A hunting trip in 1993 led to Louis Doyle finding coarse placer gold at the end of a culvert. The result was an end to a career in the mutual fund business and the formation of Barker Minerals, of which he is now President and CEO.
The Company operates in the Cariboo Gold District of East Central British Columbia, an area that has yielded 3.7 million ounces of gold. And Barker has, as Louis Doyle explains, made significant progress: “We’ve advanced our projects through to the exploration process stage to where we now have twenty-six 100% owned projects comprised of 370,000 acres, with eight at the exploration drill stage with multiple targets identified on each.
The area that we are exploring has recently been noticed by the Canadian Federal Government and a number of fully funded geophysical airborne surveys of the region have been undertaken and the findings released validate and enhance the Company’s results to date. Geological scientific studies along with Barker’s work also indicate that the North American cratonic blocks may be further west in our area of British Columbia than previously thought and could potentially host diamonds. Subduction zone related geological environments often host a variety of minerals and different deposit types which include gold, platinum, base and precious metal rich volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits, as well as diamond deposits. Typically some of these deposit types, as has been identified on some of Barker’s projects, are enriched in rare earth metals which can be extracted as byproducts.
“Most of today’s major mining areas are centered in and around former subduction zone environments,” comments Louis. “To recognize that fact at an early stage really opens up huge economic possibilities for the region and all of British Columbia.”
The Company has made three major discoveries: one is of gold on its Kangaroo Gold project, another is the Frank Creek VMS project, where significant VMS bedrock mineralization has been confirmed and the most recent discovery is that of diamond indicators in bedrock on its Tasse project. “We’re at the stage of exploration drilling now,” says Louis. “where we anticipate the next phase of drilling at both Kangaroo and Frank Creek could begin proving up significant large economic ore bodies. Success at this stage should create significant interest by the majors who have visited the property as well as the investment community as a whole.”
“The economic potential has been supported by visits from the Chinese government, Japanese government and a number of major mining companies over the past couple of years. There has been ongoing communication with a number of these major entities and once our discoveries begin to be proven out, it is expected that with current resource supply and demand conditions in the world that one or more of these entities would be possible candidates as a partner to develop such projects.”
At that point, Barker will be considering a variety of methods to move the projects forward. Options are open and the Company is structured in such a way that it can make the right choice when it needs to. Louis explains: “ the next drill program, depending on the results, could create a bidding war for one of our projects. Our Company is not for sale but we would consider joint venture partnerships on a project by project basis as we advance through the exploration and discovery process.
“Good deals with major(s) on a variety of projects is where we eventually want to go. The Chinese and Japanese governments have visited the properties and have expressed serious interest in possible partnership opportunities. A regional alliance type partnership is a possibility that could morph into individual joint ventures as the exploration alliance moves forward successfully.”
Cash rich juniors, that are serious about exploring and finding economic deposits, may be considered as partners on some secondary projects as the region heats up like it is expected to.
Another possibility is that the Company be reorganized at some stage to focus on specific minerals, as Louis confirms: “As financing conditions permit one of the strategies we are considering are spin-out companies with IPO’s on Gold, VMS, and possibly a diamond company associated with platinum.”
Whichever way it goes, Barker Minerals currently offers a unique investment opportunity for qualified resource based investors. One particular reason, according to Louis, is that it isn’t really known to investors: “We’ve raised our funds privately from individuals. So we don’t have brokerages out there with analysts who are recommending buying Barker. We’re not recognized within the investment community so we believe our share price is currently undervalued. We anticipate that, once the investment community catches up to what the mining community is aware of, our share price will correct. We have a very tightly held stock and we anticipate that with success in the next stage the share price could drift up pretty quickly.”
In fact, the management currently controls 35-40% of the Company. Add in some insiders, close friends and associates, and this jumps up to more like 75%. This fits in with a Company that has, according to Vice President Robert Kuhl, a tightly integrated team: “We have a very limited staff, as it is with most small start-up companies. It has served us well in the downturn because we haven’t had to lay off any people. We try to overlap as much as we can and take responsibility for a variety of duties. We have an excellent staff and we work well together, with a consistent group of Company representatives volunteering their time at the numerous shows we attend.” Management and insiders have been steady buyers of the Company’s shares all the way down from its former high of $.50 before the significant junior sector downturn of the past 2 years.
Robert believes the Company’s diversity is an attraction to investors because it gives more chances of success, it mitigates the risk: “We don’t have to hit it on the first attempt as there are many opportunities for a discovery. Being so diversified across many metals and minerals creates a prime opportunity for people to get involved in our Company. In our unpredictable world, this diversity affords us the flexibility to operate in almost any economic environment.” A big attraction of the Company’s properties is that, unlike many remote mining sites, the area has excellent access and infrastructure. Louis says: “There is power into the area with many past, current and future logging roads — they’ve been logging for the past 30-40 years.”
The timing of the next drill programs are anticipated to begin as soon as financing is arranged. Louis comments: “If the next phases in our drill program are successful, we anticipate a rise in our share price at which time if desired we would raise significant funds to go in and do $5.0 million to $10 million, or more, per year programs. Our Vice President of Exploration, Rein Turna, has completed five NI43-101 Reports with over $30 million of recommended exploration on only 5 projects. Most of this capital is recommended for drilling.”
Louis concludes: “With many of today’s mining companies merging, there are not as many potential partners at the major level. That means there’s a lot more mining company talent at the major company level who are out of work, and if Barker chooses to build its own mining Company, the people should be available to fill the roles as the Company morphs into a major entity itself. I believe that our mineral tenure holdings have the potential to create and sustain a new Canadian major mining entity similar to many other important VMS mining districts around the world.”
For more information:
Corporate Headquarters: Barker Minerals Ltd.
Address: 8384 Toombs Drive
Prince George, BC
Canada V2K 5A3