SHOCK WAVES - MAJESCOR FLOURISHES IN POST-QUAKE HAITI
(Financial Post) -
Dan Hachey tells a revealing story. The President/CEO of Majescor Resources (TSXV:MJX) relates how, “A few weeks ago, an institutional investor came up to us and said, ‘You are the guys working in Haiti? Well, God bless you and good luck,’ and he walked away. That’s what we’ve had to deal with from the beginning on this project.” Haiti has a reputation that’s hard to shake, but Hachey is confident that, paradoxically enough, one of the worst natural disasters of recent years will prove to be the catalyst of a national renaissance.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and has been, over the last century, plagued by a succession of bloody dictatorships, coups d’état and failed attempts at democratic reform. In January 2010, it was traumatized by an earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak that resulted in the deaths of over 300,000.
Hachey reports, “The things that I expected are happening. The world wanted to help and provided capital to get things moving there. And the eyes of the world on Haiti [have] forced political change.” He regards the April 2011 election of President Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly as a turning point. “Martelly has stated that [Haiti] is open for business. We’ve seen a lot of change since he’s been elected.” The Martelly administration has targeted the creation of 500,000 jobs over the next three years and, drawing inspiration from its neighbour, the Dominican Republic, sees big opportunities in tourism and mining.
Hachey says, “Thirty years ago there was no mining sector to speak of in the Dominican Republic, nor tourism. In that short period of time they’ve seen the development of [Barrick (TSX:ABX) and Goldcorp's (TSX:G)] Pueblo Viejo Project, which is one of the world’s largest gold deposits — and is pretty much a neighbour of ours. They’re going to be coming on with production this year.”
Hachey points out that “The mineralization does not stop at the border.” The Massif du Nord Metallogenic Belt stretches diagonally from Haiti’s north through to the southeast of the Dominican Republic, hosting both Pueblo Viejo and Majescor’s 50-square-kilometre Somine copper-silver-gold property (itself surrounded by a number of properties held in joint venture by Eurasian Minerals (TSXV:EMX) and Newmont Mining (TSX:NMC)).
Majescor owns about of Somine property, with the remainder held by Haitian private interests. “The property has been around for quite some time,” Hachey says. “It was first drilled in the 1970s by the UN Development Program, with some very good results. There was a feasibility study done by the Germans in 1980, and there was further drilling done in the 1990s by a Canadian junior. In as much as the property is pretty early stage from a general perspective, it’s not in terms of the work that’s been done on it.”
The three main areas of focus at Somine are the Douvray, Blondin and Faille B prospects, on which Majescor has completed roughly 4,000 metres of a two-phase, 10,000-metre drill program. April 11 assays from Blondin include:
•0.45% copper over 96.5 metres
•154 grams per tonne silver and 0.3% copper over 12 metres
(including 869 g/t silver and 0.61% copper over 1.5 metres)
March 13 results from Blondin include:
•72.4 g/t silver over 15 metres
•16.9 g/t silver and 0.43% copper over 113 metres
(including 6.2 g/t silver and 4.44% copper over 1.5 metres)
February 1 results from Douvray include:
•255 g/t silver, 0.35% copper and 0.02 g/t gold over 13.5 metres
(including 2,069 g/t silver, 0.52% copper and 0.04 g/t gold over 1.5 metres)
•277 g/t silver, 0.18% copper and 0.04 g/t gold over 13.5 metres
(including 1,428 g/t silver, 0.52% copper and 0.04 g/t gold over 1.5 metres)
Hachey comments, “What we’re most excited about is that we found some silver which was never really realized before. It’s the first silver discovery in Haiti. Part of the reason why it was never really discovered was that historically there was so much copper prevalent — there’s a lot of outcropping at surface. The people who did the work before did not do much testing, even for gold. The geology is a little complex for a copper porphyry, but in a good way. The surprises that we’re getting are all good ones.” Majescor has targeted 4Q of this year for Somine’s maiden resource estimate.
Hachey considers Majescor’s role as project de-risker rather than eventual producer. He says that Somine has already received interest from majors; and Chen Lin noted in a December 2011 interview with the Gold Report that “Newmont has been very interested in Majescor’s drilling program and even invited Majescor’s company executives to its office when I was there.”
Hachey emphasizes that the worst consequences of the earthquake are confined largely to Haiti’s capital — Port-au-Prince — and that conditions in the north of the country are quite different. He cites as an example the construction of a deep-water port at Caracol, located 15 kilometres from Somine, near Cap-Haïtien. Hachey notes, “The president of our Haitian subsidiary said that if he was younger, he would be moving his family to Cap-Haïtien because that is where the future of Haiti will be.”
Hachey concludes, “It’s an excellent project with great potential. We’ve had a great experience from a work perspective; the political situation is good; and we’ve got good relationships with the Bureau of Mines and the government overall. But this is more than just a mining story to us. There’s a big human interest aspect to it. We really want to make this work because we’re seeing the difference we’re making for these people. We have close to 150 Haitians working for us now. We’re training people: doing the things that we should be doing and that can help the country. The country needs that kind of help: companies coming in and spending money and putting people to work. It’s a rare opportunity.”
At press time, Majescor had 72.2 million shares trading at $0.135 for a market cap of $9.8 million. The company completed a $2.7 million financing in March. Majescor has two other properties: Besakoa, in Madagascar, under option with Sunridge Gold (TSXV:SGC), and Mistassini in Quebec, under option with Strateco Resources (TSX:RSC).