Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (TSX-V: BAY; OTCQB: ATBHF): Exploring a New High-Grade, Near-Surface Discovery in the Gold-Rich Region of Virginia, USA; Interview with Thomas Ullrich, CEO



The following guest post interview of CEO Thomas Ullrich from Aston Bay Holdings (TSX-V: BAY) was done by Dr. Allen Alper, of Metals News. I found it to be very helpful in getting investors up to speed. All eyes are now on the next press release (any day now) where results from 10 drill holes done in March will be announced.

From the June 10th press release,

“Logging of the core confirmed that the 2020 drilling has intersected veining and alteration similar to that encountered in the 2019 drilling of the zone, which included core-length intercepts of up to 35.6 g/t Au over 2.03m and 24.7 g/t Au over 3.57m in gold-bearing quartz veins, as well as 2.2 g/t Au over 18.1m and 1.9 g/t Au over 22.2m in adjacent but separate sericite-quartz-pyrite alteration zones.”

Additional soil samples illustrate the highly anomalous nature of the Buckingham Main Zone with gold-in-soil values of up to 10.35 g/t Au. Grab sample assays were as high as 701 g/t Au (20.4 oz. per short ton!), both the soil & grab grades are quite good.

A few near-surface hits this year, comparable to that of 2019, would build considerable confidence in management’s exploration approach. Eight more holes of about 100m each are underway. This Phase 2 drill program is based largely on recently updated gold-in-soil geochemical data.

Phase 2 extends the zone of drilling 100m to the southeast & 100m to the west. A total of 18 holes, (~2,000 meters) on top of six holes (878 meters) in 2019, is a good start towards a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Buckingham Gold project next year.

High-grade, near-surface gold ounces in a low-cost, year-round jurisdiction like Virginia are likely to be judged valuable. If combined with enough lower-grade, widely disseminated gold, I believe a maiden mineral resource estimate in the hundreds of thousands of ounces could be achieved. Now, without further preamble, the guest post interview from Metals News…. NOTE: Aston Bay is an advertiser on Epstein Research and Peter Epstein owns shares in the Company.

Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (TSX-V: BAY; OTCQB: ATBHF) is a mineral exploration company exploring for gold & base metal deposits in Virginia, USA, & Nunavut, Canada. We learned from Thomas Ullrich, CEO & Director that they have a brand new high-grade, near-surface discovery at the Buckingham Gold Project, Virginia, in the best jurisdiction in the world. In the near-term, Aston Bay will focus exclusively on their Virginia project, where they have significant high-grade intercepts. In addition, they will be doing prospecting & exploration sampling around some past-producing mines, on their other property in Virginia.

This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, interviewing Thomas Ullrich, CEO & Director of Aston Bay Holdings. Tom, could you give our readers / investors an overview of your Company and what differentiates your Company from others? 

Thomas Ullrich: Aston Bay is an exploration-stage company looking for gold in Virginia. That’s really what we’re after right now. At our Buckingham Gold Property, we have a brand new discovery, it’s high-grade gold at surface, in what I think is the best jurisdiction in the world, Virginia, USA. Virginia is a forgotten jurisdiction, but absolutely fantastic for exploration. At Buckingham we’re looking to make this small high-grade discovery into something much bigger.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Could you tell our readers / investors a little bit about your experienced team? 

Thomas Ullrich: Sure. We have a very small team and we like it that way. We like to keep it lean and keep costs low. There’s myself, I’m CEO. Before Aston Bay, I was a geologist and worked for major & junior mining companies, small exploration companies, and universities. Most recently, I was Chief Geologist North America for Antofagasta Minerals, a big Chilean mining company. Before that I was on the drill rig at Almaden Minerals’ Ixtaca discovery. 

The only other full-time employee at Aston Bay is Sofia Harquail, who runs the IR and Corp. Dev. for us. One of our real strengths is our Advisory Board. At the moment, I think the most notable advisor we have is Don Taylor. Don is the former COO and founder of Arizona Mining

With Arizona Mining, Don took a small Company, made a discovery and the Company was eventually bought out by South32 Minerals for $1.3 billion. Don’s a proven mine finder, a very experienced geologist, and is the source for Aston Bay’s Virginia properties. 

Our Virginia Properties were part of Don Taylor’s private company that we merged with last year for Aston Bay shares. Don stayed on as an advisor to direct the exploration and we couldn’t have a more experienced and respected guy, a proven mine finder behind us here. 

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, it’s great to have him on your team. He is so knowledgeable and so accomplished, in addition to your experience and background. You have a small, but very strong team. Could you tell our readers / investors a little bit about your share structure? 

Thomas Ullrich: We have about 163M shares outstanding. Right now, we are trading at about C$0.095 or C$0.10 on the TSX-V. We also trade on the OTCQB, which is quite tightly held. 

About 7% is held by Management + Insiders. I own about 2% of the stock. We have some strong institutions at about 16%. Last year our average daily trading volume was over half a million shares on the TSX Venture. We currently have about half a million dollars in cash, which is earmarked for our exploration drill program down in Virginia. 

Dr. Allen Alper: It sounds very good. Could you tell our readers / investors a little bit about the Blue Ridge Properties, in Virginia? 

Thomas Ullrich: There are two main thrusts of our exploration at the Blue Ridge Properties in Virginia. One is a well-endowed base metals belt, copper, zinc, lead & cobalt. Those are the main metals that we are looking at there and can be viewed as Broken Hill / VMS-hosted types of deposits. 

At the moment, the market really isn’t interested in base metal projects, so we’re focusing on the other main thrust of our Virginia properties, the gold potential there. People have forgotten that Virginia is a historic gold mining district. Before the California Gold Rush, Virginia, along with North & South Carolina, was the preeminent gold mining district in the U.S.

Since then, people have forgotten about the rich gold mining potential on the East Coast and Virginia, and not much has been done since the late 1800’s. A notable exception is the Haile Gold Mine. But just recently, in the last decade or so, the exploration was refocused. Romarco Minerals, for example, shifted the exploration focus from looking at the small high-grade deposits, into re-exploring brownfields properties and what was in the potential mineralized halo, specifically around the original Haile Mine. 

Romarco looked at what was a historic small producer and hit it with a modern exploration and mining mindset. It has subsequently been bought by OceanaGold and is now an operating mine with about five million ounces, a significant amount of gold. That is a good example of the size of the gold endowments you can find on the east coast when you take a new look at some of the old past-producing areas. 

We’re focusing exclusively on gold exploration in Virginia. The Buckingham Gold Project was discovered in 2015. We had one drill program there last year, and we are in the middle of a drill program right now. The current program was interrupted, for a short time, by the COVID restrictions, but we are back drilling exploration holes again. We have high-grade gold at surface, and downhole, there were some very high-grade intercepts from our drilling last summer. We’re talking 24.7 g/t over 3.6 meters.

Also associated with this are some zones of lower-grade disseminated mineralization, we’re talking a few g/t. In one hole last year, we hit it in two areas for a total of ~40m of ~2 g/t gold. That’s a pretty significant amount of gold, overall. 

So, we’re going to focus on exploration at this new discovery at Buckingham. We are just in the middle of a drill program. We have 10 drill holes completed. We’ll probably drill another 6-8 before pausing to review results and plan next steps. 

In addition to working the Buckingham Gold Project, we also have what we’re calling our ‘brownfields exploration projects’ in Virginia. Again, this is very similar to the Romarco Haile Gold Mine exploration strategy. 

We’ve picked up some land around past-producing mines, land that hasn’t been touched since the 1850s. We’re not miners – we’re going to explore the area with modern exploration techniques and a modern view. A good example would be something like 5 g/t gold, that probably didn’t get anybody excited in 1850, but nowadays that would be significant.

While we are drilling at Buckingham, we’re going to be doing some prospecting & exploration sampling around some of these past-producing mines to look-see if we can do the same thing that Romarco did at Haile. The idea is, do that exploration, do the sampling, so we can decide which ones we want to go and drill.

Dr. Allen Alper: Oh, that sounds excellent! Could you tell our readers/investors, the primary reasons they should consider investing in the Aston Bay

Thomas Ullrich: Gold is a great commodity to be in, especially in these uncertain times, and we have high-grade gold mineralization at surface. It’s clean, no arsenic or any deleterious constituents. We’re in a great jurisdiction, not only the U.S., but also Virginia itself. Virginia is a fee-simple jurisdiction, meaning no permitting is required for exploration or drilling on private lands where we have signed agreements. 

We have a large package of land, partnered with timber companies who are also in the resource business. We have packages of land with lots of room for exploration and like-minded partners. So, we can get the exploration work done, make a discovery and quickly prove up the potential for a mine. We’re explorers, not miners, and our business model is to add value through exploration discovery. We want to add that value in the shortest possible time then crystallize that value by selling the project to a group with the expertise and patience to develop a mine. 

Dr. Allen Alper: That’s great. Sounds like very good reasons to consider investing in Aston Bay. Is there anything else you’d like to add, Tom? 

Thomas Ullrich: We are a microcap company. With small market caps, you do have the potential for out-sized gains. 

Dr. Allen Alper: It sounds like great potential. We’ll publish your press releases as they come out so our readers/investors can follow your progress.