In September of 2015 First Mining Finance made an offer for Gold Canyon Resources. Gold Canyon accepted the purchase deal and it closed in November of 2015. As part of the agreement, Gold Canyon spun off $500,000 and certain other assets into a new shell named Irving Resources Inc. (IRV:CSE; IRVRF:OTCBB) headed by the Gold Canyon President and CEO, Akiko Levinson.
Each existing Gold Canyon shareholder was given 0.0333 shares of Irving per GCU share. As a result of the spinoff, tens of thousands of shareholders found themselves with an Xmas present of tiny amounts of Irving shares. The 177 million shares held in Gold Canyon turned into 5.4 million shares of Irving. That's the entire float due to who participated in the later financing.
Since that time Irving completed private placements for about 9 million shares at $0.14 in early 2016 and an additional 16 million shares at $0.40 in late 2016. The company is especially well cashed up with just at $7 million cash in the till.
Three investors own over 42% of the shares. That would be Akiko Levinson, President and CEO, Dr. Quinton Hennigh, Director, and Eric Sprott, billionaire. In addition, the next highest seven shareholders own 36% more of the shares. In short on a basis of existing shares, 78% of the issued stock is in the tightest of hands and 82% on a fully diluted basis. The remaining 20% or so is made up of tiny positions held by small shareholders who toss them onto the market when they need some change.
I've never seen any stock so tightly held. It shows in the action of the stock with the shares more than doubling from $0.49 to $1.18 in ten days at the end of 2016.
Since the merger and spinoff, Irvine has shifted emphasis from some minor REE projects in Africa to high-grade gold properties in Japan. Japan is literally the last unexplored frontier. The highest-grade gold mine in the world calls Japan home. That would be the Hishikari Mine in southern Japan. Hishikari produced over 6.5 million ounces of gold so far with a head grade of 40 grams per ton. They aren't the biggest gold mine in the world but probably the most profitable per ounce.
Hishikari Sorting Line
The ultra-high grade ore at Hishikari runs past a line of sorters who pick out the good rock. I'd love to pan their tailings. They don't even have a mill. The silica rich rock is used as flux by parent company Sumitomo Metal Mining. The gold and silver are recovered with almost 100% recovery during processing base metals using the ore as flux. It's a perfect example of Japanese ingenuity.
The entire Japanese chain of islands lies on the Ring of Fire. All the volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis come from the Ring of Fire activity. That's also the origin of the gold, coming from hot springs.
As a Japanese, Akiko Levinson has a home advantage. She speaks the language and understands the culture. She was married to a Canadian mining executive prior to his untimely death. She took over the reins at Gold Canyon and ran it until the merger with First Finance. To a certain degree Japan has opened up mining exploration to foreign companies lately. The gold mining industry was pretty much quiet since World War II even though the potential is tremendous.
Currently Irving targets gold at three Au-Ag vein properties where they have prospecting license applications in progress. All are located in northern Hokkaido in northern Japan. Of particular notice is the Omui project that contains a sinter measuring 12 km long and up to 12 meters in thickness that carries gold values. A sinter is the naturally forming cover for a hot spring system. It's entirely possible the sinter covers another Hishikari type deposit.
Irving's technical team found float boulders containing up to 480 g/t Au and 9,660 g/t Ag at the Omui property. That's $24,940.20 a ton rock, by the way. Fieldwork in Hokkaido will not begin until May or so due to the snowmelt. Most of the 2017 prospecting activities will consist of rock and soil samples, mapping and ground geophysics. Given that little serious exploration has been done for many years, it will take time to bring government technical people up to speed. Irving is working closely with MINDECO, a subsidiary of Mitsui Corp., for both permitting and technical work.
It would be safe to suggest that Irving maintains a giant competitive advantage in that a Japanese woman runs the company who not only understands how Japan works but also has run a successful mining exploration company in Canada. Akiko Levinson has a foot in each camp. When I read the press releases from Irving about what their technical team found during exploration, I began to buy shares. This company is the hardest company to build a decent position in of any that I have ever seen due to the tiny float. A fund wanting a position worthy of the name could double the stock again in a week.
Irving isn't throwing darts at a board trying to figure out where to explore. All of the projects they are working on have had existing high-grade gold mines in the past prior to WW II. The company will continue to acquire similar projects over the coming months. Look for announcements. The company is deliberately keeping a low profile but that doesn't mean the projects are not worthy of merit. They have some of the finest projects I have ever read about.
Irving is not an advertiser. I have participated in the private placement in the fall and have continued to buy shares in the open market. Do your own due diligence.
IRV-CSE $0.83 (Mar 1, 2017)
IRVRF-OTCBB 31.8 million shares
Bob and Barb Moriarty brought 321gold.com to the Internet almost 16 years ago. They later added 321energy.com to cover oil, natural gas, gasoline, coal, solar, wind and nuclear energy. Both sites feature articles, editorial opinions, pricing figures and updates on current events affecting both sectors. Previously, Moriarty was a Marine F-4B and O-1 pilot with more than 832 missions in Vietnam. He holds 14 international aviation records.
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Image provided by Bob Moriarty.