Interview with Dustin Perry, CEO of Kingfisher Metals (TSX-V:KFR) Newly listed Kingfisher Metals is an exploration company focused on 100% owned Copper and Gold in British Columbia.
The company was founded in 2019 and has 3 high prospectivity projects focused on orogenic Gold and volcanic massive sulphide deposits on Copper and Gold. These are large projects which have the potential for multiple discoveries.
The Ecstall Project is located at tidewater and 60km from the resource town of Kitimat. This project covers the majority of the highly prospective and under-explored Ecstall Greenstone Belt. Historic data compilation and a property-wide VTEM survey have outlined over 40 Cu-Au VMS targets.
The Goldrange Project is located along the same crustal-scale fault network as the Bralorne Mine (Talisker/Osisko). The project covers a significant deformation zone with highly anomalous Au-As signatures in historic rock, stream, and soil sampling. The project contains numerous zones of high-grade gold mineralization.
The Thibert Project straddles the crustal-scale Thibert fault for 25km. The project covers a significant deformation zone with widespread silica-fuchsite alteration, common to orogenic systems. The project is located adjacent to Highway 37 and covers a past and currently producing placer camp with historic production of ~200,000 oz Au.
Kingfisher Metals has extensive experience in early-stage exploration in British Columbia which is a safe and predictable jurisdiction for exploration and mining. The company has $6M in the bank and with exploration at the Goldrange property being the main priority, plans to spend about $4M on a substantial drilling programme at the project. Kingfisher Metals carried out extensive field work at the Goldrange project last summer and this is where they will spend the bulk of their capital. They are also moving forward with the Ecstall project but will take things slower there and they need to start their first programme to collect baseline data at The Thibert project.
The Goldrange project is in a good jurisdiction, close to infrastructure and has historical data, but is underexplored due to limited work programmes in the past and hasn’t had any drilling. Kingfisher Metals has found Gold anomalies on the property and now need to produce some good results to show to the market. The field programme at Goldrange will start in early May with drilling planned to start on July 1st. They have the contractors lined up ready to go and are in the final stages of permitting now.
Drill results should be coming out from Goldrange in early September but there will be plenty of data and news flow coming from the field before then as they need to show some success and get the story out to the market.
Matthew Gordon: Why don’t you kick off and give us that 1-minute overview of the company and I’ll pick it up with some questions after that?
Dustin Perry: Yeah, absolutely. Kingfisher is a new issuer. We started the company in 2019. It was founded by combining all of our networks. We really tried to cover Capital Market’s experience but also our foundation is really in strong technical skills and geology. We’re really driven and motivated. We’ve put together 3 really good high-prospectivity projects that are focused on orogenic Gold and volcanogenic massive Sulphide deposits for Copper, Gold there, and then orogenic Gold at the other ones. They’re large projects. There’s the potential for multiple discoveries on each project. They are early stage but we’re in this sweet spot right. We’re going to be drilling this summer at Goldrange and the discovery potential is really high. These are some of the best projects I’ve ever worked on.
Matthew Gordon: Let’s talk about the team. Who are you and what have you done in the past that’s made shareholders money?
Dustin Perry: This is my first public company, so I’ve made myself money as a geologist, done a lot of work that has benefited shareholders indirectly, but this is my first public company. Dave Loretto, the co-founder, has been involved with a few other companies as a director but we’re both pretty new to this. The rest of the people on the team are pretty seasoned. Rick Trotman has worked for RCF for a long time, he’s now the CEO at Barksdale resources, also a young guy though, so also really driven and motivated. Our CFO, our corporate secretary, and another director Chris Beltgens have all worked in a variety of different roles, as an accountant, as a counsel, and as an investment banker in London. They really just keep the machine rolling and then our tech team, including our VPX Gayle Febbo, are just really strong technical people. Jim Miller and Greg Liller would be the older people on the board that have been involved, between them I think they have about 70-years of mining experience, and then the other young geologists are Zach and Francis, who are involved with Kenorland, who’s a new issuer as well.
Matthew Gordon: Do you feel you’ve got the balance as you need it? You’ve not run a public company before, you’re going to get pulled in all directions. Any other signings?
Dustin Perry: We’re also got Alex Langer and Hugh Rogers who are helping us out a tremendous amount. We’ve got a group chat going with them where we bounce questions off every single day and they’re very quick to answer. They have a large ownership in the company as they started the CBC we did the RTO with. They’ve had a lot of success in the markets and have really educated us a lot and helped us tailor our marketing planning, and really just how to get the message out, coming from a geologist. How not to make those mistakes and blunders of being too technical and really just demonstrating that we have the ability to raise capital and cover all these pillars, good projects, good technically, but also access to capital, ability to tell the story.
Matthew Gordon: Let’s talk about the deal. You’ve obviously done this bringing an asset into the shell. Where did you find it? How did it come to you? What is it? What are they? You’ve got 3, sorry.
Dustin Perry: We started with the Ecstall project. I put that together in 2018 up until the end of the year when I brought Dave Loretto in, we significantly increased the size of it. It’s a project I’d been looking at since very early in my career. The ground became available, and we were able to put it together and really just tell a story with it, which enabled us to take the company, not public, but form a company and do our initial seed financing. We did work on that but then we brought in these other 2 projects that really enabled us to go public. Without them, we couldn’t be a single-asset company and we needed to pivot into the Gold space, which we did at a really good time just before things took off at the beginning of 2020.
Matthew Gordon: I’m looking at the register, it’s not mentioning names on there, some big holdings by the management team - you would expect so at this market cap, but who are the other people that are sniffing around or that you’ve been talking to that want to get involved?
Dustin Perry: From the ground up, we went to our network and actually had a higher success rate on the pitches of getting all the kinds of geologists and really seasoned people in the exploration industry around Vancouver. A lot of people believed in our drive and they also wanted to see the Ecstall project get worked. Jamie Keech’s Resource Insider group brought in about half of that first million that we raised and then since then, with a lot of help from Alex and Hugh, we’ve gotten in front of a lot of different institutions. Commodity Capital came in on the $0.25 placement. A large family office came in for a substantial amount out of Europe. Another investment club, lots of other people from Europe. Then from North America, we brought Crescat in for a significant amount and a lot of broker support too. We actually got EMX Royalty to come in for a pretty rare equity position without a Royalty. A good vote of confidence on our technical capacity and our projects.
Matthew Gordon: We spoke to David Cole this week, why on earth did they do that?
Dustin Perry: I’ve known them for a long time just from the round up and networks and bumping into them and they’ve always wanted to back something because I’ve always been really into it. Same with Francis, we’ve always had a lot of technical discussions and they knew we were driven geologists, and that’s what they wanted to back. They liked the projects and we’ve got a good relationship with them.
Matthew Gordon: How much cash have you got today?
Dustin Perry: Just over $6M.
Matthew Gordon: How are you going to deploy that? What’s the priority?
Dustin Perry: The priority will be on exploration, putting money into the ground. This summer, we haven’t finalised our budget, but it will probably be in the range of around $4M and we’re going to do a substantial project at our Goldrange project that will include a proposed 5,000m drill program and then a lot of regional work. We had a lot of success in a very limited time with regional work this past summer with a really small team bootstrapping it, sleeping on the ground in tents, but given that success and the prospectivity of the project, I’m very confident we’ll have a lot more success. And then at Ecstall, we’re taking a slightly slower approach there. It’s a little more expensive to work so we really need to allocate capital in a smart manner so that we’re not blowing money without de-risking it prior to that. And then at Thibert, we just need to do our first program there to get some baseline data as we haven’t been there yet.
Matthew Gordon: You know what you’re doing on the ground. How do you build the following, the growth story, for people in the market to give you a chance on the next raise at a higher rate? What are you going to have to deliver to the market?
Dustin Perry: We’re going to have to show them that we don’t waste money, we’re doing the right thing, and we’re doing what we said we were going to do. We need to do that. We do need to have some success obviously and I am confident we will have that. And then we need to do a really good job of telling the story. This is my only job and I need to be out there, beating the drum for kingfisher and just converting what we’re trying to do and comparing what this might equate to if we have success.
Matthew Gordon: When you say you need to deliver success, what does that look like? What do you think you’re going to have to be delivering in the market? Because orogenic can be bulk with some high-grade veins. It can be different things to different people, so what does it mean to you?
Dustin Perry: We need to show the market that we’re onto a significant system that could have the potential for 4Moz, something in that range. Very significant. To do that, we need to show good intercepts. I’m hopeful that we can have intercept in the 100g/m range. That’s a very forward-looking statement but the clues we’re seeing so far indicate that and I think that’s why we’re getting interest from people like EMX. This isn’t even based on what we’ve released yet from our work last summer. This is just based on the historic compilation we’ve done on the project. It makes sense. It was an under-recognised type of deposit in BC for a long time, good evidence for that is core mining spinout just staked a huge number of claims in the Barkerville area. The fact that those were still available when Osisko purchased Barkerville is hard to imagine but in BC, a lot of people just want to go after Porphyry Copper and Gold, or they’re just in the Golden triangle. A lot of other incredibly prospective ground is ignored. That’s where we focused on because we didn’t want to overpay for projects. We have 100% control of these. We didn’t want to dilute the share structure too much by acquiring projects in which we haven’t. That allows us to put more money into the ground, which gives us better odds of a discovery, which benefits our shareholders.
Matthew Gordon: It’s all well and good finding Gold but you’ve got to do it economically. Are you in the right part of the world in terms of being supported by local infrastructure that you’re not going to have to pay for?
Dustin Perry: There’s forest service road access within 10km of either end of the project. It is helicopter access but to me, that’s actually a benefit because it didn’t see a lot of prospecting back in the day, prior to the era of helicopters, but it’s a short flight. It’s 6-minutes. I’m at Goldrange right now, in the background here you can see beautiful weather, it is mountainous but that’s what we’re used to working in, and in the trees behind my shoulder here, this is actually the main target. It’s not on top of a mountain, it’s actually in the forest. It’s near infrastructure. Williams Lake is 3-hours away from it. There are big mines around Williams Lake, it’s a big resource town, a paved road coming to within 30-minutes’ drive of the property with good access up to that 10km point, I noted. They’re logging right near the edge of the project right now. It’s pretty well located. The weather is excellent, which goes a long way for not paying standby time and it’s in BC, which is a good spot to be in terms of infrastructure.
Matthew Gordon: You’ve said it’s your full-time job, great. How much money have you put into this?
Dustin Perry: Combined, Dave Loretto and I both put in around $80,000 to put the Ecstall project together, and we’ve ended that for seed shares. Then the first year we worked without a salary, which was actually a big deal for us. Last year, I did take a salary and effectively used the majority of it to pay off the debt I accumulated over the previous year. I got a mortgage, and I was struggling the year before. We could have done it differently, taken a salary, and then put more of that back into equity but that’s the past and we’ve got to move forward. If anybody has any issues with that, they can follow this story and learn that I’m pretty ethical and I’m giving everything I can to this company right now. I’m all in.
Matthew Gordon: Are you going to be relying on others to be talking to the market for you, or are you going to be the face of this thing, or are you going to be in the field? How are you going to play this?
Dustin Perry: This is my job, talking to people, 100% I’m still involved with the geology a lot. These days, a lot of that comes down to me working in the evenings and going through all the messages from our team on Slack but I have, over the last few months, really moved away from that and we’ve increased our geology team. We actually hired 8 young geologists or students for the summer. We hired another senior geo, so we’re got 2 senior geos, a VPX, a junior geo, and then 8 more. We’re well-staffed. We actually got ahead of the curve on that and beat a lot of other companies. We got the cream of the crop. My job is to tell this story.
Matthew Gordon: What were the sorts of questions you were getting around this when you were doing these roadshows? What were they concerned about? What were the big questions?
Dustin Perry: During the last financing?
Matthew Gordon: You were going around talking to a few institutions and a few of the brokers and so forth. There are a lot of Gold stories out there. Were they like, oh my goodness, not another Gold story?
Dustin Perry: Without a doubt, the biggest questions had nothing to do with our technical skills or our projects. It was, can you market this? Can you attract capital? Can you tell the story? Can you relate with shareholders? 100%, that was the biggest question. I think we can do that. I think we are doing that, and we’ll do whatever it takes to do that going forward. We have the people around us to coach and mentor us to do those things. I’m well aware that that’s my role. I can’t just prospect all summer anymore. I will go out there occasionally because part of my job is also to motivate my team and to make sure they’re doing everything right, and also being able to tell the story, I do need to see what’s happening on the ground, but ultimately, my job is to keep shareholders happy, communicate the message, make sure we trade well on good news, and keep the coffers full so our excellent team can keep on doing good work.
Matthew Gordon: We get the orogenic bit but technically, what do you know now, before you get into this, before you start deploying capital? What data have you had access to?
Dustin Perry: There was a lot of historic data that we all compiled and had digitised. There’s a lot of Gold anomalism around the property. Quite a few different zones are defined by samples above 20g/t with very limited work programs on them. A lot of them had a 3 or 4-day, or some of them had a couple of seasons, but no drilling. There was 1 really standout Gold in soil anomaly that caught our attention, that’s why we picked up the project. That was the initial claim we purchased encompassed that then we built that out and staked a lot more ground. We saw the regional story that there was potential for more of these and we are chasing district-scale projects. We want something that a major will actually buy. This isn’t a pump and dump or anything like that. We’re not just trying to get the share price up on a real estate play. We’re trying to find a mine and that’s the only thing we’re trying to do, and we won’t stop until we do. That’s the goal. We saw those signs there and we saw something that was already de-risked and that there was already a really good anomaly there that must have a system driving it.
Matthew Gordon: How do you de-risk that further? What is the process? How much time and money do you think this is going to take to build it into something where you are going to start attracting the attention of others, where you can start talking about it truly in terms of a district-wide play? What’s the process?
Dustin Perry: The process began last summer. We had to go and confirm this work and provide a lot more detail and create an explanation for it. That’s what caught our eyes. There was this great anomaly there that didn’t have much of a geological explanation and the ones that were there didn’t fit where it was in the world, or where it was in BC. We saw that opportunity. It’s on the trend, a long way away but the same structural setting, the same regional district as the Bralorne project, which produced 4.2Moz at 17.7g/t. In that camp now where Osisko is exploring, Endurance Gold with Reliance is finding another system. We’ve gone through all that data in great detail so that we can prepare our own area to that to really see the similarities and as a team, we knew those Endurance results were - I just don’t have the money to invest but we knew those were going to have Gold under those drills before it drilled and we were all kicking ourselves because at $0.13 or $0.15, you’re like that’s going to be great and looks very similar to some of the things we’re seeing on our project. Just the scale of our project is massive and under explored. We see such a big opportunity there. What we did last summer was evaluate a lot of these individual showings, but the bulk of the work was focused on understanding this one big Cloud Drifter trend anomaly and getting it ready for drilling. We’re 95% of the way there, we just need to do a little bit of IPG physics on it and that will be the final component we need before we drill it. This is going to be the highest degree of conviction I’ve ever had in my career by a long shot going into a drill program. It’s astounding, actually.
Matthew Gordon: How can you say that? Why do you feel that way? I’m intrigued.
Dustin Perry: Well, last summer’s field program went really well. We will be releasing that news in the coming weeks and months, but it was hard to have a bad day in the field, and our team, it was the same way. I was out there for about 45-days while doing a financing. I was sometimes going back to the helicopter base to take calls for a day. Every day was a good day there. There was never a bad day there. You found quartz veining every day. I can’t comment on the grades obviously, or whether or not there was Gold there, but when you see that big Gold in soil anomaly, I think we’ve made pretty good sense of what’s going on there or where we’re at. You need to drill it to really understand it in 3D but there’s definitely an orogenic system that is driving that and I think it’s there for the taking, for the drill bit to sort it out.
Matthew Gordon: There you go. We’ll leave it there. You’ve come out of the gate really strong; I can feel the conviction in your voice and I’m excited for you. Come back on soon and let us know how you get on. When are you going to be starting this drill program?
Dustin Perry: We’re going to start the field program in early-May. You can work there pretty early. That photo you see behind me is actually in October, it was 22 degrees in the Alpines. We’re going to start early; everything’s in the planning stage right now. We are in the final stages of getting our permit so I can’t give a firm date, but we have lined everything up for July 1st for drilling.
Matthew Gordon: Beautiful.
Dustin Perry: If that goes according to schedule, we’ve got the contractors lined up and everything, so we’ve done the bulk of the work. If that goes according to schedule, and depending on assay turnaround this year, it could be assay results coming in as early as early-September, but there’ll be a lot of other field data coming through before that, plus all our results from last year. A lot of news flow.
Matthew Gordon: Dustin, do stay in touch. We like these stories; we understand the team you’ve got there and know a few of them. So best of luck to you and we’ll speak soon.
Dustin Perry: Thank you, Matt. Have a good weekend.
To find out more, go to Kingfisher Metals' Website.
Any advice contained in this website is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situations or needs. You should not rely on any advice and / or information contained in this website or via any digital Crux communications. Before making any investment decision we recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your situation and seek appropriate financial, taxation and legal advice.