Tombill Mines (TSX-V:TBLL) is a small gold mining exploration opportunity which has recently started its phase one exploration at what constitutes a 100% controlled, royalty-free property, sitting within the Geraldton Gold Camp.
Tombill Mines is listed in Canada with a market cap of C$36m. Shares in the company saw considerable interest in December, although the price has ebbed slightly since then as the market has awaited further news on the exploration front.
Who are Tombill Mines?
Tombill owns various royalty-free mineral exploration and past-producing gold properties in the Geraldton and Beardmore Camp area in Ontario. It has 74 claims, with 60 owned, five leased and nine where it owns the mineral rights. The Tombill Main Group property comprises 58 claims and these were originally staked in the first Geraldton Gold Rush in the 1930s by Tom Johnson and his brother Bill (hence the name).
The miner has sunk a diamond drill hole to 1219m and has confirmed the drill core is being logged and sampled as of last week. A wedge daughter hole was started at a downhole depth of 500m and is responding well with directional wedging. Tombill said that this kind of directional wedging has worked well at the Hardrock deposit which is immediately east of the Tombill main group.
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The phase one drill program is comprised of a 15 drill hole campaign in totality, which is accessing around 16,000 metres. The deep drilling program is focused on delineating extension and continuity from the neighbouring Hardrock Project’s east to west resource plunge. A second phase is planned with a 63 drill hole campaign that will cover around 70,000 metres. This program is contingent on the success of the phase one drilling.
Search for open pittable gold resources
Tombill is also stressing the importance of a near surface program because past producers and explorers did not emphasise the search for open-pittable low grade gold resources. This was a strategy that proved successful at the neighbouring Hardrock property, which has seen the discovery of 5.5m oz of proven and probable reserves, 2.6m oz of measured and indicated resources, and 3.4m oz of inferred resources.
Construction of an open pit mine at the neighbouring Hardrock site by Equinox Gold is expected to begin during the second half of this year. Equinox Gold acquired all of Premier Gold Mines’ major mine and exploration properties in north-western Ontario in Q4 last year. Premier was one of the 50% JV partners in Greenstone Gold Mines which was overseeing the development of the Hardrock project along a northern stretch of Canada’s Highway 11.
That deal seems to have resolved what was a long running legal battle over the Hardrock Project which neighbours the Tombill one.
Last month Tombill announced it was closing a C$2m private placement after it was full subscribed. Its originally announced private placement was over-subscribed by C$500m. Upon closing, Crescat Portfolio Management controls over 6.1% of the outstanding common shares of the company with a pre-emptive right to participate in future offerings of Tombill in order to maintain the lower of its percentage ownership at the time of such offering, or 4%.