In the last nine months alone, Northern Vertex (CVE:NEE) has managed to acquire two advanced mineral projects with historic reserves and initiate drill campaigns, setting the company on path for a productive year.
The Canadian exploration and mining company's strategy is to acquire, develop and advance precious metal projects in Canada and the US, targeting the conversion of historical resource estimates to NI 43-101 compliant standards.
In March of last year, Northern Vertex acquired the rights to 70 percent of the Moss gold-silver project in Mohave County, northwestern Arizona, where the company has since completed a 27,000 foot drill program, resulting in the delineation of a substantial NI 43-101 compliant gold-silver resource.
CEO Ken Berry says the company drilled off a current resource of 590,000 ounces of gold equivalent, 90 percent of which is in the measured and indicated category.
Northern Vertex is now finishing up the 20,000 foot phase 2 infill and resource expansion program at Moss, which is designed to test the western extension of the Moss stockwork gold-silver vein system.
Berry says the program expanded almost 1,000 feet from the current main structure, which runs almost 5,000 feet on surface. The drilling campaign is designed to upgrade inferred resources into the measured and indicated category, and to add more tonnage.
Results from the program are rolling out now, with more assays expected over the next five weeks.
Early last week, the company unveiled core hole results that included 6.26 grams per tonne (g/t) gold equivalent over 1.68 metres, 5.37 g/t gold equivalent over 1.83 metres, 4.03 g/t equivalent over 1.22 metres and 3.61 g/t gold equivalent over 4.57 metres.
The company said these results confirm the gold mineralization along Moss's western extension is "expanding and robust", and that high grade zones are contained within larger mineralized intersections, which are above internal cut-off grades.
Last month, the company also reported notable results from the first four diamond holes of the phase 2 program, which included 45.02 metres of 0.45 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold equivalent in hole AR-139C, and 89 metres of 0.83 g/t gold equivalent in hole AR-142C.
A resource update is expected to follow the release of the remaining results, Berry says.
In addition to the Moss project, the company also acquired last year the Lemhi gold-silver project in Idaho, which represents a "milestone" purchase, it said.
Berry says Northern's plan is to "mirror the success of the similar Moss 30,000 foot program" to begin validating the 1.2 million ounce non-compliant, historical gold resource.
Just last month, the gold explorer started to drill at the site, with a budget of $7.8 million set aside from exploration. Results of the 30,000 foot program are anticipated over the next four or five months, with an NI 43-101 compliant resource expected shortly after.
Berry says there is an opportunity to expand the drill campaign depending on the results, with the ability to add a second rig to the project.
"We see the Moss and Lemhi projects as advanced-stage, near-term production scenarios, providing an opportunity to add value to shareholders in a very short period of time," stresses Berry.
The company also has the earlier stage Copley project to its name, which is located in the Nechako region of central British Columbia. Last month, the company unveiled drill results from its 1,200 metre program at the site, with highlights from the Smoking Pipe target including 1.5 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold over 10 metres in hole C6-01, and 9.3 g/t gold over 2 metres.
Northern Vertex said these results indicate that the 10 metre intersection grading 1.5 g/t gold in hole C6-01 is a lateral extension of the 33 metre intersection encountered during the 2011 phase 1 drill program.
The 2011 hole returned 0.271 g/t gold, including 5.6 metres averaging 0.68 g/t gold and 1.4 metres averaging 1.57 g/t gold. Dimensions of this zone are, at minimum, 150 metres by 100 metres, remaining open to the south, west and north, the company said.
A prior sampling program on the 2,926 hectare Copley property traced areas of gold mineralization on surface, including one measuring 55 by 140 metres. Eleven sample sites returned values greater than 1 g/t gold, including one at 14 g/t gold.
Berry says drilling at Copley has resulted in "lots of mineralization over wide intersections", and that the company will continue to evaluate drilling completed last year to look for additional targets, with more work anticipated in 2012.
"Within nine months, we have acquired two advanced projects with historic reserves and went on to initiate drill campaigns to confirm and add value to resources."
With $17 million of cash in the bank, and a "strong management team", the company is well poised to build out its properties, while at the same time looking for additional assets to acquire, says Berry, who is also the chairman of Kootenay Silver (CVE:KTN).
Chief geologist for Northern Vertex Bob Thompson has more than 35 years experience as a field geologist, while director David Farrell was previously the managing director of mergers and acquisitions at Endeavour Financial, where he successfully closed more than $25 billion worth of M&A transactions for junior resource companies.
Northern Vertex is changing hands at $1.16 on the TSX Venture Exchange, up more than 31 percent in the last year.