I caught up with Jim Pettit to talk about the sentiment surrounding the gold juniors, the team behind Aben Resources, and the expansion of their current drilling program. 

Welcome back to The Next Bull Market Move, how are you today Jim?

Very good, thanks.

So far this year at the Forrest Kerr project you have drilled 10 holes covering more than 5,000 meters. The market didn't necessarily appreciate those results. So what did those results tell you? And I also understand you've expanded the size of the drill program at the Forrest Kerr Project for the rest of the summer. Talk to us about that, Jim.

Well, sure. First of all, we're now up to 14 holes. I spent all last week up there. We're up to 14 holes now, at about 5,000 just over that.

When I put the news release out I'd had rough estimates because it was difficult getting hold of the guys because the weather's been so bad. As a matter of fact, when we got there there was a three and a half foot snowdrift against the core shack. Last year we were dealing with forest fires and 35 degrees. So you never know what you're going to get up there. But anyways, about what the market didn't necessarily appreciate, well, we didn't have good results at the beginning, like right out of the chute.

Last year and the year before we did. We had tremendous results right out of the gate, which is not common, but it's exploration. Sometimes you have that, sometimes you don’t.

Normally, in the north boundary zone we have a high gold content with high sulfides, or in the form of chalcopyrite. Last year when we drilled the south boundary zone, that wasn't the correlation at all, it was fairly high concentrated chalcopyrite and we didn't get the gold at the levels we do at north boundary.

And now we're south of the north boundary zone again, just, actually, on the south side of the Noranda hole, and all of a sudden we're not getting that correlation again.

So obviously we're in a different environment, different mineralization, certainly some different alteration.

One thing we haven't been able to find out yet is the structural controls. What's creating all this? We've got to follow the alteration and, hey, we could very well on the next hole, who knows, hit the feeder zone, and that's what you're always looking for.

We also have the advantage this year of the geophysical survey we did, which shows a lot of large, what looked like, intrusive forms, the larger red dots on the the geophysical map. And we're testing a lot of those as we head south. 

So like I said, now we're on the 14th hole, and yes, we definitely increased the size. We'll get anywhere up to 10,000 meters again this year along the way. That's three holes out of possibly as high as 24 holes we can get done this year.

We're doing a few deeper, longer holes. And as you test the flanks and these intrusive structures, generally along the halo is what you're looking for. That's where the mineralization would be. So that's what we're doing right now, and it's going well. We've got a lot of core in for assay, and I would say that the next round that we'll probably receive, they were saying would be two weeks from when I was there last week.

So maybe by the 7th to the 10th of next month would probably be a good guess, but you never know. There's an awful lot of people drilling this year, a lot more companies than last year. So you get these bottlenecks, and that's something we've got to live with.

Let's talk a bit more about the broader markets in terms of the junior gold stocks. Does this look like a bull market to you for the junior gold stocks Jim?

Yeah, it's early days. I remember the last one. I'd been going to Toronto from Vancouver at least every month, maybe twice a month, when I was running a company called Bayfield, and you'd get, "Hi, how are you?" from the institutional guys because they weren't there yet. They're not looking at this sort of thing, this grassroots exploration or brownfields. That's a little too far down the food chain for them.

Then all of a sudden they came back one month later and they're all in. That whole risk/reward ratio changed suddenly within that month and they all wanted to buy into financings, et cetera, et cetera, which they wouldn't do before. We're still at an early stage.

I don't think the juniors are getting the love yet. Retail is certainly paying attention. But I think we're heading in the right direction. For us, we’re looking to find the discovery and make it work. We have hit good results and we’re still trying to work on the structure and controls. But that doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. That means we just have to work harder and get at it.

Talk to us a bit about how you put this land package together for Aben, especially in regards to picking up these projects during the recent bear market for gold. That must have been quite an interesting time?

Well, it was. I mean, this is the third iteration of the golden triangle, so to speak. There was ground available, people weren't doing anything with it, and you can't hold the ground forever without doing work on it. So through the other people on the board, like Ron Netolitzky and Tim Termuende who have the background up there. Tim's first job was working for Ron at Snip after Ron had discovered the Snip mine.

They had been on the ground before, our ground, and there was three separate entities owning that land position, three different claim blocks, and so I had to do the work with each one of them to get a deal done and guarantee that money would be spent and that sort of thing and we could earn 100%. They've maintained the net smelter royalty returns. They get that, but we spend the money and then own 100%.

That took the better part of six months to put together, finished in 2016. And then the first year we actually worked in the field up there was just reconnaissance work, more sampling and trenching and that sort of thing, and compilation.

We took our new data and put it in with all the old historic data, because 120 drill holes historically on all three properties and 20,000 drill samples, and the abundance of rock samples, et cetera, et cetera. You put that into a big data base and compilation study and that's where we came up with the boundary zone. "We need to go have a look at this." It was pretty remarkable to us and so we went in there and had a prioritized grouping of targets to go test when we first started. This was the first one, and it's gotten bigger.

We're still there after all this time. So we are going to test one of the other priority targets towards the end of this season down the south end of the property. There's a big anomaly - big intrusive sticking out. Nobody's ever tested it. We're going to put three holes into that thing. It's pretty impressive to look at.

Can you give us an update regarding the results from the Justin Gold project? I understand they were delayed.

Well, they have come out and they're underwhelming. They were delayed, you're right, because the guys had a hard time believing what they were reading.

We were drilling as an extension of an area, and this is the diamond drilling part of it. We just carried on from what we had left off in 2012 where we know where this big sulfide zone is. And we had reasonably good results back then.

We really felt this would continue. And you got the sulfides, and a lot of times you don't see the gold in the sulfides so we get it in to assay up. It came back and the guys were scratching their heads, so we took a select grouping of samples and sent them to another lab just in case and they came back and confirmed the first lab. So that was disappointing.

And in your experience, Jim, with a possible potential for better results later in the year from the Forrest Kerr project, what would you tell investors who are looking at your story today?

Well, I mean, we've announced three holes out of probably 20 to 24 that we're going to drill. There are a lot of traders in our stock, and a lot of the company's up in the Golden Triangle. It's got a big audience. And a lot of them were betting on having a great start again. 

I wish I could do it every year, but that's not the way it is. This is exploration. And we're definitely smarter with all the information we've got now after two years and we're testing areas and zones and following the geochem, and it's working in conjunction with the geo physics we've got now. So I think there'll be success along the way.

Thank you very much for your time today, Jim.

Okay. You bet. Thanks.

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