CEO Interview: Balmoral Resources

Showing up: Balmoral President & CEO Darin Wagner.

Woody Allen once said 80% of success is just showing up. It might sound trivial but showing up, every day, is not easy. When I first met Darin Wagner, President and CEO of Balmoral Resources (Stock Profile – TSXV:BAR & OTCQX:BALMF) nearly two years ago my first impression was what a personable guy. Today, I see his past success in a different light – this guy always shows up.

Darin spent his first ten years as a project generator and exploration geologist with two of Canada’s largest exploration and mining companies Noranda (now Xstrata) and Cominco (now Teck). Immediately prior to Balmoral Resources, he served as President and CEO of West Timmins Mining through the discovery of a high-grade gold zone in Timmins, Ontario to the acquisition of West Timmins by Lake Shore Gold in an all share deal valued at $424 million that was completed in November of 2009.

But Darin Wagner is not one to rest his laurels on past success. This is a busy time for Balmoral Resources, drills are on the ground and results are in the lab. While many mining CEOs were away enjoying their summer vacation, Darin was working. We connected with Darin to learn more about what could already be defined as a productive drill season for this emerging junior gold explorer.

In mid-August Balmoral released results from the Martiniere Property – two holes from a new discovery in the Bug Lake Zone which included 272.39 g/t gold over 3.88 metres – and the market responded well to the news. Why are these results significant to the company?

While the gold values from the new Footwall discovery are among the highest grades I have encountered in my 20+ year career, with respect to the Martiniere gold system what they really do is further cement this system as one of the best new high-grade gold discoveries in North America. In less than 18 months we have gone from concept, through discovery to beginning to drill off a new high-grade gold system in a world class gold district – not a bad start.

The results were from the first two holes of a summer drill program at the Martiniere Property – what else is happening on the ground there and when are additional results expected?

Since we started turning the drills this summer we have announced 4 new gold discoveries, including the spectacular results from the Footwall discovery, and we have results from another 38 holes pending and drilling set to resume in late September. The majority of the pending results are from expansion drilling on a number of high-grade gold zones we have intersected at Martiniere over the last 12 months.

You have a portfolio of properties in Ontario and Quebec, from a corporate development perspective, how do you move your projects forward collectively without stretching yourself too thin?

We take a diverse approach to best deliver value to our shareholders. On our flagship Detour Gold Trend Project in Quebec we operate and fund the project ourselves as we feel that our experience in this area and the potential of this project provide the greatest shareholder upside.

In Ontario we have a very promising project called Northshore where we have optioned an interest to GTA Resources and Mining who are funding the exploration work and moving the project forward. We have another project in Quebec – N2 – where we are currently also entertaining expressions of interest from third parties.

You mentioned your partnership with GTA Resources. Last year your partner released some excellent results from the Northshore property (149.50 metres grading 1.20 g/t gold – capped) what’s on the horizon at Northshore?

The drill is currently turning on Northshore with GTA looking to continue to expand the broader Afric Zone and several high-grade sub-zones. They have indicated that we can expect to see them complete approximately 20 holes this fall so there is a great deal more news from the Northshore for our shareholders to look forward to in addition to more results from Martiniere

Your previous company, West Timmins Mining, was bought out by Lake Shore Gold for $424 million. At this early stage, how are things stacking up for Balmoral in comparison to West Timmins?

I think Balmoral may well be setting itself to be an even better story than West Timmins. First we own, or have the right to purchase, 100% of our lead asset whereas with West Timmins we only held 40% of the Thunder Creek gold discovery. Our land position on the Detour Trend is almost 8x the size of the land position we held in the West Timmins area and like West Timmins we have a major mine build going on the adjacent property. In the case of West Timmins this was the sub-million ounce Timmins Mine of Lake Shore Gold, in the Balmoral case it is the > 20 million ounce Detour Gold Deposit which beginning in 2013-14 will be Canada’s largest gold mine.

In one sentence, why should an investor take a serious look at Balmoral Resources when there are hundreds of other junior gold companies out there competing for their attention?

Balmoral is an emerging high-grade gold story, located in one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world, managed by an experienced group who have already demonstrated the potential to provide impressive returns to shareholders in this space.

Disclosure: at publication date Balmoral Resources is a client of MiningFeeds.

Mike Luft

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