When investors want to get in on the ground floor of the next big gold thing, they might do well to think of Rob McEwen. McEwen is the man who founded GOLDCORP in 1990 and drove redevelopment of the Red Lake gold mine, making it one of the richest in the world. The company he founded with $50 million grew to have a capitalization of over $7 billion.
He stepped away from his executive duties at Goldcorp in February 2005. In July 2005 he assumed the office of chairman and CEO at U.S. GOLD in Denver, Colo., after spending $4 million to buy up 33% of the companys outstanding shares.
Now McEwen has successfully orchestrated U.S. Golds takeover of WHITE KNIGHT RESOURCES, NEVADA PACIFIC GOLD and TONE RESOURCES, all headquartered in Vancouver. The move consolidated U.S. Golds land holdings along the Cortez Trend in Nevada. The fact is that McEwen was a major shareholder in each of the companies bought up by U.S. Gold.
As McEwen has promised to concentrate on the gold potential of the Cortez camp, lets take a look at the mini-bricks he has assembled to create the next great gold mining company.
The Tonkin Springs project belonging to U.S. Gold is located in the middle of the Cortez Trend. The company has set aside $30 million for exploration at this property, which is known to host several small gold deposits in the southern one-third of the property. U.S. Gold exploited Tonkin Springs as a heap leach operation from 1985 to 1988, and the next year installed a 1,500-t/d bioleach oxidation mill to treat refractory ore. The mine was closed in 1990, but minable reserves (in five pits) are estimated to be 9.7 million t grading 2.09 g/t Au or 646,000 oz of contained gold.
White Knight has been active in north-central Nevada since 1993. Fourteen of its 16 projects are in the Cortez Trend. NI 43-101 resource estimates have been made for some of them: Celt, Cottonwood, Fye Canyon, Gold Pick, Patty, McClusky Pass, New Pass and Slaven Canyon, which had an exploration budget of $1.8 million, almost half of White Knights expenditures.
Also in the Cortez Trend lie the Keystone polymetallic and Cornerstone gold projects belonging to Nevada Pacific. Both are the sites of active drill programs. The company has six more gold properties in Nevada, one in Utah and eight in Mexico. The Magistral mine in Sinaloa State, Mexico, is a heap leach operation with roughly 450,000 oz of gold contained in the deposit.
Tone Resources has drilled its South Keystone and Gold Bar North claim groups in the Cortez Trend. It also has a handful of other gold prospects in the Carlin Trend.
I always enjoy the story of a successful mine promoter-turned-operator, and if McEwens past is any indication for the future of his companies, I will be writing about a notable new gold producer in the next few years.