Tom Wallace: Ladies and gents, welcome to juniorinsider.com.
Today, I'm joined by Paul Roberts, CEO of Predictive Discovery. Paul has had a long and successful history in mineral exploration management and mine geology in Australia, West Africa and Peru where he's been associated with a number of discoveries including the Henty gold deposit in Tasmania, and more recently, the Boungou gold deposit in Burkina Faso. He has been the CEO of the company since its inception in 2007, and is the architect of Predictive's business model, and is also responsible for assembling the project portfolio and West African team. Without further ado, here is the interview.
Paul, thanks for joining me today.
Paul Roberts: Pleasure, thanks Tom.
Tom Wallace: What are your thoughts on where we are in the gold cycle at the moment?
Paul Roberts: I think that we're in a good place. The gold process has been holding up very well at recent times, and certainly there's a possibility of it going up substantially, but I wouldn't quite make a prediction about that. I think the most important thing when it comes to gold predictions is whether the gold price will fall a lot and whether it's going to stay where it is, or rise gently, as it has been. And my feeling is it's more likely to rise gently, and the reason for that is we have ongoing political instability and that's driving purchases of gold through ETF's and it also drives physical demand particularly in countries like China and Europe. It's simply impossible to see all of the political instability that we're seeing all through the world and the impact that has on peoples ... and indeed uncertainty about currencies. People are looking for a safe haven.
Tom Wallace: I want to move on to your company now, Predictive Discovery. Can you go over the history and your company's strategy today?
Paul Roberts: Right. Well, Predictive Discovery was formed as an entity in 2007 and we got going as a private company in 2008. We operated like that for a while, through the GFC and we finally listed in December 2010. We listed on a number of assets, in West Africa and Burkina and Australia. But we focused on Burkina Faso in the beginning and for a large part of our history have been. And focused on gold.
So, the company itself actually emerged out of a research grouping, and use of particular technology, and I think we'll talk about that technology a bit later on. But we rapidly morphed into really a single project company with a focus on a large ground package in Burkina Faso. There we made some discoveries, and certainly they're on a pretty important project.
More recently, we're taking advantage of our deep networks and knowledge of geology in the Birimian Gold Belts to start working on Côte d'Ivoire and we've built up a very large ground position in Côte d'Ivoire.
Now, during this early part of our history, as I said we were a single project company, but what we've done is we've changed into being a prospect generator in the North American sense of the word. Which means we've established a very large ground position, and we're very focused now in West Africa, particularly currently in Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. We're certainly looking to further afield, particularly in the flankstone countries. And our intention in most cases is to do the early stage work, up to initial drilling, seek joint venture partners with significant mine-development capabilities, and continue to build upon it with early-stage projects. If we come across an early-stage project or early-stage drilling ... If the results are excellent and it looks like investors want us to keep going there, we'll keep going there, and we can take it all the way through. But apart from that, we expect to have a large portfolio, develop a large amount of news-flow for shareholders, multiple catalysts for share price rises and value creation, largely paid for by joint venture.
Tom Wallace: Yeah, you've got a number of projects, can you talk about the ones in Côte d'Ivoire first?
Paul Roberts: Right, in Côte d'Ivoire we hold in the granted permits and permit applications, over 6000 square kilometres of ground in multiple areas. Those are separated into four groups, the larger group is a joint venture with Toro Gold Limited of the UK, a very successful company that's a large way through developing a mine in Senegal currently. It's private, and that's producing a lot of good results, which I'll come to in a moment.
The second group is with a private Canadian company called Progress Minerals, and their currently funding exploration programmes including diamond drilling on a separate group of permits. The third group are permits that we hold in our own right through a separate subsidiary and afford the options with the local company. The latter two are applications at this stage, and they are part of our pipeline in areas that we intend, as soon as possible, to get on the ground and start doing first stage exploration.
The Toro Gold joint venture has generated very interesting results over multiple permits. The one that's attracted the greatest attention is the Boundiali permits, which is in the same belt as Tongon, so an extremely well mineralized belt. We've made a virgin gold discovery there, we've got visible gold in ore and intercept chips. The best intercept is 30 metres away, 0.3 grammes of the high grade intercept visible gold. In that area we're waiting for RC drilling results on two prospects. So, more news to come out of there, a very interesting project, substantial ground position.
Further, to the South, Kokumbo permit is one of two permits held in the joint venture. It's an area of great difference in that artisanal mining going on it since before French colonisation. A lot of gold mineralization in the area. Part of the same greenstone belt that contains Bonikro and Agbaou, both operating mines, one by Newcrest and one by Endeavour, both well-known companies. And, so, even if we don't get a standalone resource then there's certainly opportunities to sell high grade mineralization, very large minerals. So, very well mineralized, 800 square kilometres, under tenement and the first drill hole was 7.5 metres and 16 grammes from surface so clearly, very good gold.
Elsewhere, we found some very large soil anomalies, we're looking forward to starting working on them in October and the December quarter. There's a lot more news-flow to come out of those areas. We're expecting very good results. The Progress joint venture is focused on the Ferkessedougou project, very large gold mineralized system drilled by Lihir Gold, a precursor of Newcrest, a long time ago now. We've recently completed and published the results of the drilling programme. We've got a new model for continuity there, with hope to doing another phase of drilling, this time RC drilling, and we expect that to start in October or November this year.
So, good activity there and then moving up onto the new projects, as I said.
Tom Wallace: Right, now your other projects are in Burkina Faso, can you tell us about those?
Paul Roberts: Right, so Burkina's had a longer life, we hold about 1000 square kilometres and we've just been in the process, which we're largely completed, in renewing some of the oldest permits so that we renewed their statutory life for nine years as long we do work on them ... each of them. And that covers the Bongou prospect, where we discovered inferred and indicated resources of about 200,000 ounces with good grade, three grammes, thick body, good metallurgy a nice deposit. Certainly a very nice starter pit and then within ten kilometres of that we have an exploration target based on drilling, a sectional calculation based on a lot of drilling in fact, and the estimate is around half a million ounces, around 1.6 grammes.
That has to be converted into resources, and ultimately into reserves, but there's a substantial opportunity there for a new mine. And then up and down the belts and elsewhere, there's more mineralization, more exploration targets and so we are certainly in the position to have a plus one million ounce resource in the ground package, it requires a significant amount of work, and we're in the advanced stages of discussions for a joint venture to carry that forward from the beginning of the next quarter that is in October.
We're quite hopeful, although we can't provide an absolute guarantee, that we will get up and running there with drilling at that point.
Tom Wallace: Right, can you tell us a bit about your Predictore system and what you're doing with it?
Paul Roberts: Okay, so Predictore dates back to the beginning of the company. It's ... there's a couple of components to it but there's one that we use today, which is partly proprietary. And essentially what it does, is it helps us see in data sets, particularly aeromagnetic data sets, a series of structures, structures that we think go through most of the earth's crust. That have provided over a very long period of time, we're talking about billions of years here, a focus.
And, so those structures continue to re-emerge, but they're not obvious on geological maps. They're not that obvious in standard geophysical data treatments. With the particular technology that we use we've been able to see breaks in the data treatments that we've got, we've been able to correlate those breaks with deposits. Particularly in Burkina Faso, where we have quite a number of good gold mines, and we have all of the data available.
So we use that particularly at the terrain scale, we've done it in Burkina Faso, we've done it in Côte d'Ivoire, we're currently carrying out similar analysis in Mali using government data sets, we use that to identify the projects. Down at the project scale, we can also use it to help us understand the three dimensional geology. Really, it's a targeting technology to help us identify the best places.
Tom Wallace: What are some catalysts that investors can look forward to in the next 12 months?
Paul Roberts: Well, from the forgoing discussion you'll have seen that actually there's quite a lot of drilling coming along, we expect it will be drilling on, hopefully on three projects, maybe four projects in the December quarter, this year. The amount of drilling will certainly be at that level, and quite possibly accelerate through the first half of next year. It's possible, although there's no guarantee of this, that we'll have done sufficient drilling to calculate resources on several projects, both at Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. So, they're obviously important catalysts.
And then, of course, finalising a joint venture on Burkina and starting work on the new projects will also be an important catalyst. And finally, we are in the hands of the local authorities to grant us permits we've applied for and as the ground comes along we'll start doing work, we'll start generating results. All of those will give investors additional points to focus on and additional reasons to invest.
Tom Wallace: How much cash have you guys currently got?
Paul Roberts: Well at the end of June we had 1.6 million dollars.
Tom Wallace: Right, is there anything else you'd like to cover?
Paul Roberts: Well, probably just to reiterate what the opportunity is for investors really. So the prospect generator model, particularly the way that we operate it, gives investors who are interested in gold and who are interested in West Africa and believe, as we do, that the Birimian in West Africa is the best place in the world to look for gold.
An opportunity to make a, like a one stop shop investment, in a company that has low overheads, that intends for the bulk of expenditure to be paid for by joint venture partners, and therefore, that when we do capital raise that won't be massively dilute. In any one of these projects, the existing projects, the existing joint ventures, the new projects that we've got, the new projects that we're intending to pick up in West Africa, if it will continue down this road that any one of those, one spectacular result will be transformative for shareholders. Right now Predictive has quite a low market capitalization but there's a world of opportunity, particularly for people who believe in gold and believe in the Birimian.
And just finally, I would say that probably not many people realise that the Birimian contains more than sixty plus one million gold deposits. Apart from that, of course, exploration currently, including for example discovery by us and other companies, is continuing to reveal new gold deposits. It's an extremely exciting place.
As I say, I think probably the most exciting place in the world, people turning up new gold deposits and from surface, in areas where no gold was known before, very exciting place.
Tom Wallace: Where can investors find out more about Predictive Discovery?
Paul Roberts: We're listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, the ticker code is PDI and we have a website of course, which is www.predictivediscovery.com and certainly I'd encourage people who are interested in Predictive to register for the newsletter, so as we put out important news releases then I'll circulate them to the newsletter. And of course, I'm very happy if people want to send me messages, ask me for information, through the website, then I will respond, for sure. It's ultimately people actually want to pick up the phone and talk to me, we can work that out after the web communication.
Tom Wallace: No worries. Well Paul thanks for taking the time today.
Paul Roberts: It's a pleasure Tom.
Tom Wallace: Ladies and gents, I hope you all enjoyed the interview, hit subscribe so you don't miss any of the upcoming releases and make sure you head over to juniorinsider.com and sign up to become an insider. I'll see you all soon.