Mark Ashley: Drilling in a Proven World Class Precious Metals District
Mark discusses Tonogold and how they have recently acquired much of the rights to the historic Comstock Lode from Comstock Mining. There were some issues with the existing Comstock mine, and in 2016 the mine was shutdown. Tonogold made an offer which got them in the door. In January, they acquired 100% of the Lucerne gold deposit and claims which cover 3km of 5km of the historic Comstock Lode.
Mark compares the Comstock Lode with that of Kalgoolie in Australia as both are quite similar. They have the same strike length and produced similar amounts of gold and silver, and both had physical challenges with deep mining. The fixed price of gold and silver has resulted in reduced mining and exploration activity up until the late 1970s. Since then the Comstock Lode has mainly remained underappreciated.
In real terms, the gold price has more than doubled, and technical advancements in mining have lowered costs by 70%. This translates to a breakeven head grade today of 6 g/t while in 1882 you needed 50 g/t. The Golden Mile Superpit in Australia was based entirely on mining what the old-timers had regarded as waste. This is the opportunity.
Mark discusses the historical plans and production records as well as the numerous books on the subject. He talks about how much of the Comstock Lode has never been drilled. Tonogold has 3 km of the entire 5 km Comstock Lode. He has identified an area of particular interest from old records which indicated finding high-grades in 1883, but they had technical issues extracting the ore, and that was abandoned.
He discusses the reasons to believe that a lot of ore is still extractable with modern methods. The evidence supports that the Comstock is not dead; it’s just been taking a long break.
Time Stamp References:
0:45 – Collin’s Introduction
2:00 – Potential of the Comstock Lode
4:00 – Getting a foot in the door.
4:50 – Australias Gold Rush versus the Comstock
6:30 – Why this opportunity still exists.
7:30 – Economics of mining today.
9:30 – Historical info on the Comstock Lode.
12:30 – Potential for a find in the Comstock.
16:20 – Economics of what may be left.
18:30 – Comstock has just been taking a long break.
Talking Points From This Week’s Episode
• Tonogold has acquired much of the historic Comstock Lode.
• He compares the area with the Kalgoorlie in Australia.
• Costs of mining have gone down 90% since the Comstock started.
• They are beginning a drilling program of 72 holes and 21000 meters.
• Very little of the Comstock has ever been drilled.
Mark J. Ashley is Chief Executive Officer and Director for TonoGold Resources. He is a Senior Executive with a 30-year career-launching, turning around, and optimizing internationally listed organizations in Mining & Natural Resources sectors. In-depth knowledge of US and international investment, financial, and accounting methods, including SEC, IFRS, and GAAP reporting. Active global leadership profile, working out of London, Shanghai, Turkey, Africa, and Australia. CEO & Managing Director for Apex Minerals NL (2006-12) where he took the helm of a stagnant gold explorer resting at eight cents/share with a market cap of $5M, bringing the organization to its highest market value in company history through new leadership and a series of strategic acquisitions. CEO & Executive Director / CFO for LionOre Mining International where he helped grow the organization from a junior company to a $6B enterprise across eight years, transforming LionOre into the 8th largest nickel producer in the world and attracting a lucrative buyout from Russia-based Norilsk.