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Can Frank Callaghan strike gold twice in B.C.’s Cariboo?

The Barkerville prospector-promoter is again staking a claim in a region he helped develop
Golden Cariboo Resources’ Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine

Frank Callaghan, the colourful and effusive prospector-promoter who assembled B.C.’s Barkerville Gold mine district, is back.

Several years after his company, Barkerville Gold, was acquired by Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. (TSX,NYSE:OR) for $338 million, Callaghan has come out of retirement to promote a new gold project 70 kilometres north of Osisko’s Cariboo Gold mine.

Callaghan is now CEO of Golden Cariboo Resources (CSE:GCC, OTC:GCCFF), which has been drilling at the historic Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine near the tiny community of Hixon, situated roughly halfway between Prince George and Quesnel.

The company’s technical team includes many of the same members who were part of the Barkerville Gold team.

Callaghan describes the Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine as the northern “bookend” of the Cariboo Gold district—a pairing to Spanish Mountain Gold’s (TSX-V:SPA, OTC:SPAZF) project to the south.

“Spanish Mountain to the south is a bookend and it’s a mirror-image of what we are to the north in Hixon,” Callaghan said.

So far this year, the company has announced $4.5 million in private placements in support of exploratory work for the Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine.

Since the beginning of the year, Golden Cariboo Resources has drilled eight holes. Recent drill results showed gold intercepts for 263 metres at 0.29 grams of gold per tonne, and 41 metres at 0.68 grams per tonne.

“Nobody drills 800 feet of almost continuous gold,” Callaghan told BIV. “We’re in a system, and it’s a real big system.

“The grade was a lower grade than you would hope for, but the fact that the system is quite large is mind-blowing.

“We’ve recognized gold in a rock formation on a parallel trend that’s never been recognized before and has similarities to Bonanza [Ledge],” he said, in reference to part of Osisko’s Cariboo Gold project.

“It’s big, buddy. It’s going to be large.”

Callaghan has been compared to the legendary B.C. mine promoter Murray Pezim for his sometimes-hyperbolic promotions. His exuberance has gotten him into trouble with securities regulators in the past.

Callaghan had his knuckles rapped by the BC Securities Commission (BCSC) for announcing resource estimates—10 million ounces of gold for Barkerville’s Cow Mountain—in 2012 that proved to be exaggerated and not backed up with proper technical reporting.

In 2019, Callaghan agreed to pay a $30,000 fine to the BCSC and was banned for one year from being an officer or director of a publicly traded company, or from engaging in investor relations.

Despite his missteps with Barkerville Gold, even Callaghan’s detractors may grudgingly acknowledge that he was fundamentally right about Barkerville Gold (now Cariboo Gold), in that it was a significant gold find.

Over a period of two decades, Callaghan had assembled and consolidated a number of claims into one 65-kilometre-long potential mining district in a region with a rich gold mining history under Barkerville Gold. It was eventually acquired by Osisko.

The district contains multiple potential gold deposits, including Cow Mountain, which is now being developed by Osisko. With Osisko planning to put Cow Mountain into production sometime early next year, Callaghan said he feels vindicated.

“I could not be happier,” Callaghan said. “I got vindicated.”

He also noted that Osisko has acquired claims around the Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine.

“When [Osisko] realized what I put together, they came and staked all the ground all around me on three sides,” he said.

Brent Cook, geologist and analyst for Exploration Insights, was among the analysts who questioned Callaghan’s resource estimates for Barkerville back in 2012.

He is similarly skeptical about Callaghan’s latest project, the Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine.

“I don’t have a sense of how new the recent drill hole is relative to previous work (maps would help), and as yet don’t see anything indicative of an economic discovery,” he wrote in an email to BIV. “There is always the possibility, but I consider it low.”

Tony Simon, a long-time junior mining investor, is among those who recently made private placements with Callaghan’s company. He defends Callaghan as an explorer with vision.

“A lot of people think as Frank as a promoter,” Simon told BIV. “That’s what they said about Murray Pezim.

“Pezim arguably is the best explorer in Canadian history. He found two major deposits [Eskay Creek in B.C. and Hemlo gold in Ontario].”

He added that the Quesnelle Gold Quartz mine that Callaghan is currently exploring has history on its side.

“Where the project is located is proven to be a great place,” Simon said.

“You want to look for a mine? Look beside another mine.”

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