How to change a tiger’s stripes (to gold)

They say a Tiger never changes its stripes.


But a Perth-based minerals explorer, Fraser Range Metals Group has done precisely that by changing its name to Wildcat Resources (ASX: WC8), and it is now predominantly focused on gold.


Its former nickel footprint has been broadened to Lachlan Fold in New South Wales and the Mallina Gold Province in Western Australia.


The strategy is clear, Wildcat will be exploring in world-class provinces and focusing on world-class discovery.


Wildcat Resources Executive Director, Matthew Banks, says a name change is timely as the Company evolves from a nickel explorer to one almost purely devoted to gold.


Three hot spots


Wildcat Resources is exploring three key terrains: Lachlan Fold New South Wales, the Fraser Range and the Mallina Gold Province in the Pilbara both in Western Australia.


Drilling has just started at the Mount Adrah Gold Project, 44 kilometres from Wagga Wagga, at a site which hasn’t been systematically explored since the 1980s.


It’s an exciting well tapped gold system that has both high grade gold targets and bulk tonnage gold targets.


The Company has stripped everything down and spent the past six months completing the first two phases of exploration, mapping and soil sampling.


“We’ve identified high grade gold bearing quartz reefs near Hobbs Pipe which hasn’t been followed up for many years,” said Matthew.


“After some early exploration by the company these structures will be one of our targets. The other style target is bulk tonnage gold which may be similar in size and geological setting to the 770,000 ounce gold resource we have from surface at Hobbs Pipe. The project has fantastic potential.”


The words `bulk tonnage gold’ sounds overwhelmingly positive and may not easily correlate to a site which has previously been combed over and sat idle for years. But that is not unusual in mining.


“The industry has a saying,” says Matthew. “The seventh owner of a property gets the discovery or if you want to find gold you head to where it’s been found before.”


He says the time it takes to understand a geological structure or system, coupled with the fast-changing nature of technology, means that what past owners saw five years ago may look entirely different today.


As an example, 20 years ago, some geophysics could only look down a few hundred meters below surface but now they can look down over a kilometer into the earth’s crust using geophysics.


A team of gold medalists


Exploration is based on science and some luck.


The volume of work has been painstakingly completed by what Matthew calls the “engine room” of the Company - the geologists.


“Any junior miner has a team of scientists that lead you to new discoveries. We have Paul Parker, one of the founders of Independence Group (IGO) which is quite a big company now.”


“Damien Keys is also working with the company and he recently discovered the Penny West North gold orebody for Spectrum Metals Group, one of the most successful discoveries in the past 12 months. Spectrum Metals was subsequently bought by Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS) for around $240 million.”


Matthew says there are still “elephants” to be found in Australia and examples include the De Grey Mining discovery at Hemi and Rio Tinto’s discovery at Winu.


“We know we are in elephant country in the Lachlan Fold as it holds big orebodies like Cadia which is in the Top 10 biggest gold orebodies in the world."
“At current prices, Cadia has an in-ground metal value of some AUD$162 billion, which is quite remarkable.”


A cache of investment


Matthew says most people are attracted to the “dream” of being involved in a major discovery, and that explains why the team and projects at Wildcat have been attracting a number of successful shareholders, both nationally and internationally.


“We have high-net worth investors from Melbourne to Adelaide to Perth, as well as international investors in London and Hong Kong."
“They know we are a small cap explorer working in some underexplored areas, and that while you keep drilling holes you are in the game and always have a chance.”


The Pilbara is under explored for gold which makes this area exciting.


Wildcat has a $23 million market cap and $5million in the bank and plans to later this year to undertake works close to the De Grey Mining’s Hemi discovery.


De Grey have only months ago made the biggest gold discovery in Australia for a decade and currently have an $800 million market cap. Wildcat hopes that the Berghaus Shear structure is still fertile in Wildcat’s ground.


Matthew notes that gold is almost the only safe haven to store value in the current high-risk environment.


“While the printing presses keep running, there is a chance gold keeps going up, even where inflation doesn’t seem to be a problem. I went through the uranium boom of 2007 and this gold boom is starting to have a similar feel.”