Temex may have changed its focus from diamonds to gold, but it has always remained committed to exploring in Ontario. Ian Campbell, president and CEO, said the company has spent $50 million in the province since its inception.
“We got listed on the stock exchange in the fall of 2001 and it was originally a diamond exploration company when it went public,” he said.
In 2002, it acquired its first gold project – Juby – and in 2005, it acquired the Whitney gold project in Timmins.
“If you can have all your projects in one area, northeastern Ontario looked like a good place to be,” Campbell said. “These two projects provide us with good flexibility, especially in this market.”
Over the past few years, Temex was able to expand the Whitney project in Timmins to include the upper part of the property.
“With the original deal, we didn’t have the upper part of the Hallnor mine block. We had the rights to explore below 1,000 feet, but (the added property) allowed us to explore near surface and subsequent to that, last fall, we put a nice gold resource on that, so that provided good momentum building on that project,” he said.
Temex holds a 60 per cent interest in a joint venture with Goldcorp in the Whitney Property. It takes in the past-producing Hallnor, Broulan Reef and Bonetal Mines. The Hallnor was one of the highest-grade past producing mines in Timmins, and produced more than one million ounces of gold.
Last November, the company acquired all the ground around the Juby project, which is located southwest of Matachewan, and the property was expanded 1,000 per cent.
“We had a gold resource, and we drilled up to our border, and that kind of stopped. Those are two big developments on the land position that allowed Temex to accelerate exploration,” Campbell said.
Whitney is in advanced exploration, with a fairly good resource. Temex is undertaking more diamond drilling and going through the resource to see which is the best approach from a mining perspective. In the next six months, it expects that work to be done.
“If all goes well, and if we call it a near-term production possibility, it would be in the next 18 to 24 months. Of course you need to get over a lot of hurdles before that,” he said.
“The Whitney project has numerous advantages over most other projects in the area, let alone the world. It has high-grade gold and it has infrastructure, which means when you need to build a mine, the capital costs would be relatively cheaper than most projects,” Campbell said.
“Both these projects have exceptional blue sky exploration potential, to discover more gold at both near surface and at depth. Our exploration upside is one of the attractive features of Temex.”
Last fall, Temex raised $9 million, and it plans to spend a total of $6 million on exploration this year. About $1.8 million has been spent on Juby, and $3 million to $4 million will be spent on exploration at Whitney.
While junior exploration companies are experiencing a downturn in the industry, Temex is not in any danger of running out of cash.
“I don’t want to be dictated by the markets when to raise money,” he said. “We can complete our commitment – what we said we were going to do and not worry about that now. We are one of those still booming along here.”
The company will be working on an updated resource on the Juby project, and surface exploration will continue there throughout the summer to evaluate the land holdings acquired last November.
At Whitney, diamond drilling will be ongoing throughout the year, and the company expects to add ounces and firm up additional ounces that were found.
“We have all the existing data bases and drill holes from the ’30s to ’70s and we modeled that. We know there is a lot of gold left over, but we want to get our own holes in there to verify the data,” Campbell said.
Temex made some recent board appointments, and it is attracting some high level people to the company.
Greg Gibson, formerly of Trelawney, has been appointed chairman and Rene Marion, former president and CEO of Aurico is a director.
“It’s a good endorsement of what we are doing. They just don’t join to be good guys. They have done their due diligence and they like what we are doing,” he said.