CEO: John McConnell
Juan Costello: Good day from Wall Street. This is Juan Costello with the Wall Street Analyst. Joining us today is John McConnell, the CEO for Victoria Gold Corporation. The company trades on a TSX Venture and their ticker symbol is VIT. Thanks for joining us today John.
John McConnell: Oh thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Juan Costello: Oh anytime, and starting off, give us a brief history and overview of the company for some of our listeners that are new to your story.
John McConnell: Yeah. Victoria Gold is a resource company focused on developing a large gold project in Canada’s Yukon Territory. We will be starting production in 2015 and producing over 200,000 ounces of gold per year, but more importantly at 1700-dollar gold will be cash flowing over 260 million dollars per year.
Juan Costello: Great and so in terms of some of the recent activity with your projects, can you talk about the recent approval on the Eagle Gold Project as well as the acquisition of Banyan and some of the other activity there in the market?
John McConnell: Sure. Yeah, I mean probably the most significant milestone we’ve reached in the last five years has been the approval by the Yukon Environmental Review Board of the project and their recommendation that had moved forward to development and ultimate production. In terms of Banyan, that’s not really a significant investment for us. It’s just a project that we had in the company we sold to another company that was going into bankruptcy, so we arranged to help a company – upstart company called Banyan to buy it. Otherwise, it would have returned to us, we would have to manage it and fund it and so it’s really a minimal amount of money for a long-term investment, but the real key for Victoria is the Eagle Gold Project.
Juan Costello: Right and you also had some intercepts there at Dublin Gulch, can you talk about the Yukon, and what you bring to the area?
John McConnell: Yeah. We – not only do we have Eagle, which is a mine that will be producing for plus 10 years at over 200,000 ounces per year. We have a very large land package. The Dublin Gulch claim block itself is about 80 kilometers east-west by 40 kilometers north-south. So, Eagle is really just a dot on that very large property and it’s only been the last couple of years that we started to step out from Eagle and look at the regional exploration potential. We’ve now identified over 13 kilometers of mineralized trends and we have a couple of interesting areas we refer to as Shamrock, Olive, Popeye, Steiner, Rex and Peso. Not sure why the geologist chose those names, but they stuck and we’ve had some interesting draw results there. It’s very early days, but there’s certainly room for one, two or three more Eagles within that very large claim block.
Juan Costello: Right and as far as the way the company operates within the sector, are alliances and joint ventures an important part of your business model?
John McConnell: We’re not really in any joint ventures. Our largest shareholder is Kinross Gold and they have been a great shareholder. They go back five years with us and they’ve participated in all our financings. So they have been a great partner, but more importantly, they have the Fort Knox Gold Mine in Alaska, which is very similar to what we’ll be building at Eagle. So we’ve been able to visit that mine over the last five years, see it during construction, during operations and learned from them because we will be using exactly the same process. It’s a cyanide valley leach process. So we’ve learned a lot from them and it’ll help save us money and we know we have a workable technology.
Juan Costello: Good and so obviously the trends in the section towards gold at 1700, the pricing is good. What makes the company unique from some of the other players in the sector?
John McConnell: I think what really makes us unique now is that we have a shovel-ready permitted project in a very safe jurisdiction, the Yukon Territory. That’s what distinguishes us. There are very few large production gold projects in safe countries these days.
Juan Costello: And perhaps you could walk us through your background experience, John and talk about the management team.
John McConnell: Sure. I’m a mining engineer, I’ve spent my whole career with plus 30 years working in Canada’s North. I started out in the Nunavut Territory where I managed the Nanisivik zinc-lead mine on the North tip of Baffin Island, so I really got introduced to long cold dark winters there and all the challenges of the logistics working in the North. From then I – there I went on to working for a company called De Beers who many people know the diamond company.
Juan Costello: Right.
John McConnell (cont): Diamond project at that time, which is in the Northwest Territories, north of Yellowknife through permitting feasibility study, engineering, construction and into operations, and then since then, I’ve been – I run a copper company in Northern BC and now I’m in with Victoria, running Victoria for the past three years.
Juan Costello: And what are some of the goals and milestones that you are hoping to accomplish over the course of the next year?
John McConnell: Sure, I mean our next big challenge is financing the development of Eagle and we need to raise approximately 430 million dollars to do that and a lot of people look at us with a market cap of just under 100 million and they could have guessed probably insurmountable task, but we do have a plan in place. We engaged Rough Child’s as our adviser over 18 months ago. We worked very closely with them for about a year dotting the eyes and crossing the tees in terms of the feasibility study to ensure that it would meet bankable conditions. We are now working with the syndicate of banks and our affair ways down the road in discussions and we’d hope to be able to announce a project financing in the second quarter of this year in the order of 250 million dollars. We currently have about 60 million in cash and receivables so that leads a gap of about 110 million and we’re turning over every rock to find that 110, but we wanna make sure it’s – whatever we do it’s not – it’s the least eluted solution for our shareholders. So we are talking to royalty companies, gold streaming companies, looking at high yield debt, convertible debt, but certainly equity is the last thing on our list these days in current markets and current share price.
Juan Costello: Great and as you continue to speak with investors in the financial committee, John, do you believe that the Victoria Gold story and your message in upside are completely understood and appreciated, and if not, what do you wish investors better understood about the company?
John McConnell: We just attended the BMO Mining Conference in Florida and it’s the largest investor conference in the world. It brings together most of the resource-based funds in the world and many of the development stage companies in the world, and I would say we probably met with 40 different groups over three days and I was very encouraged by the response. I think everybody says we’ve done everything right. We’ve de-risked the project. We now have permits and the one thing yet is financing and when people hear our plan, they agree that it’s doable and we feel the share price will respond once we get the project financing in place.
Juan Costello: Certainly and so once again, joining us today is, John McConnell, CEO of Victoria Gold Corporation. The company trades on a TSX Venture and their ticker symbol is VIT, currently trading at 21 cents a share, and before we conclude here, John, to recap some of your key points. Why do you believe investors should consider the company as a good investment opportunity today?
John McConnell: Yeah. I just – the key thing is we now have permits in place, we’re a shovel-ready project that will be producing 200,000 ounces of gold per year in 2015, cash flowing over 260 million dollars per year. Pay back on the debt is less than three years, mine life is plus 10 years, so it’s a very attractive investment scenario for an investor.
Juan Costello: Well, we certainly look forward to continue to track the company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress and we’d like to thank you for taking the time to join us today, John, and update our investor audience on Victoria.
John McConnell: Great. Thank you very much.