Get to Know Your Community: Interview with Paul Huet, President and CEO of Klondex Mines Ltd.
This month, we talk with Paul Huet, President and CEO of Klondex Mines Ltd (OTCQX: KLNDF), about the Canadian gold mining company’s IR strategy and development since joining OTCQX in April. He discusses building the management team, achieving a five-fold increase in the average daily share volume, and reaching investors through OTCQX as the company expands its operations.
OTC Markets Group: Tell us about Klondex Mines.
Paul Huet: Klondex Mines is the newest, near-production underground gold mine in Nevada with the potential for long-term sustainable cash flows. Our main asset is the Fire Creek project in the heart of Nevada gold country, near Elko. We have a straightforward gold deposit in a mining-friendly jurisdiction with significant onsite infrastructure in place and a strong leadership team with a proven track record leading the charge. We are currently testing metallurgy of Fire Creek’s mineralized material at a nearby Newmont facility, and expect to begin ramping up to full production in 2015 once the final mining permit is received.
Fire Creek’s current land package is over 93% unexplored and recent discoveries are within close proximity to its underground workings.
OTCM: Klondex Mines has transformed its business since joining the OTCQX in April last year. Tell us about that.
PH: You’re right we have transformed the business since joining OTCQX in April, both at the corporate level and operationally; we’re a new company now. Shortly after joining OTCQX, the Board of Directors was replaced at the AGM and subsequently set out to build a new management team of seasoned professionals that could advance Fire Creek rapidly and efficiently.
Given my experience operating two profitable mines in the same geological trend of Nevada, Newmont’s Midas Mine and the Hollister mine, I was recruited by the board to serve as Klondex’s President and CEO. I started in September 2012. We have since built a talented team of mining professionals, many of who worked with me in the past.
Initially, we finalized a plan to take Fire Creek into small scale production by way of bulk sample, and that included a financing of $30mm in equity and debt to initiate the program. With the revised plan and clear goals set in place, we raised the capital, and have been successful executing along the path. Our latest milestones include connecting Fire Creek to the NV Energy electrical grid and starting our shipments of mineralized material from our underground exploration program to Newmont.
OTCM: Klondex has achieved an average daily share volume of 47,000 over the past three months compared to 8,900 in the three months prior. What do you think accounts for the recent significant liquidity gains?
PH: Simply, we are achieving the goals we set for ourselves and the market is taking note. We continue to de-risk Fire Creek and have high-grade gold underground. Klondex is going through the process of being re-rated from an exploration company to a near-term producer, with cash flows.
On the market side, our Investor Relations program is more active than it was a year ago. We’ve marketed the company to old, new and potential shareholders in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In addition, three analysts initiated coverage on us since May, expanding the Klondex reach.
Achievements from the operations team in the past nine months include:
- Two high-grade veins identified
- Two new zones discovered:
- West Zone discovered while drilling a geotechnical hole for the vent-raise access
- South-Main Zone confirmed with a significant gold intercept, previously unlogged
- Signed toll-milling agreements with Veris Gold and Newmont
- Grid electric power brought to the site
- Water management solution has been developed; temporary discharge permit received
- Escape raise required for bulk sampling is in progress
- Updated resource estimate is in progress
- Over 3,000 tons of mineralization for processing into gold & silver shipped
OTCM: How important is the U.S. market to your overall investor relations program?
PH: Clearly the U.S. market offers tremendous potential for our IR program, not only because of its size but because our assets are located in Nevada and the bulk of our personnel are here as well. It makes perfect sense to focus much of our IR effort on developing a U.S. following. This is a process that is only just beginning.
OTCM: How has joining OTCQX helped you achieve your capital market and IR goals at Klondex?
PH: The OTCQX marketplace, as a credible source of information and oversight for potential investors, provides Klondex access to the U.S. It also offers a U.S. marketplace without committing Klondex to the substantial ongoing costs of becoming a U.S. reporting company. That money is better spent on further exploration and development of Fire Creek.
While the TSX remains our dominant exchange, there is no question that the liquidity and demand coming out of OTCQX has been beneficial to Klondex over the past year. And frankly, we expect the importance of OTCQX to grow as we make further progress on our plans to bring Fire Creek into full production by mid-2015.
OTCM: What else do you want U.S. investors to know about Klondex?
PH: I think the most important thing for investors to know is that we are just getting started. This is a pivotal year as we evolve from an exploration and development company to production via bulk sampling, realizing cash flows. The past year has been about regrouping and executing on some key initiatives that were needed to set up Fire Creek for the long-term.
With the first shipment of mineralized material delivered to Newmont in August, it changes our financial requirements. We are focused on completing the NEPA documentation required to begin full production and expect a final permit to be in hand in early 2015. Following receipt of the final permit, we will ramp up operations. Fire Creek is proving to host some of the highest grades we’ve seen in Nevada and, as a result, they will allow us flexibility with regards to the price of gold.