I've heard people say for a long time that the best place to find a deposit is in the shadow of the head frame of an old mine. I'm going to take that one step further. The best place to find a mine is within a stone's throw of an old mine.
Barrick owns a gold mine in Peru called Pierina. It has produced about 7 million ounces of gold in a high sulphidation epithermal gold-silver deposit. If you had a good arm, you could throw a rock from Pierina to Focus Ventures' Nueva California gold/silver deposit some 35 clicks north. Granted you would have to have a good arm.
Focus Ventures (FCV-V) is the newest member of the Simon Ridgeway stable of companies. (Fortuna Ventures, Radius, Northland Resources) Simon Ridgeway is an interesting kind of guy. He came into the industry knowing squat about mining. He had been a poker player. I still don't know how much he knows about mining. I know him well enough to know that if you walked into his office and asked for a job, if you were smarter than he is, he would offer you a job. Then he would try to figure out what you are good at.
Simon is one of those rare people who wants to hire people smarter than he is. I say rare because most people focus on hiring people dumber than they are and in some cases, that's real hard. There are some really dumb bunnies in the mining patch.
Simon likes smart people and he surrounds himself with the best people he can find. I don't know how many of them are smarter than he is. I'm just smart enough to know I don't have the brains or money to go head to head with him in a poker game.
Simon hired David Cass and Mark Slauenwhite to find some good exploration projects in Peru. I just came back from visiting one a stone's throw from Pierina. It's the worst mine I have seen in my life.
The deal Focus cut with the landowner and operator of the present mine is that Focus will pay $3 million to the owner and spend $3 million in exploration over a four-year period.
The owner put the mine into production in 1984 as an open pit 100 tpd mine using a heap leach. Eventually the owner went underground and it's now part open pit and part underground. I say it's the worst mine I have ever seen because it's a sulfide ore similar in age and type to Pierina. To get decent recoveries you have to set up a flotation circuit. And with the grades he has encountered, no one with any experience would do a heap leach, you heap leach low-grade ores, not high grade. And there are a lot of underground workings; it should be an open pit.
So basically as it is run now, they are heap-leaching ore that should be processed via flotation. In addition they are mining underground when they should have an open pit. The existing recoveries really suck. The tailings probably have more gold and silver than what they are recovering.
It is the kind of mine that barely gets by and has been waiting for a professional mining company to come along to rationalize exploration and mining. I forgot to mention it but there are thousands of samples taken but there hasn't been a single drill hole. Shudder, shudder.
David Cass President and CEO took James West, the newsletter writer and me on a visit a week ago. Mark Slauenwhite, his exploration manager was there to help us with the technical issues. Basically, it's a giant shear system. In the area being mined, there is an opening to bedrock where you can see the Pierina style mineralization. David and Mark believe the mineralization extends for quite a ways beyond the gravel cover.
It's a high-grade gold/silver system on trend but not on strike with Pierina and the rocks are of the same vintage. The head grade of the ore being mined is in the 5-6 g/t ranges but naturally with an open pit, anything in the 1 g/t range would work.
Nueva California is in home run country. The project has lots of potential and the terms Focus managed to get work if they can define a 1 million ounce gold project. Focus will be drilling a Phase 1, two or three hole scout program at once. I would expect results out in about 6 weeks. We spent a couple of days talking about the project. It's interesting to me because if David and Mark can come up with some 100 meter+ 1 g/t intercepts, they will be heroes and the stock will soar. They can't kill the project with a couple of holes but they can make it. I think they will. After all, there have been 3,020 historic samples running 3.3 g/t gold average.
With about 19 million shares out today, the project is fully valued in the $.85 range with a market cap of about $16 million. A good hole or two and the market cap will jump.
We are biased, Focus is a new advertiser. We do not share in your losses nor do we share in your profit. You don't pay a cent for the privilege of reading my hard work so do take some responsibility for your own due diligence.
Focus Ventures Ltd