Gold has been on a terrific run lately, climbing from a 52-week low of $1,673 U.S. per ounce in March to back over $1,900 this month. The 52-week low needs to be kept in context as it only came after gold set an all-time high of $2,089 in August 2020. Part of the recent uptrend is owing to goldilocks numbers from the U.S. jobs market, including wage inflation continuing to increase, coming in at +0.5% in May after +0.7% in April.
On this trajectory, gold could be back over $2,000 an ounce again in a matter of months, or even weeks. Gold explorers have been benefiting from the favorable outlook. Graycliff Exploration Limited (CSE:GRAY) (OTCQB:GRYCF), a junior explorer making substantial progress at its Shakespeare Gold Project outside Sudbury, Ontario, has been a standout, rising 84% from 51 cents on May 12 to 94 cents on May 19. The stock has trickled back a little but is still holding most of the gains at 83 cents.
The catalysts are as fundamental as can be for an explorer: discovering gold and expanding the scale of the project. Investors respond to meaningful progress and a company hitting its milestones.
Graycliff’s Shakespeare project is located in the prolific Canadian Shield, an area rich in gold and other metals thought to be a top candidate to host Canada’s next bonanza gold mine. World-class mining camps like Timmins and Red Lake are hosted in the Canadian Shield. Shakespeare has history as an operating mine from 1903 to 1907, where arcane mining methods produced about 3,000 ounces of gold from six underground areas.
Results from a 1,500-metre phase 1 drill program completed late in 2020 at Shakespeare expanded gold zones and discovered new areas of mineralization. The list of highlights from this drilling included cuts of 8.59 grams per tonne (g/t) gold over 5.5 metres near surface, 5.51 g/t gold over 4.6 metres near surface, and 5.37 g/t gold across 5.0 metres.
On the heels of these results, Graycliff raised C$2.4 million in a private placement in April, enough cash to fund exploration at Shakespeare for the rest of the year.
A 2,000-metre phase 2 drilling was completed in April concentrating 14 core diamond holes on previously identified mineralization and the new mineralized zone identified in phase 1 drilling near the Shakespeare Mine’s Miller Shaft and above the Number 3 adit. Assay results are only now starting to trickle in and Graycliff has reason to be excited. The first results were only from part of one hole (dubbed #8) and included an intersect of 66.98 g/t gold over 3.0 metres, including cuts of 90.0 g/t gold over 0.7 metres and 137.0 g/t gold over 1.0 metre.
Furthermore, after paying a visit to the company’s core shack in May, Graycliff CEO James Macintosh teased investors with another bit of information ahead of the next batch of assay results. In a press release, the top Graycliff executive said, “I confirmed the presence of visible gold in three holes, in addition to Hole #8. [T]he core is showing great consistency from phase one to phase two,” he added.
As it awaits the full set of results, Graycliff snatched the property nearby Shakespeare, giving it one of the largest land packages in the region. The company acquired about 1,500 hectares called the Baldwin Project and staked another 13 claims covering 80 hectares abutting Shakespeare to build its land package to 2,525 hectares.
Speaking on the acquisition, Graycliff Technical Advisor and Qualified Person Bruce Durham said the team is “extremely encouraged by the very similar geological characteristics the Baldwin property has in common with Shakespeare.” Surface sampling, geophysical surveying, and prospecting at the Baldwin Project are getting underway.
On June 3, a phase three drilling program was launched to continue defining the mineralization at Shakespeare. The company has mobilized a second drill rig to expedite roughly 5,000 metres of core drilling. About 34 drill holes will be completed at an average of approximately 150 metres each.
The program will keep the focus in the vicinity of the Miller Shaft, while remaining fluid to identify new targets from ongoing 3D modeling based on assay results of the first two drilling programs, giving investors even more info to look forward to in the second half of the year.