Ron Coombes, President and CEO, Providence Gold Mines Inc. (TSXV: PHD, US-OTCQB: PRRVF, FRANKFURT: 7RH1-F) Discusses Exploring, on the Eastern Belt of the “Mother Lode” District, Near a Resource-Friendly Community of Sonora, California
By Dr. Allen Alper, PhD Economic Geology and Petrology, Columbia University, NYC, USA on 4/26/2022
We spoke with Ron Coombes, who is President and CEO of Providence Gold Mines Inc. (TSXV: PHD, US-OTCQB: PRRVF, FRANKFURT: 7RH1-F), a Canadian mining exploration company, who has acquired the famous historic Providence Group of Gold Mines, located nearby a resource-friendly community of Sonora, California, on the eastern belt of the “Mother Lode” District. The highly accurate 3D terrestrial laser scanning technology revealed that there are potential high-grade drill targets, between and beneath historical stopes. Near-term plans include a 4000-meter drill program, to identify and verify the near-surface targets, followed by deeper holes. In addition, gold within the stockpile could generate significant cashflow.
Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, talking with Ron Coombes, who is President and CEO of Providence Gold Mines. Ron, could you tell our readers/investors about your Company?
Ron Coombes: Providence Gold Mines is solely located in the California Mother Lode Belt, on one of the great gold properties, from the historical past. Probably in terms of today’s mining, it would definitely be in among some of the highest grading deposits known. Such as the Kirkland Lake’s Gold Fosterville mine, which has a head grade of 21 grams of gold per ton, I think of a couple of others here, Klondike mines, which yields 44 grams per ton and one of the highest-grade gold mines in Canada.
Our property was historically mined, up to 1916, we’d be able to have a similar type of gold values. In the Mother Lode Belt, deposits that could be seen as being potentially similar, would be the Empire, The Idaho Maryland Mine, in the area of Grass Valley. The only difference being that our project is just far enough away from the population, in Sonora, to not be seen as an issue for our neighbors. The neighbors of the Sonora District have been very grateful, to date, and extremely helpful in our exploration efforts.
Some of the businessmen, that live in the immediate vicinity, have been very helpful in assisting us to find contractors that are local to do work for us. So, we feel very fortunate to be where we are. You know, I spent a lot of time in Canada, and I’ve spent some time in other countries, on the development of exploration targets. So far, I’ve found this particular area of California to be one of the best districts for exploration, in my 25 years.
The project we acquired in late 2017. Since then, we embarked on the development of the numerous targets that lie, within the past producing group of mines, on the property. We’ve had so far, verification and lots of success in our quest to develop the exploration targets, so they’re well-developed now. We think that the property has significant potential, with 1 to 4 million ounces. Of course, you never know until you drill them.
We’re planning to drill a 4,000-meter drill program. That’s enough drilling to basically identify and verify the Near-Surface targets. After that, we would have to go back and drill some deeper holes. But we’re extremely delighted that the project, so far to date, has met with nothing but success.
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds great. Could you tell our readers/investors about any data you have to date?
Ron Coombes: We had recently put out a press release. Aero Geoquest did the underground 3D lidar and then we did an airborne lidar, which has given us precision on the targets, both at surface and from the 600 level, which was developed in 1931. Having that data and then combining it and layering it, with all of our soil geochem, our surface mapping, our underground mapping, and then all of the known stopes, and new discoveries, has given us an opportunity to pinpoint, from surface, the exact orientation, and the length to the targets. Once we drill, that will substantiate what I’m saying and hopefully become one of the great ones again, in the state of California.
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent! Could you tell our readers/investors, a little bit about yourself and your Team?
Ron Coombes: I’ve been pretty much exclusively working in Canada, for my first 20 years. I worked in British Columbia exclusively for about 15 years, and then we ventured out and looked at a couple of projects in Ontario, we were involved in the Ring of Fire. In 2012, I went to Ottawa and gave a speech on what I saw going wrong in the Ring of Fire. Then I started looking abroad, for other projects and looked to Mexico, I looked at South America, I had a geologist that was working with us at that time.
Then we started to venture into looking at some projects in Arizona and Nevada and I was introduced to the Providence Group of gold mines, through an old colleague of mine. Initially, I thought it was too good to be true, so we embarked on a trip to take a look at it. We basically took some samples in the underground, verified the existence of high grade, within the stopes that had already been mined at the 600 level. Then we acquired the property.
We didn’t have much data on it because, of course, in 1916 they weren’t core drilling, they were basically mining. Everything was done, with hand steel and donkeys and Clydesdales. All we had was a 3D longitudinal cross-section and that data set now is turned into a pretty comprehensive amount of data, which has given us the opportunity to model everything properly. We’re ready to drill and the drilling could make this an opportunity of actually discovering that we have our hands on one of the great ones in the state of California and move forward towards the development of a serious resource.
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds very good! Could you tell our readers/investors a little bit about the capital structure?
Ron Coombes: Right now, we currently have issued outstanding 57 million shares, approximately. The Company itself, about a third of it, is controlled by me and three or four others. A couple of the insiders, myself and Rodger Young and Scott Davis, who’s our CFO, we control about 8 million shares in total among us. I have three or four other colleagues that boost that number up to about 25%. The structure of the Company is solid. We’re grossly undervalued currently, I believe. I think the stock really has no business trading at where it is. I believe it’s definitely a golden opportunity, at the current trading price that it’s trading at right now.
Currently, we’re just finishing off a financing. We need about $1.3 million to do this 4,000-meter drill program and ensure its success. There’s no point in trying to do a small drill program. The targets themselves are 2 to 4 meters thick and actually can appreciate three-dimensional space. We have to do the drilling and we need to do enough drilling to verify and substantiate. Then after that, we’ll go to a Phase 2 drilling program, to move the numbers up where we believe they should be. We believe that it has a very good chance of a million ounces plus.
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds very good. Could you tell our readers/investors why they should invest in Providence Gold Mines?
Ron Coombes: We actually trade on the OTCQB, currently in the U.S., we trade on the Frankfurt Exchange, we trade in Canada. We, the Board of Directors, feel quite strongly that eventually we’d like to become an exclusive issuer in the United States, as our primary domicile, because that’s where we’re working, that’s where we’re drilling. It’s a U.S. property, so we might as well eventually move our operations down to the United States. We will still be trading in Canada, of course, but we believe becoming a primary issuer in the U.S. is an important step moving forward.
Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that sounds very good! Is there anything else you’d like to add, Ron?
Ron Coombes: We have a great Team! The Team that we’ve assembled includes some of the best in the business. We have Mark Payne, who’s a registered geologist, in the state of California. Mark has over 45 years’ experience. He intimately knows almost every project there is, along the Mother Lode Belt. Our qualified person presently is Lee Groat. I’ve worked with Lee and the University of B.C. over the years.
We’re very proud to work with them and have them, whenever they’re available, to assist us with some of the grants that they have. I think that overall, we have a very senior Team, looking after the geology in California. We feel quite proud of that fact. We definitely have the manpower to move this forward, so 2022 should be a great year for us.
Dr. Allen Alper: It sounds like it’ll be an exciting time for your shareholders and stakeholders once you get into the drilling and learn more to substantiate what you have.
Ron Coombes: Yeah. We still have a small stockpile at the main development, where the Providence Gold Mine was mined down to the 1,100 to 1,200 foot level. There is a stockpile there. We were hoping that it was going to be a lot larger than it is, because from the Providence, they are said to have mined 225,000 ounces. Unfortunately, it appears as though they, like many projects back then, used a lot of the material for road construction. The pile that’s sitting there right now, definitely contains some really decent gold values.
We believe that the drilling here will assist us in adding to that volume of rock that’s sitting there right now, to allow us to have a small operating mine, in the near future. We have two things happening here. We’re hoping to be able to develop some more resources, right near surface, that we could then add to the stockpile, blend it together and become a producer in the short term, that’s our goal. Develop a small resource right near surface, add it with the stockpile that’s currently there, which we’ve trenched and sampled. We did a report with FLSmidth. The Metallurgy on the project is just great, which I didn’t talk about, but I should quickly here. All of our work, so far to date, looks like a pure gold play. There’s nothing in the way, not arsenic or antimony or any other of those deleterious metals, which makes this project pretty unique.
But it’s not unique to the Mother Lode Belt, because the Mother Lode Belt does have other similar deposits, within the belt itself that are very similar, with regards to not containing any deleterious metals. It gives us an advantage, in a couple of ways, to move the project forward as quickly as possible. We still have to go through the rigorous permitting that’s required. But so far to date, it looks like it would be an easy situation, with regards to there not being any metals that are nasty on the product.
Dr. Allen Alper: Do you think that it will be possible to get permits in California?
Ron Coombes: We met with some of the permitting departments, prior to picking the project up, because a lot of people have this misconception that California is just this place that’s unfriendly to the mining community, which is simply not true. It’s actually a great jurisdiction. I think that in my career I haven’t worked in a better area. So, it really depends on where you park yourself. I mean, obviously, if you’re going to park yourself, let’s say, in the greater Los Angeles area or Sacramento, or right within San Francisco, San Jose, you’re probably going to have a problem.
This is in a very remote area and it’s very mining friendly. I’ve met up with many of the people that live in the community, and they’re very pro resources and they have an understanding that that’s what built that area in the first place, the resource sector. And the resource sector still plays a major role in that area, with regards to wealth. I think the answer to the question is, I’m not seeing any difficulties, with any of the regulatory bodies, within the state of California. I think that it’s a great jurisdiction that follows the same policy guidelines that you have to follow in Nevada or Arizona. But California is open for business.
Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds good. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ron Coombes: Just like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss our project. You are very well known in the business, for a really long time. It’s a real pleasure having an opportunity to speak with you. And certainly, if you have any further questions or your readers may have any further questions, we’d be more than happy to answer those questions.
Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. We’ll publish your press releases as they come out so our readers/investors can follow your progress.
Ronald A. Coombes, President & CEO
Phone: (604) 724-2369
DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid interview by Metal News for Providence Gold Mines Inc. Although, Allen Alper is an Advisor to the Company, this is done entirely through his position at Metal News.