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Nevada growth on the cards for Fiore Gold

With cash flowing handsomely from its Pan gold mine in Nevada, USA, Fiore Gold is looking to grow via the acquisition of other operations in the state, and advancing its Gold Rock asset towards a production decision, president and CEO Tim Warman has told Mining Journal.
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Pan in Nevada, USA

Pan achieved record production last quarter of 12,792 ounces, which Warman thinks is about its steady run rate.

The company is looking to grow to 100,000-150,000 ounces a year of production, where Warman sees Fiore gaining a marketing advantage.

"If you are a US generalist investor you don't have a lot of time to research political risk, so a US producer is going to look pretty attractive," he said.

"We are the biggest domestic 100% US gold producer and we don't produce 50,000oz, so if we can grow to 100,000-150,000oz we would be the go-to gold producer for many investors."

Warman, who in the last gold bull cycle was VP corporate development at Aurelian - which made the massive Fruta del Norte discovery in Ecuador - says the scale may have changed but the excitement is just the same.

"We are getting recognition as good operators and the gold price increase has a pretty significant impact on us," he said.

"We have an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,000-$1,100, so the gold price passing $2,000/oz means the margin expansion is huge. We budgeted 2020 at $1,350/oz and with higher prices we added $8.2 million in cash last quarter, so that will be $20-30 million free cash flow for the year. We put our Gold Rock preliminary economic assessment out less than two months ago and the highest upside case we modelled was $1,700/oz. We didn't push the upside case high enough."

Warman sees many opportunities in Nevada in addition to Gold Rock, which is eight miles from Pan, permitted and has five drills turning as the company works towards a feasibility study. With production pencilled in for 2023, Gold Rock is expected to lift the company's headline output figure to 100,000oz/y from 2023.

Fiore arrived in Nevada after spotting an opportunity to acquire the Midway Gold assets on the Battle Mountain Trend near Eureka out of bankruptcy. Other smaller companies have also seen opportunities in the state with Alio Gold [recently acquired by Argonaut Gold] acquiring the Florida Canyon mine, and Americas Gold and Silver picking up Relief Canyon mine from Pershing Gold, which commenced production in February.

"There are a lot of private companies out there with development projects and even operating mines," Warman said.

"There are a lot of oxide opportunities, particularly at the current gold price. Many oxide mines last produced in the late 1980s when gold was at $300/oz. Even at $1,300/oz, you can a mine deeper and with a higher strip ratio, so a lot of deposits that couldn't hack it in a lower gold price environment can now work.

"There are a lot of smaller and intermediate-size deposits out there. There are a lot more smaller assets in Nevada than big ones so we have more product to choose from. We are absolutely looking at acquiring another asset or two this year," he said.

In the near term, the company expects to release an updated mineral resource estimate for Pan in a month or so, with exploration and resource drilling continuing at both Pan and Gold Rock, where the big push is resource expansion, resource conversion and geotechnical drilling.

The Gold Rock PEA outlined a capital cost of $65 million, which may be reduced as the company believes it can reduce the strip ratio, while higher gold prices make funding the development simpler.

"The amount of bank debt or equity would be a lot smaller but I´m not sure whether we can fund the whole thing with cash flow," Warman said.

Shares in Fiore Gold were trading this week around C$1.42, valuing the company at $138 million.