MacDonald Mines pulls assays linked to former CEO Yarie, echoing Red Pine

MacDonald Mines Exploration is the second Ontario junior to refer alleged assay tampering to the securities regulator. (Source: MacDonald Mines Exploration)

Another Canadian gold junior who had Quentin Yarie as a former CEO is withdrawing its assays on a project because of inconsistencies.

MacDonald Mines Exploration (TSXV: BMK) said this week its drill results on the Scadding project near Sudbury, Ontario, couldn’t be relied upon. Earlier this month, Red Pine Exploration (TSXV: RPX) pulled its assays from the Wawa gold project near Lake Superior and accused Yarie of doctoring the data. He left the company in February.

Yarie served as MacDonald Mines CEO until 2022 after more than a decade there, according to interim MacDonald Mines CEO Mike England.

“Upon Red Pine’s news we decided to do some checks on assays and that’s how we found it,” England told The Northern Miner by email on Friday. “The time frame is consistent when he was CEO.”

England declined to elaborate but said he had alerted the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) about the inconsistencies in the company’s data.

Yarie mum

Yarie hasn’t replied to a few requests for comment via social media from The Northern Miner and his phone message system isn’t set up.

The affected assays were used to support a NI-43-101 technical report in 2019, but there was no resource calculated for the project, MacDonald Mines said in a release on Tuesday. It’s conducting a detailed review and comparison of assays from the Scadding project with the company’s disclosure documents.

“These inconsistencies are limited to the Scadding gold project which is not a flagship project for the company,” MacDonald Mines said. “The Glade and Alwyn properties are unaffected.”

Shares in MacDonald Mines lost a quarter of their value to C$0.03 apiece in Toronto on Tuesday, but have regained it all to trade at C$0.04 at mid-Friday, valuing the company at C$1.5 million. They’ve traded in a 52-week range of C$0.03 to $0.085.

Sole recipient

Red Pine alleged Yarie arranged to be the sole recipient of assays from the lab and changed 532 results out of 98,000 over nearly a decade. Staff, unaware of the tampering, then used the altered figures in project modelling its 2019 resource update. The company said this month the site may hold 12% less than what the resource claims. It’s now planning to revise and update the resource in the third quarter.

Red Pine also referred the tampering allegations to the OSC for review. The commission has declined to comment on any investigation.

This week, Red Pine said it’s sending assay certificates to at least two senior management members and accessing them directly from the lab via a web portal. Drill core samples are now securely transported and labelled, with a revised control program that includes inserting external gold standards and blanks every 20 samples and quarter core duplicates to assess gold variability.

The company reported another strong set of assay results on Wednesday from Wawa.