By Dr. Allen Alper, PhD Economic Geology and Petrology, Columbia University, NYC, USA
James Pettit, President of Aben Resources (TSX-V: ABN): Owns over 23,000 Hectares within the Gold-Rich Golden Triangle in Northwestern BC
Aben Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: ABN) is a Canadian gold exploration company, currently focused on its option to acquire a 100% interest in the Forrest Kerr Gold Project, located in northwestern BC in a region called the Golden Triangle. This region has hosted significant mineral deposits including: Pretium (Brucejack), Eskay Creek, Snip, Galore Creek, Copper Canyon, Schaft Creek, KSM, Granduc, Red Chris and more. Aben has an option to acquire a 100% interest in 3 properties that make up the Forrest Kerr Project. Aben has consolidated three large contiguous land positions, previously held by different owners, into one big project. They will now take all the available old data on the three individual properties and consolidate it into one large regional database. This will allow them to see the big regional scale picture and help identify drill targets. Mr. Pettit is looking forward to the large drilling program during the summer; he has never seen such a target-rich environment.
Forrest Kerr Gold Project, Golden Triangle, BC
Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News interviewing James Pettit, President of Aben Resources, Ltd. Could you tell me a bit about your company? I see a lot of good things are happening. Would you like to fill our readers in?
Mr. James Pettit: Absolutely, what we've done with Aben, because it was sitting idle for a couple of years, is acquired a significant land position in probably the best area in the world to explore for gold. The Company’s share structure is fairly tightly held and is a good structure for the type of project we've entered into. It’s up in Northwestern British Columbia in what's called the Golden Triangle, which includes previous discoveries like Eskay Creek, Snip, Pretium, which is the Bruce Jack property and Galore Creek is in the same area. Historically, it was a very, very prolific area that is now seeing renewed interest and exploration. Thirty-five years ago, it was absolutely the place to be looking for gold.
The reason for the renewed interest in the region is the recent success of, say, Pretium. So now we're going back into that area. I've consolidated three large land positions, all contiguously running in the north, south direction along the Kerr fault. Two of them have been in private hands for a very, very long time. The other one was held by a public company called Kiska. I've consolidated them into one large project under our banner, Aben Resources Ltd.
The reason for that is we can take all the previous data, thirty-five years' worth of data, on the three individual properties, and consolidate them into one large data base, called a compilation study. That way we can look at a larger regional scale compilation study, instead of three individual properties. We will get a better picture because instead of looking for an Eskay Creek style discovery, that kick-started the land rush 30 some-odd-years ago, we can look at it with a different set of eyes and hopefully find something like a Pretium style deposit.
Think of it like a Pretium style, which is a more structurally controlled vein hosted hypo-thermal, epithermal-type system. Incredibly rich! We're going to go through the whole land package again, and look at it that way, and have our guys build a case around that. We managed to do some field work late last summer to establish some drill targets, based on our new exploration model.
Because of the seasonality of the region, we were only able to do that field program before the weather turned against us. By the end of September we were done. That's basically the story so far, but it should be noted that the seasonality also relates to the market activity. The stocks tend to dip through the winter, while nothing is happening and then begin to rally as we get close to the summer. Because of this, I have added another Gold Project in Saskatchewan that can be worked all year round. This one is called the Chico Project and is in an area that Silver Standard has just moved into. They bought the Seabee mine form Claude Resources for $337 million that is just to our North. Our Yukon property, which is also a very good property, is right beside Golden Predator’s gold project called the Three Aces. However, the Forrest Kerr Project that I just consolidated into one big land package is going to get a lot of attention. The market loves a big area play. We had a fairly moderate start this past year because we did a huge data compilation study and some field work for ground-truthing. We will get some boots on the ground this year. The heavy lifting and the big work is going to happen this summer and early fall. This will be a big season.
Dr. Allen Alper: That's excellent!
Mr. James Pettit: Yeah. There are a lot of companies up there that will be drilling around us. There is no available ground up there anymore. It's quite the area!
Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that sounds very exciting.
Mr. James Pettit: Yeah. Our neighbors are basically Colorado, you have Garibaldi, you have Snip, which Ron Netolitzky just got back from Barrick. They just permitted. He's going to be drilling. He discovered Snip, and it's been years since it's had any work done to it, so that's kind of exciting. It's not far from us. We have Eskay Creek. Ron also was in on the discovery of Eskay, just to the south and east of us. Galore Creek is to our north and, as a matter of fact, the road to Galore Creek is now traversing across the northern part of our property, so we've got road access to the northern part of the property. I have road access to the southern part of the property. Big power station is now on the southern part of the property on the Iskut River. So there are big differences from 30 years ago in access and power. Big deal! It's a big deal!
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds great! It's good to have the right project in the right area and have infrastructure, too, that's very good.
Mr. James Pettit: Yeah, I can't overstate the interest in this area right now. We haven't seen an area in play like this in Canada for a very long time. The Yukon got really big and bullish for a while, but this is an old camp that's now going to be revisited, and using all the modern techniques of exploration that they didn't have available to them back then.
That was the early days of geophysics. Now we have access to some amazing applications that we can apply to this. Ronald Netolitzky, M.Sc. Geology, Director, Chairman of the Board of Aben Resources is also in the discovery of Eskay Creek as well as Snip. He's a wealth of knowledge, and he's a very keen guy on geophysics and geochemistry. It's still about collecting samples following sediment stream sampling, following the pathfinder elements to the source. You can overlay all that on some geophysical techniques that weren't available back then. It's just the right time. There are a lot of people going back in there now.
Dr. Allen Alper: That's great to have such a knowledgeable chairman, a geologist, a discoverer, and with particular knowledge of that area. That's excellent!
Mr. James Pettit: Absolutely! After assembling this land package, we need fellas that have been around for a very long time and have a wealth of knowledge in this area so I put people like Mike Roberts and Henry Awmack on an advisory committee. They have a lot of the underlying NSR's here. They've held the land for decades, and they've done a lot of work up in this area for their whole lives; so it's good to have not only our own board, with Ron Netolitzky and Timothy Termuende, which are the experts. But having access to these other fellas too is a real bonus. When we compiled all the data I sequestered everybody in a board room and worked on the prioritization of targets.
Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that sounds great. Sounds like you're doing all the right things, a strong group there. Could you tell me a little bit more about your background, Jim?
Mr. James Pettit: My background is more in the finance side, the corporate management side of things. I probably have enough of a geology background from university to get me in trouble, but I'm not the expert there. I'm strictly on the financier side, corporate governance. Running the public company is a full-time occupation in itself, and the geologists are the guys I want to keep out in the field. As long as we have the money to pay for these guys, they're the ones that are going to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I ran a company called Bayfield Ventures for several years. I eventually sold it to New Gold just as the market was petering out, about three years ago. I managed to sell before the market completely collapsed, so that was a good move. That was the Rainy River property in Northwestern Ontario.
Dr. Allen Alper: Well, sounds like your timing was good on that one.
Mr. James Pettit: Well, it worked out for the better. I knew the market was going down. There wasn't anything you could do to stop it, so I got them to do an all stock deal with us. That gave the shareholders stock in a really good mid-tier gold producer, a really good one. Rather than having the Bayfield stock, since it was a friendly take-over, all the shareholders ended up with New Gold shares. I knew when the market comes back, the majors and the good mid-tier gold companies will come back first.
Dr. Allen Alper: Right.
Mr. James Pettit: They have, and they have done really well.
Dr. Allen Alper: That’s great. Could you tell me the primary reasons high-net-worth investors should invest in your company?
Mr. James Pettit: I was listening to the news this morning, BNN up here in Canada. They had an expert there, Brent Cook, who's an excellent geologist, internationally known, sort of a hired gun for a lot of guys who are looking to get into this space. We look to him for advice, and he was saying that right now you've got a serious lack of replacement in the gold sector.
There haven't been any big discoveries. All they're doing is depleting existing reserves. He's now looking at the juniors, the grassroots guys, the explorationists that don't have a deposit yet, but they're looking. That's where he suggests deploying capital. I can see in the last year, the amount of funds that are being deployed into this space. Right now, the gold sector, especially, is absolutely phenomenal. I've never seen a market come back this fast. I've seen them disappear really fast, but generally they build over a period of time. Well, January 1, 2016 was when the lights came on for gold, with all the uncertainty in the world, the complex global problems, governments printing money everywhere, wars breaking out in unexpected places, you've got all kinds of things going on and now you have negative interest rates creeping up, popping up around the world.
Dr. Allen Alper: Uh-huh.
Mr. James Pettit: That's not good, but it's good for gold. Britain leaving the EU was great for gold. That's when gold really broke out; and depending on who you talk to, it's going a lot higher. It's a good space to be in. I know a lot of the big institutional guys that I talk to, who are in the investing side of the business, either as private wealth or private equity groups, are looking at gold as a currency right now, rather than a commodity. Generally it's an asset class that you would buy at certain times, right. Now it's considered more of a currency, so buy it like one, because you're not going to make any money on a dollar. Nobody's making any money on interest.
Dr. Allen Alper: Right.
Mr. James Pettit: It's a great store in wealth, and right now it's increasing in value.
Dr. Allen Alper: Yes, I interviewed Mr. Rob McEwen yesterday.
Mr. James Pettit: Oh, did you, yeah.
Dr. Allen Alper: Yeah, and he was very bullish on what's happening in gold.
Mr. James Pettit: That's right, yeah. He was at the Sprott Conference in Vancouver.
Dr. Allen Alper: Right. I've interviewed ten people from the Sprott Conference. Metals News also promotes the Sprott Conference.
Mr. James Pettit: Yeah.
Dr. Allen Alper: Is there anything else you'd like to add, Jim?
Mr. James Pettit: I look at this project as a longer-term project. It's going to be a few years. The way I've set up the assembly of all the land, it's a four-year option agreement for the whole thing. I could probably have that completely done and exercised in two years, but it's a four-year deal. I look at it as a bit of a longer-term outlook. And they're relatively short seasons up there because it's quite a ways north and mountainous. So you do have April, May, June, July, August, and September. That's when you have to get in there and get working. We have permit applications in place right now and we should be in there by late May, early June.
We'll have a big program this year. I think the amount of work that's been done on these properties and going through it all and assessing it, it is such a rich area. I've never seen anything like it. I just got out of the board room with two of my geologists, and they're just shaking their head. There's so much information available on the properties here from work done over the years and up to this point no one has tied it all together. There have been thousands of soil and rock samples as well as numerous drill holes on the property, but it was done randomly years ago. It was just waiting for someone to tie it all together.
They had good results, but they didn't do anything with it because they were looking for a different style deposit. So they had their blinders on, but all the data is there. There are some really great holes. They're so old that you've got to re-drill some of that, right. Then you'll have success. There are lots of super high-grade veins. We want to find an environment where those are continuous.
Dr. Allen Alper: That's great.
Mr. James Pettit: Yeah, it is. I've never seen such a target-rich environment and the new infrastructure is going to make a huge difference in the discovery potential going forward.
Dr. Allen Alper: Very good.
Mr. James Pettit: Thank you.
Aben Resources Ltd.
Suite 1610 - 777 Dunsmuir Street
Canada V7Y 1K4
For investor questions please contact: Don Myers, Corporate Communications
Telephone: (604) 687-3376
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