Leading Producer to Advance Six Japan Gold Projects

Japan Gold Corp. shares traded 18% higher after the company reported its development partner and industry major Barrick Gold Corp. has chosen six of its gold projects in Japan to be moved forward to the second evaluation phase for advancement.

Vancouver gold explorer Japan Gold Corp. (JG:TSX.V; JGLDF:OTCQB), which is focused solely on the exploration and development of 31 licensed gold properties in Japan, announced that its joint development partner Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX:TSX; GOLD:NYSE) has identified and selected six of those projects for further advancement consideration.

The two companies entered into an exclusive country-wide strategic alliance in February 2020 to explore the feasibility of developing Japan Gold’s licensed Japan assets. Under the terms of the (Alliance) agreement, Barrick Gold would provide its expertise in evaluating each project during an initial evaluation period of no longer than two years, and those projects which demonstrate the best prospects for economic development would be advanced into a second stage evaluation process.

The firms also reported that three new project areas have been added subsequent to the execution of the agreement and noted that those projects have been added for the initial evaluation by the Alliance.

Barrick Gold’s VP of Exploration for Asia-Pacific Marian Moroney commented, “The Barrick team is excited that the country-wide screening program has been successful in defining multiple projects which will now receive more focused work programs in order to progress them to the next stage. The programs are likely to include geophysical surveys and drilling on the best targets as we continue the search for world-class orebodies in Japan.”

Japan Gold Corp.’s Chairman and CEO John Proust remarked, “The Japan Gold team has completed an enormous amount of work over the past two-and-a-half years evaluating the 29 Barrick Alliance projects in order to demonstrate to Barrick the high quality of the Japan Gold project portfolio and its prospectivity. We are highly encouraged that Barrick has selected six projects with the potential to host Tier 1 or Tier 2 ore bodies, and we look forward to aggressively advancing these projects.”

The agreement between the two companies stipulates that for projects to be advanced to the second stage in the review process and to meet Barrick’s requirements, projects must demonstrate potential for hosting either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 ore body. As outlined in the Alliance agreement, a Tier 1 ore body is defined as a deposit having a minimum of 5 Moz Au (million ounces gold) with a minimum 10-year annual production of at least 500 Koz Au (thousand ounces). A Tier 2 asset is defined as an ore body having a 3 Moz Au or greater potential with a 10-year annual production of 300 Koz.

The report advised that a team of senior Japan Gold and Barrick staff members completed a program that included a comprehensive field and data review. The companies stated that the six properties selected for advancement into phase two evaluation include the Aibetsu, Hakuryu, and Tenyru projects in Hokkaido, the Togi project in Honshu, and the Ebino and Mizobe projects in Kyushu.

Additionally, three new properties have been added for consideration under the Alliance’s initial evaluation phase for a period of up to one year. These include the Buho, Aibetsu East, and Togi extensions.

Japan Gold’s Chairman and CEO Proust added, “We are internally evaluating all projects that Barrick did not select, which remain at an early stage of the investigation but offer exploration potential, with a view to determining which to advance independently or by bringing in additional partners.”

Japan Gold Corp. is a mineral explorer based in Vancouver, B.C., that concentrates its efforts on gold exploration in Japan. The company owns interests in 31 separate gold projects that include 42 historically producing mines and workings. The projects span across Japan’s three largest islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu. The company indicated that in February 2020, it established a country-wide alliance to jointly explore, develop, and mine gold and other mineral properties with Barrick Gold. The firm noted that the three main Japan islands are home to at least six distinct epithermal high-grade gold provinces, which to date have been the site of five separate deposits exceeding 1 Moz Au, and in the southern island of Kyushu, a project known as the Hishikari mine, which is still in production, has produced over 7.9 Moz Au to date.

Barrick Gold Corp. is headquartered in Toronto, Ont., Canada, and with a market cap of US$26 billion, is one of the world’s largest gold-focused mining companies. The firm engages in all phases of mining, from exploration and development to the production and sale of gold and copper ounces. The company owns interests in gold and copper properties throughout North and South America and Africa.

Japan Gold Corp. began the day with a market cap of around US$35.14 million with approximately 199.89 million shares outstanding. JGLDF shares opened more than 7% higher today at US$0.1880 (+US$0.0130, +7.43%) over Friday’s US$0.1750 closing price. The stock traded today between US$0.1852 and US$0.2021 per share and closed for trading at US$0.2063 (+US$0.0313, +17.89%).

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