The merger of Eclipse Gold and Northern Vertex Mining Corp. (TSX.V: NEE) (OTC Nasdaq Intl.: NHVCF) uniquely created a U.S-focused gold producer with district-scale exploration projects in the Walker Lane Trend. Northern Vertex’s Moss mine is currently producing 30-40,000 ounces per year. However, Northern Vertex President Michael G Allen says while the market sees Moss Mine as a producing asset, the new management team says its true value is underpinned by significant exploration. potential. In a wide-ranging interview, Michael talks about the game-changing moment for Moss and the grounds for growth. Part 1 of 2.
Q: Moss is not a well-known asset but it’s been on your list for years. What’s the appeal and why did you transact now?
Michael: The Moss Mine largely been under the radar. It was put into production in 2018 as a relatively small mine. However, the true potential of Moss is greatly misunderstood by the market. I’ve been working in the Walker Lane in Nevada for the last decade and have long had my eye on Moss. At Northern Empire, where we were advancing the Sterling gold project, (now Northern Vertex Chair) Doug Hurst and I looked at Moss and bounced around the idea of merging the two companies before we were acquired by Coeur Mining for $117 million in 2018. At that point, Moss had a very limited footprint where operators could only work on patented pieces of limited the view of the area’s full potential. Very little drilling was done outside this constrained footprint. The key turning point was when permits were received last year, allowing the company to expand its exploration programs from patented claims onto surrounding unpatented claims on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. That was the gamechanger. Once that door was opened to show the true scale of Moss, then we made our formal interest known.
Q: What is the compelling exploration opportunity that’s held your attention for so long?
Michael: When you’re on-site, boots-on-the-ground, it’s right in front of you. With the existing mine plan, production comes from only 1,500 metres of the Moss vein. However, you can literally walk the Moss vein on surface for six kilometres. There are several other parallel veins on the property that at surface show mineralization. So, roughly 8 to 10 kilometres of vein, some protruding above ground with gold grab samples and old mine workings, that have not been delineated. As we expand the resource from the current half million ounces at Moss to something substantially bigger, if you do the math, that half million ounces in a kilometre and a half of vein at Moss versus eight to 10 kilometres outside that has never been drilled, with gold values on most of it. That is a pretty good investment thesis to consider a scenario of a materially larger mining operation based on a much bigger gold resource. We’re certainly targeting a multi-million-ounce gold resource