Project of the Week: Oakes Gold Project, Canada

Riverside Resources (TSXv : RRI – OTC : RVSDF) are a prospect generation based company with projects in Mexico and Canada exploring for gold, silver and copper. In recent news they have extended their JV with BHP exploring for copper in Mexico into the second year, which has gently bumped their share price and is hopefully a promising sign. Today, I’ll be talking about their new 100% owned project, Oakes.

The Oakes property is just north of Longlac, Ontario (Fig. 1) and is being explored for shear-hosted orogenic gold. My favourite! Based in one of the naturally wealthiest areas of the world the property has a history dating back about 70 years and is surrounded by excellent infrastructure, a excellently skilled workforce, the mining finance capital of the world and the Beardmore-Geraldton Greenstone Belt that has supplied a hearty 4.1 million oz of gold in the past 100 years.

Figure 1. Map of the Oakes area in the Geraldton-Beardmore Greenstone Gold Belt.
Figure 1. Map of the Oakes area in the Geraldton-Beardmore Greenstone Gold Belt.

Let’s talk geology.

Early exploration data includes some IP and EM geophysics, geochemical sampling, and several small drill programs. Drill holes are non-compliant by modern standards and some lack spatial references making the derived information dubious. From the late 1900s to the present-day data quality is significantly better and has given Riverside some gumption to get started with. Historic gold assays are generally low. Although in 2010 Golden Chalice, the last owners, returned some slightly promising gold assays and even a few grains of the investor conference booth favourite – visible gold.

Riverside’s own exploration so far has been a fact-checking mission, using low cost sampling of outcrop and pre-existing trenches. Some exciting gold grades (19.7, 31.9 and 6.9g/t) were returned from the latter where Golden Chalice reported much lower grades seemingly because of their choice of analytical techniques. Riverside have thus far delineated a primary drill target from these trench assays (Fig. 2) with a 600m strike length and potential extension of 2.5km as well as 2 other targets.

Figure 2. Geological cross section of Riverside’s priority drill target, ‘HG target’, below trench 1 dug by Golden Chalice.
Figure 2. Geological cross section of Riverside’s priority drill target, ‘HG target’, below trench 1 dug by Golden Chalice.

Throughout my digging there is one key thing about Riverside that has attracted me personally and that is their scrupulous and thorough approach. Their attempts to locate lost drill holes, constrain their own geological understanding, re-sample old trenches and generally take existing data with a pinch of halite speaks to me of a healthily sceptical and careful company.

Rocks aside (sadly), Oakes has several advantages as a project. If you are considering risk on investment, with respect to Oakes specifically you wouldn’t have a whole lot to consider. Ontario is one of the top 10 regions for exploration spending and is the mining finance capital of the world giving convenient access to capital. Geopolitical stability, operational environment, and personnel experience all contribute to the ‘safety’ of the project.

The Oakes license area does however neighbour a wetland conservation area, designated to protect the nesting habitats of migratory birds, to the east where their primary drill target lies. Having not conducted any form of environmental assessment yet, as a personal preference I would resist investment until that had been clearly considered with respect to further exploration and drilling, and potential mine development.

Of course, investing in Oakes means putting your money in the company as a whole. Sitting currently with a huge stack of cash in the bank and a strategic JV with BHP for copper exploration in Mexico, Riverside could be set to weather the storm of economic repercussions from Covid-19 quite safely. It is an example of some long-term prudent financial management, a good sign by all accounts.

Whether or not Riverside will spend their own pocket money on future exploration at Oakes or whether they intend to raise some capital remains to be seen. The latter may prove tricky given the Covid-19 pandemic and a general trend of increasing reluctance to invest in the junior exploration sector. One saving grace here is their portfolio being mostly gold and silver. Prices are strong from the pandemic and several years of increased global geopolitical tensions from a divestment in diplomacy by a few key world leaders (No need to name names, we all know who I’m talking about).

That’s all for now.

References

All information on Riverside Resources and their Oakes project has been taken from their June 2020 technical report and their website.