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Conico (ASX:CNJ): Interview with Executive Director Guy Le Page
September 17, 2021
CNJ, Conico, video
We spoke with Executive Director Guy Le Page about Conico‘s (ASX:CNJ) significant opportunity represented by the Ryberg Project in eastern Greenland and the potential of the 2021 drilling season.
We also spoke about the issues around Greenland related to the massive Kvanefjeld Rare Earths project.
Stuart: Hello, and welcome to “Stocks Down Under.” My name is Stuart Roberts and I’m one of the founders of our publication. It’s Monday the 13th of September 2021. And joining me from Perth is Guy Le Page of RM Capital who is also a director of Conico ASX CNJ that we’re going to talk about today. Guy, good morning.
Guy: Morning, Stuart, and thanks for having me on the program.
Stuart: Pleasure to be here. So Conico, some investors who haven’t been paying attention might remember that there was some kind of cobalt project in Western Australia, but you and your colleagues have recently changed all that and the focus now is Greenland.
Guy: That’s right. We still have the cobalt project and still reviewing the prefeasibility study but, you know, biding for high cobalt process, I think it’s fair to say.
Guy: We picked up Longland Resources late last year and most of our attention late last year for the balance of 2020 field season and all of this year is been geared around exploration in Greenland.
Stuart: Yes. And now Greenland has a bad reputation in the minds of some investors because of the Kvanefjeld Rare-Earth project of which Greenland has fought an election earlier this year. You’re a long, long way from that and a whole lot less controversial because as far as I can tell at Ryberg there’s not a trace of uranium right now.
Guy: No, that’s correct. I mean most of the controversy was around the uranium and the processing of the uranium on shore at Kvanefjeld and it’s obviously one of the world’s largest undeveloped Rare-Earth project. So fortunately for us we’re a long way wide on the other side of Greenland in east Greenland and no uranium detected on our project. So that’s why, you know, we’re not going to come under the microscope from the Greenlandic government.
Stuart: But what you have got, thanks to Thomas Abraham-James and his colleagues who’ve bought the Longland project into your books, is basically a new greenstone belt where there are some massive sulfides that are highly prospective for copper and nickel is what we’re seeing so far.
Guy: That’s right. I mean the story is emerging this year. We’re still learning and not much is known about that part of the Greenland geology, but we went in there on the back of these very extensive tertiary aged docs which were interpreted to contain magmatic sulfides and now we’re striking up to 50 kilometers northeast and with anomalous nickel, copper, palladium, and cobalt, platinum, and gold intermittently over that distance. And the program this year has shown that not only that, but we’ve also got greenstone belts which were drilled, and we’ve also revealed potentially volcanogenic massive sulphides in the newly discovered [inaudible 00:03:16] project. So the whole tenement is really opening up at the moment.
Stuart: That’s right. And what you’ve got is a massive amount of territory. Given the serious under exploration of this part of Greenland, were you able to get four and a half thousand square kilometers in the Ryberg project without trying too hard.
Guy: That’s right. Well, I think most people thought it was still covered with us but there’s been a serious amount of ice retreat in the last 10 years. Thomas first stepped foot on there when he started Longland Resources which we acquired last year back in 2008. And since that time, you know, these places that were traded up to [inaudible 00:03:57]. So it’s revealed a lot of geology this field season and not surprising we’re finding things every time we step on the ground.
Stuart: Now, I’ve actually brought my map of Greenland here, you can see this. So, there’s where Kvanefjeld is way down in the south of Greenland. You’re here on the east coast and you’re actually closer to Iceland than any big towns in Greenland where all the equipment comes from, right?
Guy: That’s right. Yeah. So our staging process here is a fjord. So we shipped most of our equipment direct to the Miki field. So I think it’s about 400 kilometers. In fact, we had our project geologist who was in transit from Athens couldn’t get a flight and he went across on a 40-foot sailing boat from Iceland to Miki Fjord about four weeks ago. So we’re glad he made it. The logistics are quite good because we’ve got a ship in Miki Fjord , we’ve got choppers, Miki prospect, in fact, is only about five, six minutes by chopper, and Sortekap, which was the other prospect we hit first is only about 15 minutes, and the new one [inaudible 00:05:17] is about eight minutes. So logistics, you know, while we got to deal with cold weather, haven’t actually gotten too bad.
Stuart: Right. And in terms of there being a field season, well, mainly for drilling but also for soil sampling and stuff, how restricted are we up in that part of Greenland?
Guy: Well, next year we plan to come back in early April probably with an ice breaker, but we can go through the middle of September. So the benefit is we’ve got 24-hour [inaudible 00:05:46] to match with that theory. So, yeah, we could possibly create an equivalent of 9, 10 months of exploration if you look at sort of double shifting. So, you know, we’re going to push the boundaries a bit next year, but we’re confident we can get into the low-level areas at [inaudible 00:06:08] and Miki early next year.
Stuart: Yeah. What was impressive to me is the first ever drill hole in this project came in late July and we were able to confirm that they were massive sulfides in the neighborhood but more importantly there was shows of well, the three beautiful words that rang to my ears is a bit of chalcopyrite, a bit of pyrite and a bit of [inaudible 00:06:30]. So that’s kind of promising for the nickel, copper that we were looking for, right?
Guy: Incredible. Yeah. I mean, normally, you know, you’re spending years trying to get an intersection like that, but to hit it with the first drill hole is quite remarkable. We’re not surprised on the mineralization because mainly above that we see this big class of [inaudible 00:06:52], pyrite, also high in palladium. So what we can’t see are palladium, cobalt, and gold, but we can see in the samples is the palladium, cobalt, and gold and platinum. So that’s going to be a bit of a revelation when these assays start drifting in, you know, in the next three to four weeks.
Stuart: All right. What lab are you sending them to a local one or I’m guessing Greenland?
Guy: No, we’re actually preparing and doing the sample preps in Spain and shipping the pulps back to Indutech in Calgary.
Guy: [inaudible 00:07:31].
Stuart: This is a truly global business, I must say.
Stuart: Now, what’s also interesting to me then is that, and obviously, you know, there’s a lot still to be learned about the greenstone belts that you’re defining in that part of Greenland. But the comparison with Voisey’s Bay was interesting, little globular sulfides there at the surface and the massive ones underneath. There are certain similarities to that potentially to [inaudible 00:07:56], Russia as well.
Guy: That’s right. I mean we’re looking at [inaudible 00:08:00] it’s very early days yet but the magmatic sulfides, we do see some similarities to Voisey’s Bay certainly some similarities in the middle tenors to [inaudible 00:08:14]. Some people have [inaudible 00:08:17] and said it looks like a plant race assemblage. The volcanogenic mass of sulfides at [inaudible 00:08:24] probably resemble more the Iberian Pyrite Belt which is a well-known volcanogenic massive sulphide province. So as usual, lots of theories, lots of ideas, but plenty of work over the summer to have someone to confirm, you know, what we’ve actually got.
Stuart: Certainly. And, of course, with [inaudible 00:08:46] you first talked about that would’ve been 31st of August and we’re yet to put a drill bit down there. This is just you’ve traversed the area and done some sampling and collected the [inaudible 00:08:56] and so forth and it’s promising based on what you’re seeing there, right?
Guy: That’s right. In fact, we just put down the first hole last week. I haven’t seen any results of it yet, but that’s going to be pretty interesting. I mean it’s a 15 square cay area so far, but I think that’s going to get a lot bigger. We’ll probably fill next field season because they found massive sulfide boulders as far away as Miki, which looks similar to what we’re seeing in [inaudible 00:09:22]. So that area of mineralization could be quite extensive. So yeah, it’s got to be really interesting.
Stuart: All right. In [inaudible 00:09:32], both nickel and copper are pushing up highs we haven’t seen in a long while. Basically, your big challenge at the moment is twofold. You need to raise some capital and as we speak the stock is in trading hole. So you’re flagging it. You’ll be writing some shortly. But also, you’ve still got to do some work to teach people that Greenland remains open for business for good mining projects, right?
Guy: That’s right. I think, you know, there has been mining in Greenland for a long time. I mean, there was the Mesas led a zinc mine in the 50s and 60s which is the prospect we have to the north of Ryberg. You know, there’s been some other gold mines further south of us developed. So it’s not that, you know, mining is foreign, but the style of the Kvanefjeld project was a lot bigger than anything Greenland has seen before, and it was an area that was near a population even though as far as I can see there was going to be no detrimental effects at all on that population. But this project has no settlements whatsoever in the vicinity. You know, the nearest settlements, [inaudible 00:10:47] which is several hundred kilometers away. So it really is very isolated. I mean, the only thing we have is the occasional visit from a polar bear. So I think we can deal with them.
Stuart: Hopefully, the bears remain polar bears and not bears in the marketplace.
Guy: Well, that’s right. I think the neighboring project major precious metals had a polar bear climb up the ship and stick its head in the porthole the other day. It was rumored that an angry shareholder commissioned that bear to go and sort some things out, but we’ll see.
Stuart: Right. Now, in all seriousness, a lot of people don’t realize Greenland is still a possession of Denmark, but to all intents and purposes it’s independent. They have elections. They have a parliament. And, you know, they’re looking to their future beyond being just a fishing colony and beginning to tap their mineral wealth. So part of the controversy at Kvanefjeld was just, you know, how much of the people of Greenland benefit from the mineral wealth that clearly you and other companies are beginning to elucidate.
Guy: That’s right and I think there are a lot of countries around the world that are starting to recognize that Greenland has enormous mineral potential and particularly the area we are in because it’s one of the largest volcanic events on the planet.
Guy: So the mineralization potential is enormous. I think it’s a matter of sort of bringing the Greenlandic people along with the process because if there is going to be larger-scale mining, you know, it will have a very large positive impact on the country perhaps enabling them to be more financially independent from Denmark which supports them to the tune of about $600 million US every year.
Guy: So there is a benefit there. It’s a matter of implementing responsible mining processes and, you know, trying to educate the community and the government, you know, we’re there for the long-term and looking to manage the environment. You know, it is an area that gets a lot of attention from Greenpeace and other environmental groups. So we’ve got to be seen to be doing the right thing but actually undertaking responsible mining.
Stuart: Totally. Well, I got a page well done on what you and your colleagues at Conico have achieved in the very short time since you got involved in Greenland and here’s to some great news flow in the next six months or so.
Guy: Great. Thanks, Stuart and I’ll look forward to it and I’m sure a lot of people are going to be watching.