Bell Copper (TSXV:BCU) announced that their partner was leaving the joint venture on Kabba after spending over $3 million and drilling 7 holes. That kind of thing happens all the time in the junior markets, but this one was a bit different because the former partner (Rio Tinto/Kennecot Exploration) never drilled the holes Dr. Tim Marsh, President & CEO of Bell Copper, had targeted after years working the property. That's where things get interesting.
See an interview I did with Tim to discuss all this in detail here:
A big reason I like the junior mining industry is that, at it's best, it allows intelligent people to take smart risks. Whether it's a geologist sticking with an exploration idea or an investor stepping in to a stock with no bid, there's generally a lot of accountability in the world of junior miners.
And I see more accountability with Bell Copper than most.
Tim has described this news as "a gift" for the company and I really hope he can have some joy in this next round of drilling to settle the criticism that his work at Kabba has been a "never ending story". I'm sure he's aware of that more than most, but his spartan attitude to the company's expenses should give pundits solace that he's in it for the right reasons.
It's a pretty unique setup for a speculation.
This one is for all the marbles and Tim knows it. In our interview, he mentioned that extending the IP survey could draw some interest from majors if his next holes aren't what he expects, but he really has a single-minded focus on drilling his targets at Kabba immediately.
It looks like one of the more clear "binary outcomes" that I've ever seen. If it's a "no" answer then it's more of the same -- struggling to get some traction at the project. If it's a "yes" answer then they have a discovery on their hands! #DrillPlays
What's more, I believe such a discovery would be somewhat unprecedented. Aside from the academic significance, this could be a new exploration model that Tim could apply to other targets. If there is ground out there in Arizona that fits the model Tim's building at Kabba, then he may be able to work it himself or find someone to partner with. All that looks a lot more realistic with a discovery under his belt at Kabba.
As Tim said in the interview, his goal is to be out drilling in 30 days.
They closed a financing but they will need more money unless they resort to paying for drilling with shares as they've done before, which is a great story that Tim elaborated on in our interview. And if you're concerned about excessive dilution from paying for drilling with shares, just listen to Tim tell the story of Godbe Drilling and K-11 -- it's on par with a story Matt Turner of Rockhaven (TSXV:RK) told me about exercising warrants that were out of the money, if I recall correctly, to help get some cash into treasury in 2015.
Getting the work done is the most important thing.
With the project back in their control, Bell Copper is in a better position to do the work than they have been, arguably, since Tim took over in 2012. All the exploration that's been done since then puts them in a great position to take a big swing and there is funding available for good exploration projects out there.
The company requested a halt on Friday an hour before the close and then released news. It wasn't quite "bad news after the close", but was pretty close. It will be interesting to see how they trade on Monday and throughout the week. The order book has been pretty thin in the past and some buyers may get good fills relative to the recent trading range, which is a good example of how important it is for financiers to support their investments in the public markets.
It's one thing to write cheques for private placements or warrants and help fund the company's treasury, but I think there are good opportunities for sophisticated investors to help support their companies even more by doing something like market making in the secondary markets. Simply posting some sticky bids and asks can help add stability to the stock and genuinely improve liquidity.
Exciting times for Bell Copper ahead. Find out more on their website: https://www.bellcopper.net
Please note that I was not compensated to prepare this editorial. This is not investment advice.