Transition Metals (TSX.V:XTM) CEO Scott McLean gave an interview to MINING.com following the company’s unveiling of promising new gold assay results for its properties in the Abitibi Greenstone belt.
The Toronto-listed gold and copper miner has extensive gold properties in the Abitibi region of Ontario, as well as properties in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
MINING.com: Could you provide our readers with some insight into your company’s experience in the Abitibi region?
Scott McLean: We’ve got a fair bit of experience in the Abitibi. We’ve gone in and focused in on areas that have been a little bit under explored. We have come up with some new concepts that we are following up from a geological perspective, which are actually turning out to be quite rewarding with new discoveries.
The most significant one is our Haultain project. In 2010 we started exploring this based on one grab sample and now have opened up a large region where we are getting significant gold mineralization.
We continue to put a number of projects together, and we have got a nice sort of cache of high-grade early-stage gold projects assembled all requiring a lot of attention going forward.
MINING.com: What would be the expected time frame for the conversion of some of these assay results into productive projects?
Scott McLean: I think we are still a little ways off. These are all starting as reasonable early stage projects. The most advanced in the Abitibi we have is the Haultain project, and it’s got 21 holes into it and 10 trenches.
It requires a fair bit of investment – another few million dollars to lift it up from exploration type project to something we might actually be able to put together. So they are a long way away from production, but they are quite promising in that they will come together over the next year or two, over the next few years.
MINING.com: Could you shed some light on any potential joint venture partners for advancing these gold projects?
Scott McLean: Out of the seven projects we have in the Abitibi, two of them have been joint ventured out. Our Pipestone property was joint-ventured out to a company called Gowest Gold (TSX.V:GWA) listed on the TSX.
Another project, the Jumping Moose Project has been joint-ventured off to a company called Abalore which is a private company that is looking to use that project to take them into the public forum.
The other projects have accrued a lot of interest from other people. We are talking to two or three different companies particularly with respect to Haultain and our West Matachewan project and I can’t disclose who those are right now. We are hopeful that we will be able to put together a business arrangement with them within the coming weeks.
MINING.com: Your company website also mentions you have gold and copper properties in British Columbia?
Scott McLean: Probably one of the more exciting things we have done recently is acquire the Janice Lake Sedimentary Hosted Copper Project in Northern Saskatchewan. This is a project that has been worked historically by some different companies and has some exciting mineralization.
That property hosts about 20 different copper zones that have some drilling associated with them, and the drilling returns great thicknesses of mineralization, for example one hole returned almost .8% copper, .77% copper, over 30 meters or 33 meters.
We are getting a lot of intersections from the historic data like this. So it's a big scale kind of copper project very conducive to a major copper partner, and probably one of the more exciting things we have on hand right now.
Both of our flagship projects – the Haultain gold project in the Abitibi and the Janice Lake copper project in Northern Saskatchewan, offer very significant grades, and ore grade type material over minable width right at the surface.
MINING.com: The CEO of Gold Fields Nick Holland recently said at the Denver Gold Forum that many gold miners were failing to generate significant profits despite rises in bullion prices because operating costs have been rising in tandem. How has this impacted Transition Metals’ operations?
Scott McLean: He is much more qualified to make that comment then I am. I understand prices are going up, costs are going up and that is affecting the profitability of companies but this is a time where we are seeing very high gold prices and we are anticipating those gold prices to continue to rise. I think that a lot of the mid-tier and major companies will be returning good incomes and profits over the coming years. That affects us in a way in that we are looking for partners that have money.
MINING.com: So you are quite optimistic about the short-term gold spot prices?
Scott McLean: Yes I am. I think that gold still is a currency hedge. I do still see economic issues out there, both in Europe and the US. Maybe we will see a window of improved economic performance around the presidential campaign. But overall I think that investors will be happy having a position in gold to hedge their risk against the economies.