larger land package at 50 square kilometres where the company is targeting a high-grade underground gold system only 7 kilometres down-trend of the Nevada Gold Mines-owned Pipeline deposit. After its IPO in August 2020, the company split Carlin-East into two projects: Carlin-East and Bell Creek, the latter being a high-grade underground gold target directly adjacent to the Nevada Gold Mines-owned Ren, Meikle and Rodeo deposits.
The plan is to collect as much low-cost data as it can on the projects followed by phased drilling programs to define the larger potential of each project. A discovery has already been made at Selena (more on that later), but there are still high-priority targets left to be tested at the other three properties before deciding which one could become a company-maker.
Each project is its own distinct story, according to Peters. “What really drew me to them is that they were all orphaned projects within world-class mining districts, having previously been owned by either Newmont or Barrick, and they didn’t see a lot of exploration. We are approaching these as core land positions on the biggest gold trends in Nevada that haven’t seen true exploration in 30 years – and some of these are deep targets with serious potential.”
The depths of the targets range between surface to 900 metres, from shallow oxide at Selena all the way to deep refractory at Carlin-East, according to Peters.
As a junior company, the challenge is to build shareholder value at the drill bit without spending money hand over fist to make a discovery. Ridgeline may have found the answer: systematic, data-driven exploration, just like was done 30 years ago, but using new technology and a strategic drilling contract provided by the company’s co-founder to unlock potential. The strategic drilling contract is unique and a competitive advantage for Ridgeline in that it ensures guaranteed access to drill rigs and more importantly, offers significantly discounted drill rates, meaning the company can focus more investor dollars into the ground early to increase the odds of making a discovery.
So far, the approach has been successful. Selena was the focus for drilling prior to the end of 2020, and results look promising. In December, the company announced a shallow oxide, silver-gold discovery at the project, highlighted by 36.6 meters (m) grading 67.1 grams per ton (g/t) silver and 0.3 g/t gold. Assays received to date suggest the Selena project is host to an oxidized, silver-enriched, Carlin-Type gold system with a silver-to-gold ratio typically exceeding 100 to 1. Although early days, these silver grades are roughly three times higher than the largest operating open-pit silver mine in Nevada.
Still to come are the remaining assay results from the 2020 drill programs at Swift and Selena. The company also anticipates drill results from Nevada Gold Mines' recent drill program at its Ren project, which tested the Sinkhole Breccia target located approximately 250 metres west of Ridgeline’s Bell Creek project boundary.
Funded for discovery
Ridgeline is well funded to continue exploring with around C$3.5 million in the kitty. The team anticipates a large drill program in 2021 and is currently planning out the next phases of drilling across its portfolio.
One thing is certain – the company is hungry to make a discovery. Management owns 17% of the stock and Peters, who started the company from his garage with a friend who also happens to own a drilling company, is the largest individual shareholder. In its short lifespan, Ridgeline has managed to raise $10 million, take the company public and double its land position, all the while in a market that has not been overly kind to exploration stories.
Peters and the team, who collectively have discovered more than 20 million ounces of gold over their careers, will hold steady to its data-driven approach – one that the CEO acknowledges may not be sexy to investors, but does lead to discovery.
“You don’t make discoveries by drilling a geophysical anomaly and hoping for the best,” Peters said. “There’s all kinds of companies that do it, but we’re actually trying to build something, which means doing things the right way from the ground up. It takes time, but I think it’s going to pay off.”
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