FEATURED BUSINESS: Bullfrog Gold Corp.
A gold exploration company headquartered in Grand Junction spent more than $2 million over the past two years to confirm historic metal resources in an area it controls near Phoenix, the company’s CEO said.
The area could harbor as much as 235,000 ounces gold and 3.4 million ounces of silver in the main deposit area, according to estimates, but eight of the company’s exploration targets have had little or no drilling, said David Beling, president and CEO of Bullfrog Gold Corp.
The company is at least four years away from producing gold, Beling said.
Bullfrog’s number one venture, the Newsboy Project, is located 45 miles northwest of Phoenix in a region that produced 1.2 million ounces of gold since mining began in the area. More than $5 million was invested in the project by Bullfrog’s predecessors between 1987 and 1992, he said.
Drilling, a feasibility study, environmental baseline data and state and federal permit applications were completed during the 5-year period, Beling said.
Bullfrog began publicly trading in October 2011 on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board market under the symbol BFGC.
Since 2011, Bullfrog drilled 74 holes, about 23,000 feet, to confirm and expand its metal resources, he said.
The company plans to drill more holes, perform additional metallurgical tests, update environmental permit applications and complete a new resource estimate by early 2014, Beling said.
Bullfrog also controls two other prospective mining ventures:
■ The Bullfrog Project, located 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nev., in a district from which Barrick Gold produced nearly 3 million ounces of gold between the mid-1980s and late-1990s.
■ The Klondike Project, located 40 miles north of Eureka, Nev., which has unrecorded but significant historic production of high grade silver, lead, zinc and copper.
“The Klondike project received approvals from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to complete the first phase of exploration drilling,” Beling said.
Bullfrog relies on a lean operation with only two employees and two directors. It engages consultants, contractors and professional firms to manage or perform its exploration and development activities, he said.
Beling is a mining veteran with 49 years of experience. During his career, he worked as an engineer or manager at 12 open pit mines, nine underground mines and 14 processing plants.
At various times, Beling was employed at Phelps Dodge, Union Oil, Fluor, United Technologies and Westinghouse during his first 13 years in the mining industry. He spent the last 36 years as a consultant and in other capacities at a variety of mining operations in locations all over the world, he said.
Beling said he and his wife moved to Grand Junction from Arizona in 2004. They consider the Grand Valley the “world’s prime venue and best kept secret.”
The company’s other employee, Ty Minnick, joined Bullfrog as vice president of administration and finance and moved his family to Grand Junction from Crested Butte in 2011. Minnick was controller of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort from 1999 until 2011.
“Our objectives are to close selective transactions ... while growing the company and adding value to our shareholders,” Beling said. “Depressed metal prices have increased ... (our) opportunities.”
The company reported more than 44 million shares of common stock outstanding as of Sept. 10.
In early September 2011, the price of gold peaked at $1,900 per ounce, Beling said.
The price remained above $1,600 per ounce until December 2012, declined to a low of $1,192 in late June 2013, and as of November, hovers slightly above $1,300 per ounce. “The average all-in costs to produce gold globally — including operating capital, exploration, financing and royalties — is about $1,200 per ounce,” Beling said.
Currently, China is the largest gold-producing country. It also purchased more than 2,000 tons of gold since September 2011, he said.
About half the world’s demand for gold is now taken by China and India, a demand which continues to increase.
“We are optimistic that domestic and international economic problems and a limited amount of physical gold available for delivery all bode well for gold prices to increase,” Beling said.
The psychology of low prices has made it difficult to obtain financing, he said.
“We have the assets, personnel, knowledge, drive, experience, organization and determination to make Bullfrog and its projects the best they can be while delivering early stage leverage and added value for our shareholders,” Beling said.