Metal Hawk chairman Brett Lambert on why the explorer is hitting all the right notes
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Mining engineer and company director Brett Lambert wears plenty of hats.
While his role as chairman of nickel miner Mincor Resources is his most prominent, he has grown especially excited about the potential of a junior explorer aiming to uncover gold and nickel not far away.
Since listing in November last year, Lambert has been the non-executive chairman of Metal Hawk Limited. Boasting three projects within 70km of WA’s historic gold hub Kalgoorlie along with promising tenements near Norseman and on the Fraser Range, Lambert sees plenty of exploration upside for the start-up.
“Kalgoorlie has been heavily explored but people are still finding new deposits within a stone’s throw of the city,” he told Stockhead.
“With exploration there’s never any certainty, it’s a risky business, but you’ve got to be doing the right things in the right place to give yourself a chance of discovery with the right people and I think Metal Hawk has got that.
“It doesn’t mean you’ll have a mine but it gives you a good head start.”
Like many mining engineers of his vintage Lambert got his start with WMC in the 1980s around Kalgoorlie.
But he found more fulfilment at the junior end of the spectrum, building projects from the ground up.
His first taste came with Herald Resources in the early 1990s at the Three Mile Hill gold mine near Coolgardie.
“I really found I liked working for small companies more than big ones,” he said.
“They tended to be a bit busier, a bit harder, but you had a wider variety of stuff to do. Also I really liked starting things off rather than just being a steady state operation.”
Lambert went on to develop the Cadjebut lead-zinc mine with Western Metals, which bought the dying project from BHP and Shell and recycled it into one of the world’s largest zinc producers.
“Western Metals was certainly a really exciting time in my life. I joined them before they listed and they were buying the Cadjebut mine, but it only had about 18 months of life left on it,” he remembered.
“My role was general manager of development and in a four-year period we brought three new mines on stream, and it went from being a little half million tonne producer to producing 2.8Mt per annum and it was the fourth biggest zinc mine in the world.”
His first CEO role came with NuStar Gold (later Intrepid Mines), the company which started up the Paulsens gold mine in the Pilbara.
Paulsens would go on to be sold and become the foundation gold operation for Bill Beament’s Northern Star Resources.
Lambert says the same start-up spirit is alive and well at Metal Hawk, which listed in November last year with a catalogue of assets circling Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Metal Hawk’s main focus is the Kanowna East project, once owned by LionOre International and which, incredibly, sits just 8km from Northern Star Resources’ mighty Kanowna Belle gold mine.
“It still staggers me today that all of the ground was within an hour’s drive of Kalgoorlie,” Lambert said.
“We are within sight of Northern Star’s Kanowna Belle operations, you can actually see them from the site.
“Metal Hawk was able to pick up this ground position for really good commercial terms. There was clear evidence of mineralisation that hadn’t been exploited at Kanowna East in particular.”
So far Metal Hawk has seen plenty of promise from a 25,000m aircore drilling campaign across Kanowna East, identifying two large anomalous zones at Western Tiger and Little Lake.
Drilling to date has only been shallow, but has already turned up plenty of anomalous results, including a high-grade intersection of 8m @ 4.53g/t Au from 75m at Western Tiger.
“The fact you’ve got two quite large zones now at Kanowna East plus other peripheral stuff that seems to hang together really well in aircore drilling, that’s a great start,” he said.
“The market doesn’t always appreciate it when you might hit 10m at a gram or thereabouts but that’s a great hit for an aircore program.
“This has stayed above the issue price (20 cents) the whole time aside from a dip below 19c very briefly; most of the time we’ve been in the mid-20s, mid 30s briefly.
“Most of the share register seems to be hanging in there and not bailing out just because we’re not producing yet the sort of sexy numbers that grab attention and get the stock running.
“I’m fairly hopeful that once we get to the next stage, which is the first RC drilling we’ll do later this year, that we might strike something.”
Outside of the quality of its projects, Metal Hawk has a few more intriguing strings to its bow.
Managing director Will Belbin is a respected explorer, having discovered the Fisher East nickel sulphide deposit with Rox Resources and who worked on Western Areas’s Forrestania nickel mines with Newexco.
Western Areas is also on board as Metal Hawk’s top shareholder and can take a 75 per cent share of the nickel rights at Metal Hawk’s Kanowna East, Emu Lake and Fraser South projects by spending $7 million on exploration over five years.
Metal Hawk will retain all the gold rights.
The company’s endorsement from the top end of town doesn’t end there. Julimar-owner Chalice Gold Mines can earn-in up to 70 per cent of the Viking Gold project near Norseman by spending $2.75 million on exploration over 4.5 years.
“The fact that those two pretty well credentialed partners recognised the value of the assets as well reinforced it,” he said.
“That was really what brought me in, was the quality of the people, the assets and the objective to actually find something new, not go back to some old mine site and try pump out the old workings and resurrect them again.”
With so many gold and nickel prospects within an hour’s drive of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Lambert is confident Metal Hawk is in the right sort of postcode for new discoveries.
“Amazingly people are still finding new stuff. I mean look at what Northern Star has been able to do at Kanowna Belle, that was a dying asset when they bought it, that’s still running,” he said.
“Also what they’ve been able to do at Kundana, that’s been spectacular.
“We’re on Kalgoorlie’s doorstep and they’re still finding major new discoveries in that area and some of the small guys are still having success.
“At the ground we’ve got at Kanowna East, in particular, it’s hardly had anything and I just don’t understand that. It’s just remarkable that someone can walk up and acquire a piece of ground like that.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Metal Hawk, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.