Hawthorne Gold Corp.
When CBJ last spoke with Hawthorne Gold Corp., last January, President Richard Barclay and chairman Michael Beley told us that things were looking up for the company. A year later, and CBJ is excited to update readers on just how far the company has come. Hawthorne operates out of Vancouver, British Columbia, and currently has gold exploration and development projects in the province including their Table Mountain and Taurus Projects in north central B.C. Hawthorne’s Frasergold Project is located in the central interior of the province.
The Table Mountain and Taurus Projects (in the Cassiar Mining District in northern B.C.) are in an area well known for significant gold production and exploration. The area has been thoroughly explored since the 1960s. But what sets Hawthorne apart is not the areas they explore, but as we reported last year their management team. Hawthorne’s leadership has a combined history in mining development that rivals most other gold producers in Canada.
Richard Barclay is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Hawthorne and has held those positions since the company was private in 2006. He has worked with other resource companies since the early ‘70s, and his experience shows through the exceptional management of Hawthorne. Michael Beley has been the chairman of Hawthorne since 2006 and is a member of the Company’s Audit Committee. He has experience managing resource enterprises that goes back to the ‘70s, and with Barclay has managed to create several successful initiatives in the sector. Beley and Barclay have been partners in business for over 30 years, which is a critical element to Hawthorne’s success story. They were co-founders of Bema Gold and also started and managed Eldorado Gold together. These were successful gold producing enterprises and they show how powerful Hawthorne’s management team is—being consistently entrepreneurial, building companies and growing them.
Hawthorne’s wholly-owned Table Mountain gold mine is a high-grade, underground mining operation located in northern British Columbia. The Cassiar Gold Belt, 23 kilometres long, stretches from Mount McDame in the north to Juniper Mountain in the southeast. Mining operations in McDame River have produced close to 500,000 ounces of gold from various mills and placer operations.
Lots of small mines processed resources starting in 1934. The operation and support facilities currently located at the Cassiar Gold Mine consists of a fully permitted 270 tonne per day, gravity and flotation mill, power plant, assay laboratory and tailings impoundment facility.
Hawthorne commenced its exploration/development program at the site in June 2009, and have plans to move into gold production this year.
Hawthorne plans on reviewing the current deposit at Taurus and possibly define the opportunity to develop small open pits from higher grade zones contained within the resource. These smaller pits would be used to provide supplemental mill feed as the company moves towards production at the Cassiar Gold Mine.
The Taurus property is a large-tonnage, low-grade gold deposit. As a former producer, it has been explored for approximately 25 years and is now an advanced-stage exploration target that hosts a National Instrument 43-101 compliant inferred mineral resource estimate (1.055 million ounces of gold).
Hawthorne’s total land package consists of a contiguous 58,901-hectare package on the Cassiar Gold Belt.
The Frasergold property has been explored since the 1970s and Hawthorne just last year completed its summer work program at the site. The program involved a 58-hole drill program on the Main Zone and step-out drilling along strike. Hawthorne completed an independent NI 43-101 technical report in November of last year, and has high hopes for the deposit.
All of Hawthorne’s B.C. projects are expected to provide the company an opportunity to become a junior gold producer in the short term while offering upside potential for gold discoveries and development opportunities.
Dealing with industry fallout
Lots has happened in the mining industry in the last year. When we last spoke, the company told us that they expected the industry to recover and they would all the while “focus on putting each dollar into the ground” to build their resource portfolio and work towards production. However, the company was prepared for the fallout of the industry and has sustained.
Everyone has to be on the lookout for the next few months. Hawthorne, because it has multiple projects in its portfolio, did feel affects of the industry fallout, but told us that they would simply have to allocate funds as per available resources, as opposed to being too hung up on trying to secure more capital. Hawthorne was one of the first companies George Media heard about the impending wave of junior mergers from. The company had said that the public “may see a consolidation of junior commodities companies”—which was certainly the case in 2009.
Although production at Table Mountain has not yet begun (the original goal was to work toward production in late 2009), the endeavour is still healthy.
Licence to operate in local communities
Hawthorne has not cut any of its operational programs to accommodate a stunted economy. Marlin Murphy, Manager of Environmental and Government Affairs told us that sustainability is crucial for Hawthorne. “You need a social license to operate. You need to liaise with the public and First Nations people at the outset of any project, and as it develops. We’re always in contact with our local communities.”
He added: “Where possible, we attempt to employ local First Nations personnel. We purchase wood locally, and try to use local knowledge and resources. This is much easier for the company, more economical, and definitely more sustainable in the long run.”
Hawthorne also monitors the land they work on. Marlin told us: “We have water quality monitoring programs at Table Mountain. We do flow monitoring to gather data from the receiving environment, both downstream and upstream at the mine site. We also operate a weather station to evaluate water flows.”
It’s no wonder Hawthorne is so committed; they’ve seen tremendous returns for working so hard on sustainability issues. “You have to be proactive. Otherwise, it will be much harder to mine, and much more expensive. If you are an environmentally responsible company, you can go for a permit and are able to anticipate some of the questions and concerns that might arise.” Hawthorne is equally concerned with on-site safety, employing emergency response stations and sites.
The company’s goals and values have certainly not shifted since we last looked in-depth at their initiatives. Expect nothing but success from Hawthorne Gold, in the long and short term.