Re: January 2008
First Point's President update
Below is an update of interview with the Wall Street Transcript (WST)
conducted in December 2007 which provides a good overview of First
Point Minerals and our focus for 2008.
WST: What is First Point Minerals?
Dr. Bradshaw: First Point Minerals is a mineral exploration company
formed about 10 years ago by principals with a very good track record
of mine finding. The company is focused on gold and silver exploration
plus nickel exploration and extraction processes. The company largely
focuses on early stage properties, brings them to a more advanced
stage, basically to blocking out mineral reserves or resources,
demonstrating commercial viability, and then we plan to farm those out
to a much bigger mining companies. This is the activity where
shareholders can get the greatest share appreciation. In exceptional
circumstances, we could look at putting the property into production
ourselves if this would add significant shareholder value.
WST: Give us an idea of what the projects look like, the geography.
What's some of the history of those projects have been?
Dr. Bradshaw: We are focused in the Americas, North, South, and Central
America with offices in Vancouver, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and
Peru. The majority of our targets in these countries are precious metal
deposits of two types. Epithermal deposits which are generally
high-grade vein-style deposits, and are very common, and well
understood. Also high sulphidation gold deposits which are generally
very large and mined by open pit. Both styles of deposits occur in the
western part of the Americas. In Canada we are also focused on
exploration for nickel deposits amenable bulk tonnage mining and heap
leach extraction of the nickel.
WST: What has your progress been over the past year? If we were
speaking a year ago, what was on the list of things to do? What have
Dr. Bradshaw: Our most recent acquisition is a property we recently
optioned from TeckCominco in Mexico called Corralitos. We've started
work there in June of last year and have finished several phases of
surface work. We are at the stage of identifying drill targets and
plan to start drilling there fairly early in 2008. We also have more
advanced properties in Honduras and Nicaragua. We put Honduras on the
back burner because the government is re-writing the mining law. We
have a draft of that law. It looks entirely acceptable, but until
that's actually passed, we are not going to risk any more shareholders'
money there. In Canada we are looking at a particular form of
disseminated nickel deposit which is amenable to bulk tonnage mining
and heap leach extraction of the nickel. This is a somewhat novel
approach. While heap leach for gold has been a matter of routine about
25 years, and processes are being developed for copper and zinc, we
appear to be the company most advanced in developing this technology
for nickel. For this we are working together with the Metallurgy
Department at the University of British Columbia to define the best
process method for treating this type of mineralization.
WST: What is the financial snapshot of the company, balance sheet? What
are the strengths? Are there funding needs to address?
Dr. Bradshaw: Our cash position right now is quite modest. We have less
than $0.25 million in the bank, but we hold 1.2 million free-trading
shares of Aquila Resources, which is trading in the $1 range. Aquila
has a very attractive volcanogenic massive (VMS) sulphide deposit in
Michigan with exceptionally high gold credits. They completed a
reserve recourse calculation last year and have since been drilling
with 3 rigs and completed over 100 new drill holes which will be
included in a new study in 2008. In our view this is one of the best
developing VMS deposits in Eastern North America. We also have a number
of warrants coming due in March 1st of 2008, which will generate
another $2.3 million if they are all exercised. With these two factors
our financial position is very positive.
WST: Who are the key members of the top-level management team, two or
three of your management leaders, obviously including yourself?
Dr. Bradshaw: I am a mineral exploration geologist and had been my
whole working life. I have had the very good fortunate to be directly
involved with four discoveries around the world that went into
production, one gold mine in Australia, two gold mines in Papua New
Guinea, and a gold mine in Guyana in South America. Dr. Ron Britten is
our Vice President of Exploration. He is also a mineral exploration
geologist that's been involved in two significant discoveries, one here
in British Columbia and one another one in Papua New Guinea.
WST: What's the agenda at this point? Over the next 12 months, what are
some of the milestones or events that investors should anticipate?
Dr. Bradshaw: Going forward, on the Corralitos property in Mexico we
plan to start a drill program in the core area early in 2008 and also
extend our surface work beyond this area. However as a number of
readers will know, acquiring drill rigs can be a challenge, but we
think we have resolved that problem. Also, on the nickel front, we have
a couple of large properties here in Canada. Over the winter, we are
continuing to expand our work on the metallurgical side to develop the
most feasible method for extracting the nickel focusing on inexpensive
heap leach. Over next summer, we'll be expanding our nickel fieldwork.
We are also, particularly on the nickel side, looking for further
acquisitions both in Canada, but elsewhere in the world.
WST: What historically has been the shareholders base? Has that base
undergone any changes or recent transitions?
Dr. Bradshaw: It's not gone through any recent transitions. All our
fund-raising for the last six to seven years has been by private
placements, so it's all with sophisticated investors. Our underlying
shareholder base when we first formed was a group of about 15 senior
investors here in Vancouver. A number of them were from Placer Dome,
the company I worked with for a number of years before leaving and
working in the junior company exploration field. There are a couple
funds in the UK and a couple are here in Canada who hold ours shares.
We've also worked quite hard to keep our retail investor base up, so
there is good liquidity in the shares.
WST: In your discussions with the investment community and your
investors, are there any recurring questions or misperceptions? Is the
First Point Minerals story understood?
Dr. Bradshaw: I would say it is only partially understood. What I think
a number of the retail investors, in particular, have a hard time
understanding is the timeline in mineral exploration to go from a
prospect to demonstrating that there is likely an ore body present.
They would like us to have a pot of gold in your next drill hole (as we
would), and your stocks will go up by a factor of 10 overnight. That
may happen about once a decade somewhere in our business but it's a
very rare event. What is far more reliable is to build a property in a
series of steady steps from initial work to identification of a true
ore body that can be mined at a profit. I often liken mineral
exploration to a detective story, when you go on a property that you've
like. You think that there is a good chance that there is an ore body
there, but you may only have 2% or 3% of the information required to
make the right decision. You can always buy more information by doing
further exploration and that's what we do as a matter of routine. The
quicker you can make the correct decision with a least amount of money
the more successful you will be. For example if you get only 10% of
the information that you need and can correctly conclude that there is
no ore body there and drop the property, and focus your efforts on a
true winner, you are obviously much more efficient than someone who has
to pay for, and acquire over time, 25%, 50% or even 90% of the
necessary information to reach that conclusion.. We certainly don't
hesitate to drop properties, which we feel are very unlikely to produce
an economic ore body in a reasonable length of time. I think this
process is where our team is particularly good, efficiently finding
promising prospects, examining them with the least amount of money,
discarding those that don't make the grade and adding shareholder value
by advancing those that do. After a number of years examining very
many possibilities, testing and dropping most of them, I feel very
positive about our current properties. This "examination" period has
been very hard on our share price but we breaking out of that shell and
will have a lot of activity going forward. I think that is why a lot
of people have stuck with us and more will invest in First Point going
WST: For our investor audience, what are the key summary points? What
today would compel an investor to include First Point Minerals as part
of their current portfolio and part of their longer-term investment
Dr. Bradshaw: In both those categories, our work on nickel is very
compelling. We actually started this work 10 years ago, when nickel was
at $3.50 a pound. We concluded from our work at that time that we had a
potentially viable system of extracting nickel in a heap leach
environment for a particular style of nickel deposits. However at that
time, the economics didn't work out. Nickel is now in now well over $10
a pound or 3 times the price of copper making a "porphyry" style
deposit look very attractive. This will be a very steadily emerging
story starting now and expanding over a couple of years, and that we
believe will progressively add value to our share price. On the other
hand the time frame for our Corralitos property in Mexico is quite a
bit shorter, in the order of months, before we should be able to have a
number of drill holes with good gold and silver grades and this will
have a more immediate impact on our share price.
WST: What have I overlooked? Are there any items on your list to
include before you close?
Dr. Bradshaw: We are a very experienced and determined exploration
team. In our previous work experience we have had very significant
success in discovery and advancement of properties which have gone into
production. Between myself and Dr. Ron Britten, VP of Exploration,
we've being directly involved in a total of six deposits, which have
gone into commercial production or are in feasibility. We know what
they look like. We know how to look for them. We know how to find
them. In today's metal prices, which we feel are going to continue for
sometime, I think we provide a very good bet for investors.
WST: Thank you.
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