Interview with Normand Champigny
President and CEO
The original article is available here.
In 2014, Donner Metals changed its name to Sphinx Resources. Can you tell us more about this rebranding?
We rebranded the company because we needed to turn the page on what had happened in the past – we essentially had a success story turning into a perfect storm, as we forfeited an interest in a mine that had begun production in Québec. So we decided to change the name, the shareholder base, the strategic focus of the company, everything. Sphinx is a Greek word that means ‘hidden’, so that is essentially what we are doing now: searching for a hidden deposit, a mine. We have acquired several interesting exploration projects in the province: our Somanike Ni-Cu-PGE propriety is a combination of assets bought from Virginia Mines, Royal Nickel Corporation, and Globex Mining Enterprise, in 2014 and 2015. In addition to this, Sphinx Resources also acquired the Green Palladium Pd-Pt-Cu, and the Calumet Sud Zn-Pd-Pt-Cu proprieties from Amixam Resources, and Gardin Resources. In 2014, we were also very close to acquiring an operating mine, so we are looking at that option again. These are tough times for the industry, but it is the right moment to acquire good assets. This strategic refocusing of Sphinx Resources came as a result of different factors: first of all, we liked the Ni-PGE commodities, as they represent an unsaturated market segment. Secondly, our acquisitions were also a result of seizing opportunities in the market: the Pontiac area, where we have the Green Palladium and the Calumet Sud projects, has not been explored; it is easy to work in, the infrastructure is good, the social acceptability is Luc Lessard Normand Champigny great. Thirdly, our projects have a high degree of metamorphism, which represents some challenges to identify but these types of mineralization tend to be high grade and with good metallurgical recoveries.
Could you give us with more information about the developments at the Somanike, Green Palladium, and Calumet-Sud projects?
On the Somanike project, we have done airborne surveying, ground geophysics, and some drilling. We have also compiled all the available data that existed from the previous three owners. We have intercepted some high grade Ni-PGE deposits, so now, the next step is to continue with the drilling program. For Green Palladium, our drilling program has identified a potential sulphide-bearing magmatic reef horizon, which shows great promise. We do not have economic grades yet, but we can do plenty of low-cost, surface drilling. The next step will be to do an airborne survey using drone technology. For Calumet Sud, we are pleased to announce that as of February 2016, we have signed a letter of agreement with SOQUEM, according to which they have an option to acquire an undivided 50% interest in the project.
How has Bill 70 changed the life of exploration companies working in Québec?
The industry was not happy with all the measures approved, but, to a large extent, it can live with them. The fact that we have a stable legislation now, one that will not change for many years to come, is a very positive thing. Québec remains a great mining jurisdiction, for a number of reasons: it has great tradition in mining, an excellent base of qualified workers, a good taxation regime, and a great geological potential. Unfortunately however, the global climate is a challenging one, so it is extremely difficult to find financing. The exploration process continues to work today as it did before Bill 70 came into play, with the exception of a few added administrative tasks, so it is too early to tell. However, as a responsible mining company, you want to stay ahead of the curve, and be pro-active. The part in which you can do that the most is with the community relations.
How has Sphinx Resources been managing community relations for its projects?
Social acceptability is a very important topic for Sphinx Resources. With Somanike, the first thing we did was to talk to the four municipalities that cover the project area. We did not do the geophysical survey during the hunting season, and we did not perform any drilling during on the beautiful lake in the region. The Pontiac area is a very interesting one, poorly known in Québec – its people are mostly of Irish and Scottish descent. It is isolated and economically depressed, so Sphinx Resources was welcomed with open arms there, because we represent hope, and an economic alternative. ▬