Constantine spins off gold assets, stakes future on Palmer Project

Liz Cornejo explains the Palmer Project at a public forum focused on mining and water on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Cornejo is vice president of community and external affairs for Canadian company Constantine Metal Resources Limited. (Photo by Daysha Eaton, KHNS)

Liz Cornejo explains the Palmer Project at a public forum focused on mining and water in April 2018. Cornejo is vice president of community and external affairs for Canadian company Constantine Metal Resources Limited. (Photo by Daysha Eaton, KHNS)

Constantine Metal Resources is staking its future on mineral exploration at the Palmer Project north of Haines. It will be their sole focus — the company spun off its other properties into another company called HighGold.

“The reason for doing that for Constantine is really to focus our resources of Constantine into the Palmer Project,” said Liz Cornejo, vice president of community and external affairs for the Canadian company.

“When a project like the Palmer project is more advanced and has the success that it’s been having, it’s nice to have its own vehicle to move forward.”

The corporate spinoff took about a year and was official on August 1st. Stock value dropped by a quarter over the last weekend, but economists say that’s typical activity after a transition. Constantine Metal Resources is publicly traded, so shareholders voted on the change. Stockholders will get one share of HighGold stock for every three shares of Constantine stock they hold.

The Palmer Project cleared major milestones this year. They released a preliminary economic assessment, a promise to investors that there’s value in the property. They aren’t mining yet, but they completed all the necessary regulatory hurdles to expand their exploration operations underground next year.

Vice President of Exploration Darwin Green told Proactive Investors that the quick turnaround on permitting was a good sign for the company.

“Seven months, basically, since we’ve submitted, and I think it’s a great testament and sign that Alaska’s open for business,” he told the program’s host.

He’s echoing a line from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first speech as state governor to the Alaska Mining Association. Green is now the president and CEO of HighGold.  He will stay on part-time at Constantine as they begin phase two of exploration next year.

The company closed their exploration drilling and mapping at the Palmer Project early this season to concentrate on the corporate transition and raise funds for phase two of exploration. Liz Cornejo says that fundraising will begin once the dust has settled from the HighGold spinoff.

“I can’t say for sure how much it’s going to cost because we’re still working with contractors and bidders on that. But it’ll be, you know, north of 10 or even $20 million. It’s a big investment, a big piece of infrastructure,” she said.

Japanese joint venture partner DOWA Metals and Mining is financing 49% of the project.

Meanwhile, local conservation groups are contesting the waste management permits that would allow Constantine to begin that underground construction next year.

Conservation groups ask DEC to reconsider Palmer Project permits

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