The chat boards on Novo Resources Corp. (NVO:TSX.V; NSRPF:OTCQX) have been a hive of activity pondering the issue of why only five assays have been released in the past year. Is Quinton Hennigh involved in some devious conspiracy to hold down the price of his own shares? Is Novo maneuvering to take over Artemis or Kirkland Lake? Or is Quinton simply incompetent?
None of the above actually comes even close to the truth.
The conglomerate gold story based around Karratha is similar to one of those good news/bad news stories. Due to the size of the gold, it is virtually impossible to measure with accuracy. I have said before and I will repeat it again. You can't measure this gold, you can only mine it. I don't give a damn what anyone calls it, a bulk sample is mining, albeit on a tiny scale.
Everyone keeps trying to run the exploration program just as if you are exploring a many million-ounce gold deposit. Which it most certainly is. But thinking of it as a giant hard rock property is causing all of the companies involved, not just Novo Resources, to see the trees and miss the forest.
The conglomerate gold story is a placer story. And with placer gold, you have exactly the same good news/bad news story. Depending on the size and grade of the gold it varies from measuring with a 35% plus or minus guess at the grade to simply wetting your finger and holding it in the breeze to see which way the breeze is blowing. Or better put, giving a SWAG (Stupid Wild-Assed Guess). It's between hard to measure to impossible to measure.
However the good news is really good news. Placer gold is really easy to process. The bigger the gold, the easier and cheaper it is to process.
After figuring out that a large core drill rig could drill nice wide pretty holes, Novo also figured out that you couldn't blow the gold, with an specific gravity of about 19, back up the hole so you could measure it scientifically.
If you can, just imagine the drill supervisor looking down a wonderful wide hole three meters deep at a pile of gold nuggets at the bottom and saying, "Yup. You got a lotta gold here."
So Novo went the
mining route bulk sample process as I suggested. I think that started back in November when they figured out the large diameter drill was a write off. And the company went to one of the best and most qualified assay labs in Australia, SGS. SGS was going to design and build a small plant just for processing the bulk samples.
Since December SGS has managed to process and release two samples. In seven months.
There are two issues that caused this utter failure. One is that unbeknownst to most people, Australia has a severe labor problem. With the iron and coal mines working 24/7 it's damned hard to find and keep qualified labor.
The other issue is that everyone, including SGS, is making the conglomerate gold issue too complicated. It's placer gold that just happens to be in hard rock. Crush it and run it across a sluice box. But SGS makes a lot more money if they come up with a complicated solution.
They don't need a complicated solution, they need a simple solution. Simple solutions work. Complicated solutions fail.
I talked to Quinton a little while back and asked just what it was that held things up; after all, all they are doing is building a mini plant. He said there were issues with the hardness of the rock and they seemed to have a crusher that didn't work.
Rocks tend to be hard. That is what makes them rock. If they were soft, they would be dirt. If you try running a certain species of rock through a crusher and the crusher has a problem with it, get a bigger hammer. No problem.
I had a placer project in Mexico and used a screen deck and a short sluice box to recover most of the gold from what was fairly fine gold. Certainly not coarse. It cost about $50,000 all in, design, fabrication, customs, transportation and set up. And it worked even though the guys working for me specialized in breaking equipment. The life span of a truck was about six months.
I had another placer gold project in Tanzania with ultra fine, fly spec gold. We used $3000 all in, hand fed sluice boxes larger but similar to this. A pan of dirt to be sampled might have 400 colors. It was really hard to pan, the gold was so small. But those tiny almost home-made recovery plants worked.
When I was in Karratha a year ago, we drove out to Comet Well and Purdy's and passed a shallow gravel pit on the way to the projects. Someone working on a road crew a few months before saw some gold in the gravel on a job they were on and asked around about where the gravel came from. He and a mate bought a metal detector and tested the gravel pit. It wasn't big, maybe 100 meters across and maybe 1-2 meters in depth. They took home hundreds of ounces of gold from a weekend. I'm certain they declared all the gold and paid taxes on it.
There is a boatload of gold in Karratha. It could easily be mined at great profit if people would stop making it so damned complicated. If metal detectors work, buy some and rip the ground with a D-11 dozer with a ripper. Run the crap across a sluice box and recover 98% of the gold. Easy Peasy.
SGS has stopped the conglomerate gold rush in its tracks just by keeping their head where the sun don't shine. It would be wonderful to have a Jorc or 43-101 and know to a gnat's ass just how much gold there is in the Pilbara.
But I could put it in production in a weekend with a blasting permit, a D-11 and a sluice box. For a couple of million dollars. If two guys can recover $400,000 of gold in a weekend with a $10,000 metal detector, it really need not be rocket science.
Novo Resources has about 1.2 million warrants at $1.25 expiring on August 12. Some warrant holders will probably be selling shares to exercise. Expect higher prices once the selling pressure lets up.
I'm a big fan of Novo and have been for nine years. They are still my biggest holding and naturally I am biased. Do your own due diligence.
NVO-V $3.83 (Jul 20, 2018)
NSRPF $2.88 OTCQX 159 million shares
Novo Resources website
Bob and Barb Moriarty brought 321gold.com to the Internet almost 16 years ago. They later added 321energy.com to cover oil, natural gas, gasoline, coal, solar, wind and nuclear energy. Both sites feature articles, editorial opinions, pricing figures and updates on current events affecting both sectors. Previously, Moriarty was a Marine F-4B and O-1 pilot with more than 832 missions in Vietnam. He holds 14 international aviation records.
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