All posts by Tom Howard

High grade, low cost and near production: Winston Gold is ready to shine

Throw in an experienced management team and you’ve got what many would see as the complete package.

With its two assets and strong mining team, Winston Gold Mining, which raised C$545,000 when it listed on the CSE last March, appears to tick all of these boxes.

While it is still in the early stages of developing its Gold Ridge property in Arizona and its namesake Winston project in Montana, the company holds historic data (particularly on the latter) which suggests both projects have more than a fighting chance of success.

Winston is located near Helena, Montana – an area with a rich mining history dating back to the 19th century.

The district is reported to have produced 100,000 ounces of gold from only 150,000 tonnes of ore back in its heyday at an impressive average grade of 22.8 grams per tonne (g/t). A quick look at the records will tell you that the Custer mine – which lies within the Winston property – was a major contributor to that figure.

Similarly, the Gold Ridge project near Willcox in Arizona yielded some good grades in the past, too.

“It was acquired from some people we know very well. It’s also a historic mine, but not quite as prolific as the Winston claims,” explains the company’s chief executive Murray Nye.

The Gold Prince deposit on the project was mined sporadically between 1932 and 1996 and produced 22,000 ounces of the precious metal from multiple veins, averaging almost 12 g/t.

The low price of gold back in the eighties forced the previous owners to move out of the property, but Nye’s interest was piqued by what was left behind.

“What we liked about that was that it had a lot of development done already. They had set up two drill stations underground and we went down and checked it out and they were both in good shape,” he explains.

“Both the drill stations were ready to go and drill below the level they were mining, so we thought there was a pretty good opportunity to start some bulk sampling or test-mining there on a near-term basis.”

This is exactly what Nye and his team look for when assessing potential projects.

“We’re after properties that we believe can get to a development or bulk sampling stage as quickly as possible because the investors who we’ve aligned ourselves with are looking for that kind of opportunity and we think we’ve found a couple of assets that fit those criteria.”

Given that it only acquired Gold Ridge at the back end of last year, not much additional work has been carried out at the property. The company’s primary focus has been on its flagship Winston property.

“We think it has more opportunities in terms of tonnage,” says Nye.

The project had around 630 holes drilled down to around 100 metres or so as the previous owners tried to assess the potential for an open pit operation. They estimated it could be host to around 500,000 ounces of gold, potentially more.

“That’s not 43-101 compliant but it certainly gives us an indication that there are some pretty good gold values in the property and many of them were very high grade,” says Nye.

The CEO and his partner Mike Gunsinger think the real potential of the Winston project lies in the untested geology further below ground.

“Our thinking is – and three geologists have also told me this – that this project is better suited to underground mining. What we’re doing now is drilling underneath where the old workings are.”

Recent results would seem to back up this theory. In January Winston appeared to locate a “high-grade gold vein which could be amenable to underground test-mining.”

Drilling along the Edna-West vein, as it has now been called, yielded grades of 8 g/t up to 44 g/t.

The bonus of these high grades is that it would make the project relatively low-cost.

But it’s not just the grades that make Winston such an exciting project; the fact that the infrastructure is already in place is also a plus-point.

“There’s a major highway within a half-mile of the property and there’s a major power line running right through the middle of it,” says Nye.

“The elevation is also low by Montana standards so Winston would lend itself to year-round operations.”

The plan is to carry on drilling here for another few months and then go underground, with a view to getting into production within two years.

“If we were to start something [underground] eight months from now, you’d be doing the development which would probably take another eight months,” explains Nye.

“Depending on how long the vein is and what you’re mining it would at least take you another eight months to develop that into a shrinkage stope operation.

“So within a couple of years – maybe a year and a half – you’d be in a production scenario if everything went to plan.”

“Our goal is to develop underground access and gradually ramp up to a 300 tonne per day test-mining stage. If all goes according to plan we believe we could achieve this for about CDN $10 million.  Of course the ultimate number of ounces produced will depend on the average grade recovered.”

That’s not a lot in mining terms, but it is a tough ask for a fledgling business. But that there is where the experience and connections come in.

Winston is the second mining company Nye has headed over the past decade, and before that he was involved in financing projects, while Gunsinger has over 50 years of mining experience to draw upon.

So they know mining money people and are also pretty well up on the laws and regulations, especially in Montana.

“Operationally we’ve got a very experienced mining team and management is key in this. We’re very familiar with the state, the regulations there and we have very good relations with regulatory bodies,” says Nye.

The one thing Nye can’t control is the price of gold, although things are starting to look up here too.

“The gold market, in my opinion, is a place to have a serious look right now – it bottomed out but now seems to be back on an uptick,” the Winston CEO says.

Is this another box ticked for Winston Gold Mining? Very possibly.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Feb 16, 2017 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Winston Gold Mining at http://winstongoldmining.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/mining/winston-gold-mining-corp.

Cashless and confident: Glance Tech targeting global domination

“Tech is the new oil,” the head of a well-known venture capital fund said recently. But while the scale and pervasive nature of the technology industry’s products might match that of oil, innovation is hardly a commodity. New ideas emerge every day, and most don’t make it, either because they aren’t good enough or the team behind them can’t execute.

Glance Technologies Inc. (CSE:GET) doesn’t look like it will have to contend with either of those problems, as its unique mobile payment technology addresses an issue many people face each day and early data suggest the team is doing a good job getting the product into the hands of its target user base.

Three-quarters of diners in North America use some form of plastic to pay for their meals, but waiting for your server to bring the bill, followed by another stretch before for the card machine arrives, too often means that a good meal is followed by a frustrating delay before you can get on with your day.

The solution to this problem is Glance Pay, an app that Glance debuted the same day it listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange this past September. The app’s premise is simple: allow diners to pay for meals using their smartphones, thereby slashing the time needed to deal with the bill. Looked at another way, Glance seeks to revolutionise how we pay for meals.

“Even when the wait staff are doing everything they can, when everybody is in a rush or all wanting to leave during a peak time it can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to pay your bill,” says Penny Green, Glance’s co-founder, president and chief operating officer.

With GlancePay, users take a photo of the cheque, confirm the amount and hit the pay button. There are also options to add a tip, split the bill and even store the receipt – a very useful tool if you’re on a business lunch.

“The restaurant experience revolves around good service – as a restauranteur you’re trying to give someone the best dining experience so having a great payment experience is something you’re obligated to offer now,” explains Green. “If a restaurant isn’t offering customers the option to pay with their phones, then they’re not offering the best dining experience.”

And increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction is probably not a bad idea in an industry which in North America will turn over US$750 billion this year.

Green – who is listed in Canada’s W100 top 100 entrepreneurs – founded the company alongside Desmond Griffin, the driving force behind mobile parking payments business PayByPhone before he sold it for around C$45 million over five years ago.

“I wouldn’t want to build a payment app unless I had Desmond leading the team,” explains Green.

“We have the person who probably has the most experience and success in the mobile payments sector worldwide as our co-founder and chief executive.”

The experience of the two co-founders – who still own more than 50% of the company – has allowed the business to thrive and develop the alliances needed by any successful start-up, Green adds.

“We have a stellar management team and we have an innovative and highly disruptive technology that offers an unmatched user experience. Those two things will enable us to dominate the exciting space we are in.”

Green isn’t joking when she hints at domination either, in fact quite the opposite. “Right now, we’re the largest mobile payment company for restaurants in Canada. Our goal is to become the biggest one in North America within a year and eventually the largest in the world.”

On November 23, Glance Pay announced it had signed up the MR MIKES Steakhouse Casual chain of 32 restaurants in Western Canada, bringing the total number of restaurants signed by Glance to 95. Glance has been aggressively signing up restaurants, and announced it signed 48 new restaurants to use the Glance Pay app within a recent 36 day period.

Green is more than happy with the progress made by Glance and its app so far on its quest to become number one, and is confident it can be profitable within the next few years.

“We are far exceeding our projections already in terms of adoption rates and usage. Our breakeven point can be after one year of operations, depending on how fast we expand,” explains Green.

As you might imagine, there are a few companies in this space that are trying to provide other solutions, but Glance isn’t too concerned by what they offer.

The main stumbling block for competitors is that they normally require their software to be integrated into a restaurant’s point of sales system, which can be time consuming and expensive, and can also limit the number of potential customers able to come on board.

“With our technology we can have a restaurant live on our system an hour after signing them up,” says Green. “This is something no competitor seems able to match at the moment. It’s a huge advantage.”

Glance also allows each restaurant to offer a customized rewards scheme for its customers through the app, so that regular customers can receive as much as 12% of what they spend back in credits at the restaurant, redeemed seamlessly as rewards through the app.

All 40 of the venues currently up-and-running on the app are in the Vancouver area, but within the next 12 months Glance is hoping to tackle the mobile payments space in other parts of Canada and the US. It already has restaurants signed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and plans to launch in Toronto by spring 2017.

Although the company is looking to move into new areas geographically, with over 3,500 restaurants in Vancouver alone, Green doesn’t expect a move into other sectors such as retail any time soon.

“This is a huge industry and there’s a lot of room for us to grow, so it’s unlikely that we’ll go outside of the restaurant space because we don’t need to,” she says. “However, we are developing an extensive network of diners and restaurants which makes us an attractive target for alliances from many sectors.”

As with every business it’s all about the money, and Green explains that the company recently engaged Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. as agent to undertake a brokered private placement. Glance also completed an Initial Public Offering through Leede Jones Gable Inc., raising C$1 million in September.

GlancePay processed some C$56,000 of transactions in the second week of November and use has been growing at an exceptional rate since launch.

To give investors some sort of benchmark, Glance estimates that each new restaurant it signs up – it’s averaging five a week at the moment – brings with it the potential to process another C$1 million of transactions each year.

Even though the app will only take a small, “competitive” cut of those revenues, the potential is obvious.

But Glance isn’t just relying on transactions across its platform. The team realizes that once you have the audience, offering other features such as advertising and special promotions through the app to clients ups overall profit potential.

Not surprisingly, Green is quite bullish about the sector as a whole, expecting payments on the go to help the world spend over C$2 trillion by 2020. “It won’t be long until mobile payments are the norm.”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 28, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Glance Technologies Inc. at http://www.glancepay.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/glance-technologies-inc.