North Stawell Minerals (ASX:NSM) Presentation, FNN Investor Event, March 2022


North Stawell Minerals Limited (ASX:NSM) CEO Russell Krause presents on the history and background of the Stawell gold zone, the tenement position and exploration results.
 
Well, I’m here to talk about North Stawell Minerals, but before we do that, we’ve got to go through the usual disclaimers given that we’re an ASX listed company so I’ll just give you a second to have a look at the disclaimer, and then we’ll move on to the presentation.

Stawell. North Stawell Minerals. The Stawell gold field located in central Victoria is the fourth largest historic gold field in Victoria. North Stawell is searching for repeats of the Stawell Gold Mine type structure, which is located at the township of Stawell. Township’s actually built around a gold mine. North Stawell Minerals is an ASX listed company. NSM is its ASX code. It’s currently trading around 30 cents with market capitalisation of around about $36 million. Just on the little bit of history on the Stawell region, gold was discovered in Stawell back in 1853. Historic mining in the area ceased in the 1920s, more or less at the end of the war. Western Mining, the Australian icon company, re-established operations at Stawell in 1982. With the downturn in the gold price after that, there’s been a sequence of multiple owners but historic production out of that gold field was just under five million ounces.

Stawell was the fourth largest gold field in Victoria. Back in 2018, the gold mine at Stawell was reopened by a private equity group headed by Arete Capita. Stawell was the flagship deposit… The Stawell is the flagship to gold deposit in the Stawell zone. Until the dramatic rise of Fosterville, Stawell was the highest producing modern gold mine in Victoria. The Stawell itself or North Stawell Minerals, has very much a single focus. We are looking at exploring the ground just to the north of Stawell in the Stawell Corridor. This area is under explored and the reason is largely because, as you travel further north from Stawell, the area goes under a sedimentary Murray Basin cover so it’s been harder for the old time prospectors to actually find gold where it hasn’t been outcropping.

In order to do this, Stawell’s put together a fairly strong board of directors and management team. Firstly, our chairman is Mr. Jerry Ellis, 30 years experience with BHP, 10 years as a director of ANZ Bank, director of numerous other mining companies, a former director, I should say, of numerous other mining companies and exceptionally experienced in the corporate world. One of our non-executive directors, Graham Brown, 40 years’ experience in mining and head of geo… Former head of geosciences and exploration for Anglo America.

Campbell Olsen. Campbell, an engineer, over 20 years experience in private equity and mining operations. Campbell is the CEO and director of Arete Capital Partners. Arete Capital is a private equity group that purchased the Stawell Gold Mine and Arete is a 66… Well, Arete, in that private equity group is a 66% shareholder in North Stawell Minerals, the rest of it being public.

We also have Alistair Waddell, 25 years experience, another geologist and founder and former CEO of GoldQuest Mining Corporation in Canada, and myself, 30 years experience in investment banking and mining. Mr. Kevin Lam, 30 years experience in investment banking and private equity. Kevin’s our chief financial officer and was a senior investment banker at Citibank and was a co-founder of the Singapore government-sponsored venture capital fund. Importantly, we also have Mr. Bill Reid. Mr. Bill Reid is our head of geology or head of exploration. Bill has 25 years plus experience in Australia, Canada, and Africa, and is a very, very competent geologist and Lee Tamplin is our company secretary.

The Stawell Zone itself is a, as I said, located in central Western Victoria. It runs all the way up to the Murray and continues on into New South Wales and all the way down to the Southern coast. Stawell, you can see, is located more or less centrally in the middle and it’s particularly the Western margin of the Stawell Corridor that we are interested in, so that’s the area on this slide that’s highlighted in blue. The darker blue highlights just ahead of the Stawell mine is the North Stawell tenement package so we run just on the Western side of the mine and then all the way up, a further 60K to the north.

Historically, the region’s produced about six million ounces of production and it’s mineralized from the same gold events that in place gold throughout the Victorian gold fields, including Bendigo, Fosterville and Ballarat. The trick with this area though, is it’s 85% under that Murray Basin sedimentary cover, which I mentioned so it makes exploration a little more difficult, but it’s also provides us with the opportunity because the area’s been under explored as a consequence. Interestingly, also the Victorian government, through one of their initiatives called Gold Undercover, estimates there remains 32 million ounces of undiscovered gold in this region so our job is to try and assist them in finding it.

Just to demonstrate the effect of the cover, if we have a look at this slide here, you’ll see where the Stawell Mine is. In the middle there on the left hand side, the big red blob, those other red blobs are actually old historic mines. Some of them are minor working systems at the moment and you can actually see the blue shaded area as it starts to the north is actually where the cover commences. So all of the historic workings are out cropping and were able to be easily fined but as we travel further to the north, the cover or the sedimentary cover comes across the prospects and leaves the area largely under explored and underdeveloped.

However, it’s exactly the same geology all the way through, this has been covered up by a sedimentary layer so our job is to sort of uncover or see through that layer. The cover varies between zero and 60 meters thick, it gets deeper the further to the north we go so around Ashens, it covers approximately 60 meters deep and down just north of Stawell, it’s quite shallow.

So we’re moving on the next slide, the tenement package is as it is there, they’re outlined in the orangey red color just to the north of the Stawell Gold Mine. You can see where the tenement packages comes down and goes just to the south Stawell mine on Western side and runs basically north-northwest up along the Corridor. The important thing there is it’s contiguous. It’s a long 60 kilometers strike, and we have about 504 contiguous kilometers, square kilometers of exploration land.

Just moving onto the next slide. The Stawell Mine itself is the flagship mine in the area. The field, as I said, produced just under five million ounces of which I think it’s now about two and a half million ounces have come from underground mining in that small Stawell mine. You can see on the diagram there, just on the top, right, the orange and red areas are where the all body is laid down on the Magdala Dome, which is the basalt dome, which actually the gold coats if you like. It’s orogenic gold and it gets caught in the folds and traps along the basalt dome when it was originally laid down. You’ll see there’s little blue lines in the top right hand corner, et cetera. That is actually the underground workings of the mine as it currently stands so you can see, if you look, there’s a couple of areas across the top there and to the right so as you can see a large amount of the ore remains in place and intact, has not been mined. Those little blue lines represent about 275 kilometers of tunnels underneath the township of Stawell so it’s a big mine, a big structure and the guys tell me there that they expect to be mining there for a long, long time yet to come.

As we move on, the way that we’ve actually gone about trying to see through that Murray Basin cover is we’ve done a lot of geophysical and geochemical work. We’ve flown airborne gravity over 85% so the area to the north of Stawell, and we’ve had it interpreted by various external, well, we’ve had it interpreted by ourselves initially so our geological team, we’ve shared it with the guys at Stawell, because obviously they’re experienced in the area so their geological teams had a look at it and we’ve used three independent consulting firms. And in doing this, what we’ve actually done is be able to put together a fairly detailed picture of what lies beneath that cover.

It’s taken a lot of work, but what we’ve done is we’ve used all of the historical data sets, we’ve used all of the modern geophysics and geochemistry work. We’ve put it all together, we’ve used all of the historic workings and whole data and the data that we’ve actually gained from both Stawell and ourselves in the drilling programs and we’ve put it all together and in doing so, we’ve identified quite a number of targets where we believe that there is potential for gold. As I said, the mineralisation up and down the corridor is relatively the same, except it’s covered by that cover so our dark art, if you like, is to look through that cover and find where those structures are, where the sweet spots are in the deposit with using all of the various variables so we continue to do that and work on that and develop our models accordingly.

In doing so we’ve developed quite a number targets and as I said, you can see on this slide here, just some of the gold hits which actually confirm the mineralisation up and down the corridor. We’ve used largely aircore just to follow these through so that’s relatively shallow drilling just down over a hundred meters or so, just testing the geochemistry and looking for the indicator metals as well as a gold bearing, as well as gold itself, if you like, in the structures. We’ve identified probably 20 major structures in the corridor, which have the potential to host the Stawell type deposit, plus a couple of low areas, if you like, which could well be pull free intrusive type structures so at the Stawell line, there is obviously the basalt dome, which is primarily what we’re looking for, 2Ks away there is a thing called Wonga and that particular mine was actually a porphyry intrusion. So both sorts are up and down this corridor and we continue to explore for those.

In order to do that, we’ve done a lot of work across. Our drilling program is fairly simple after we do all of the desktop work, if you like, we come through with a… After the desktop work’s done and we’ve identified the zones, we come and test it with an RC, with an aircore rig, I beg your pardon. We’ve done now just over 200 holes, just north of 10,000 meters, but we only have assays returned for two of the six target areas so far. We’ve got a larger rig arriving at the end of the month, probably next week and that RC rig will be doing follow up drilling where we’ve already got targets well and truly defined.

If we just look to the Southern area. So the area immediately around the Stawell Gold Mine and the area that’s not undercover, this is quite important to us for a number of reasons. For one, this is where all the historic mining has occurred and if we actually have a look, you’ll see there that there’s 97,800 ounces at 28 grams a ton mined, we’ve got other hits there where there’s 212,000 ounces mined at 17.3 grams a ton, so on and so forth so it’s quite a gold rich area to the south there. What’s important about that from our perspective is it gives us an advantage of being able to actually weatherproof our tenements. Our tenements are largely through that corridor to the north, that’s farmland, which is primarily wheat and sheep.

We obviously, as soon as it gets wet or the rain comes in the wintertime, we actually have difficulty putting heavy equipment onto that land so the area to the south, which is a little higher, more exposed, gives us all weather access so we’re able to continue our program throughout the year and as you can see, historically there’s some quite high grade hits associated with that end production associated around that area. We’ll continually explore those, particularly as the winter sets in.

Exploration is not something that you can just walk onto people’s property and do. We have exploration leases so we are actually a lease holder. The farmers and the land owners generally own that land. In order for us to go and explore on their property, we need to access agreements and we need to make sure that we leave an ultra light footprint on someone else’s land. In order to do that, we’ve got three full-time staff that work, which we refer to as our community team, which go and speak to all the land holders and the community generally and gain the access agreements and explain exactly what we’re doing so that we can go on and access various farms where and when we need to. As you can see from the center picture, that’s just an aircore rig operating in wheat stubble in that particular picture. We leave a very light footprint, we try not to make any mess, we’re very, very conscious of water management and everything else so the plan is that after we’ve finished, you can’t see where we’ve been.

The big advantage that we have also is that being effectively an associate company, courtesy of our ownership of the Stawell Gold Mines, we’ve got the advantage of having that infrastructure available to us and at our disposal. So the Stawell Mine’s been operating and working for a long time, as I said, it was recently recommissioned back in 2018 and is in full swing and full production as we currently speak. The infrastructure that the mine provides us gives us the ability should we, or when we are successful at finding another multi million deposit in that corridor of actually just doing all of various leasing and government permitting that’s required, but we don’t have to build a plan. We don’t have to do any of that sort of thing. We can treat that ore back through the Stawell Gold Mine. Obviously there’ll be a commercial arrangement associated with that, but enables us to bring North Stawell into production far quicker than most other junior miners in the area and in most junior miners, generally.

We just move on to the, basically the second final slide. My head of geology, Mr. Bill Reid likes to call this particular corridor or refers to it as Victoria’s secret. A little play on words for him anyway. The area though is highly under explored yet it’s in the shadow of a major mine, the head frame of a major mine. The historic hurdle to the exploration has been that Murray Basin cover so people just couldn’t see through that cover and any holes that would’ve been drilled, would have just been just wild cat holes, more based on a hunch rather than modern science. That Stawell type mineralisation appears to respond very well to geophysics and it’s enabled us to peer through that cover, and the covers relatively shallow, to look for those multi million ounce gold deposits.

We have, and are continuing to do a lot of work on the interpretation and we’ve got a very strong drilling campaign in place at the moment. As a matter of fact, we’ve got probably more than a thousand samples currently in the labs waiting for results so I am hoping that Victoria’s secret won’t stay a secret for much longer. Thank you very much for listening and back to you, Matt. Thank you.

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