Table of Contents

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

   

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020

OR

   

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                      to   

             

Commission file number 000-54136 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

 

27-3431051

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

3700 BUFFALO SPEEDWAY, SUITE 925

HOUSTON, TEXAS 77098

(Address of principal executive offices)

(713) 877-1311

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

  None.  

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

  Common Stock, Par Value $0.01 per share  

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

             

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

             

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

             
        Emerging growth company  

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes ☐    No  

 

As of December 31, 2019, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates (based upon the closing sale price of such common stock as reported on the OTCQB) was $44,157,401. As of September 25, 2020, there were 6,804,411 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

 

Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III have been omitted from this report since registrant will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, not later than 120 days after the close of its fiscal year, a definitive proxy statement, pursuant to Regulation 14A. The information required by Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of this report, which will appear in the definitive proxy statement, is incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

 

Item 1.

BUSINESS

4

 

Item 1A.

RISK FACTORS

10

 

Item 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

17

 

Item 2.

PROPERTIES

17

 

Item 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

28

 

Item 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

28

 

Item 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

29

 

Item 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

31

 

Item 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

31  

Item 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

35

 

Item 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

35

 

Item 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

35

 

Item 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

35

 

Item 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

35

 

Item 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

36

 

Item 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

36  

Item 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

36  

Item 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

36  

Item 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

36  

Item 15.

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

37

 

 

 

 

 

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

Some of the statements made in this report may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The words and phrases “should be”, “will be”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “forecast”, “goal” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements and express expectations about future events. These include such matters as:

 

 

The Company’s financial position;

 

Business strategy, including outsourcing;

 

Meeting Company forecasts and budgets;

 

Anticipated capital expenditures and the availability of future financing;

 

Prices of gold and associated minerals;

 

Timing and amount of future discoveries (if any) and production of natural resources on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property;

 

Operating costs and other expenses;

 

Cash flow and anticipated liquidity;

  The Company’s ability to fund its business with current cash reserves based on currently planned activities;
 

Prospect development; 

  Operating and legal risks; and
 

New governmental laws and regulations.

 

Although the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such expectations may not occur. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These factors include among others:

 

 

Ability to raise capital to fund capital expenditures;

  Ability to retain or maintain our relative ownership interest in the Joint Venture Company;
  Ability to influence management of the Joint Venture Company;
 

Operational constraints and delays;

 

The risks associated with exploring in the mining industry;

 

The timing and successful discovery of natural resources;

 

Availability of capital and the ability to repay indebtedness when due;

 

Declines and variations in the price of gold and associated minerals;

 

Price volatility for natural resources;

 

Availability of operating equipment;

 

Operating hazards attendant to the mining industry;

 

Weather;

 

The ability to find and retain skilled personnel;

 

Restrictions on mining activities;

 

Legislation that may regulate mining activities;

 

Impact of new and potential legislative and regulatory changes on mining operating and safety standards;

 

Uncertainties of any estimates and projections relating to any future production, costs and expenses;

 

Timely and full receipt of sale proceeds from the sale of any of our mined products (if any);

 

Stock price and interest rate volatility;

 

Federal and state regulatory developments and approvals;

 

Availability and cost of material and equipment;

 

Actions or inactions of third parties;

 

Potential mechanical failure or under-performance of facilities and equipment;

 

Environmental risks;

 

Strength and financial resources of competitors;

 

Worldwide economic conditions;

  Impact of pandemics, such as the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, which could impact the Joint Venture Company’s exploration schedule;
 

Expanded rigorous monitoring and testing requirements;

 

Ability to obtain insurance coverage on commercially reasonable terms;

 

Competition generally and the increasing competitive nature of the mining industry; 

  Risk related to title to properties; and
  Ability to consummate strategic transactions.

 

You should not unduly rely on these forward-looking statements in this report, as they speak only as of the date of this report. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. See the information under the heading “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-K for some of the important factors that could affect the Company’s financial performance or could cause actual results to differ materially from estimates contained in forward-looking statements.

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1.     BUSINESS

Overview

 

Contango ORE, Inc. (“CORE” or the “Company”) is a Houston-based company, whose primary business is the participation in a joint venture to explore in the State of Alaska for gold ore and associated minerals. On January 8, 2015, the Company and Royal Gold, Inc. (“Royal Gold”), through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, consummated the transactions (the “Transactions”) contemplated under the Master Agreement, dated as of September 29, 2014 (the “Master Agreement”), including the formation of the Joint Venture Company (as defined below), to advance exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property (as defined below), which is prospective for gold and associated minerals. As of June 30, 2020, the Joint Venture Company leased or controlled over an estimated 860,000 acres for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals.

    

Background

 

Contango Mining Company (“Contango Mining”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Contango Oil & Gas Company (“Contango”), was formed for the purpose of mineral exploration in the State of Alaska. The Company was formed on September 1, 2010 as a Delaware corporation and on November 29, 2010, Contango Mining assigned all its properties and certain other assets and liabilities to Contango. Contango contributed the properties and $3.5 million of cash to the Company, pursuant to the terms of a Contribution Agreement (the “Contribution Agreement”), in exchange for approximately 1.6 million shares of the Company’s common stock. The transactions occurred between companies under common control. Contango then distributed all of the Company’s common stock to Contango’s stockholders of record as of October 15, 2010, promptly after the effective date of the Company’s Registration Statement Form 10 on the basis of one share of common stock for each ten (10) shares of Contango’s common stock then outstanding.

 

Contango Mining acquired an interest in properties from Juneau Exploration, L.P. (“JEX”), in exchange for $1 million and a 3.0% overriding royalty interest in the properties granted to JEX. JEX assisted the Company in acquiring additional properties in Alaska pursuant to an Advisory Agreement dated September 6, 2012, and the Company granted to JEX a 2% overriding royalty interest in the additional properties acquired. On September 29, 2014, pursuant to a Royalty Purchase Agreement between JEX and Royal Gold, JEX sold its entire overriding royalty interest in the properties to Royal Gold. On the same date, the Company terminated the Advisory Agreement with JEX. In connection with the closing of the Transactions with Royal Gold (the “Closing”), the Company formed Peak Gold, LLC (the “Joint Venture Company”) and contributed to the Joint Venture Company the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property (as defined below) near Tok, Alaska, together with other personal property with a historical cost of $1.4 million and an agreed value of $45.7 million. At the Closing, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, entered into a Limited Liability Company Agreement for the Joint Venture Company (the “JV LLCA”). 

 

Upon Closing, Royal Gold initially contributed $5.0 million to fund exploration activity of the Joint Venture Company. The initial $5.0 million did not give Royal Gold an equity stake in the Joint Venture Company. In connection with the initial contribution, Royal Gold received an option to earn up to a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company by investing up to $30.0 million (inclusive of the initial $5.0 million investment) prior to October 2018.  As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold has contributed $37.0 million (including its initial $5.0 million investment) to the Joint Venture Company and earned a 40.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company. The proceeds of the investment were used by the Joint Venture Company for additional exploration of the property it controls.  Now that Royal Gold has funded $30 million to the Joint Venture Company, pursuant to the terms of the JV LLCA, the Company and Royal Gold are obligated to jointly fund the joint venture operations in proportion to their interests in the Joint Venture Company in order to maintain their respective percentage interests in the Joint Venture Company.    If a member elects not to contribute to an approved program and budget or contributes less than its proportionate interest, its percentage interest will be reduced.  As of June 30, 2020, the Company had approximately $3.0 million of cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments.  Due to the effects of COVID-19 and for the safety of the Joint Venture Company’s field personnel and the surrounding community, the management committee of the Joint Venture Company (the "Management Committee") approved a $2.7 million budget for calendar year 2020 that would serve to care for and maintain the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and postpone new exploration until conditions permit.  The Company’s share of the budget is approximately $1.6 million, of which $1.0 million had been funded as of June 30, 2020.  

 

Properties

 

Since 2009, the Company’s primary focus has been the exploration of a mineral lease with the Native Village of Tetlin whose governmental entity is the Tetlin Tribal Council (“Tetlin Tribal Council”) for the exploration of minerals near Tok, Alaska on a currently estimated 675,000 acres (the “Tetlin Lease”) and almost all of the Company’s resources have been directed to that end. All significant work presently conducted by the Company has been directed at exploration of the Tetlin Lease and increasing understanding of the characteristics of, and economics of, any mineralization. There are no known quantifiable mineral reserves on the Tetlin Lease or any of the Company’s other properties as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Industry Guide 7.

 

 

The Tetlin Lease originally had a ten-year term beginning July 2008, which was extended for an additional ten years to July 15, 2028. If the properties under the Tetlin Lease are placed into commercial production, the Tetlin Lease will be held throughout production and the Company will be obligated to pay a production royalty to the Tetlin Tribal Council, which initially varied from 2.0% to 5.0%, depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. In June 2011, the Company paid the Tetlin Tribal Council $75,000 in exchange for reducing the production royalty payable to them by 0.25%. In July 2011, the Company paid the Tetlin Tribal Council an additional $150,000 in exchange for further reducing the production royalty by 0.50%. These payments lowered the production royalty to a range of 1.25% to 4.25%, depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. On or before July 15, 2020, the Tetlin Tribal Council had the option to increase its production royalty by (i) 0.25% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $150,000, or (ii) 0.50% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $300,000, or (iii) 0.75% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $450,000.  The Management Committee extended the Tetlin Tribal Council’s option until November 15, 2020.

 

As of June 30, 2020, the Joint Venture Company also held certain State of Alaska unpatented mining claims for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals. The Company believes that the Joint Venture Company holds good title to its properties, in accordance with standards generally accepted in the mineral industry. As is customary in the mineral industry, the Company conducts only a preliminary title examination at the time it acquires a property. The Joint Venture Company conducted a title examination prior to the assignment of the Tetlin Lease to the Joint Venture Company and performed certain curative title work. Before the Joint Venture Company begins any mine development work, however, the Joint Venture Company is expected to again conduct a full title review and perform curative work on any defects that it deems significant. A significant amount of additional work is likely required in the exploration of the properties before any determination as to the economic feasibility of a mining venture can be made.

 

The following table summarizes the Tetlin Lease and unpatented mining claims (collectively, the “Peak Gold Joint Venture Property”) held by the Joint Venture Company as of June 30, 2020:

 

Property

 

Location

 

Commodities

 

Claims

 

Estimated Acres

 

Type

Tetlin-Tok

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

129

 

10,800

 

 

State Mining Claims

Eagle

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

426

 

65,900

 

 

State Mining Claims

Bush

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

48

 

7,700

 

 

State Mining Claims

West Fork

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

48

 

7,700

 

 

State Mining Claims

Triple Z

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

108

 

15,800

 

 

State Mining Claims

Noah #1   Eastern Interior   Gold, Copper, Silver   219   34,400     State Mining Claims
Noah #2   Eastern Interior   Gold, Copper, Silver   263   41,000     State Mining Claims

Tetlin-Village

 

Eastern Interior

 

Gold, Copper, Silver

 

-

 

675,000

 

 

Lease

 

 

TOTALS:

 

 

 

1,241

 

858,300

 

 

 

 

Strategy

 

Partnering with strategic industry participants to expand future exploration work. In connection with an evaluation of the Company’s strategic options conducted by the Company's board of directors (the "Board of Directors" or "Board") and its financial advisor in 2014, the Company determined to continue its exploration activities on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property through a joint venture with an experienced industry participant. As a result, the Company formed the Joint Venture Company pursuant to the JV LLCA with Royal Gold. Under the JV LLCA, Royal Gold was appointed as the manager of the Joint Venture Company (the “Manager”), initially, with overall management responsibility for operations of the Joint Venture Company through October 31, 2018, and, thereafter, provided Royal Gold earned at least a forty percent (40%) percentage interest by October 31, 2018. As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold had earned a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company, and continues to serve as its Manager.  Royal Gold may resign as Manager, and can be removed as Manager for a material breach of the JV LLCA, a material failure to perform its obligations as the Manager, a failure to conduct the Joint Venture Company operations in accordance with industry standards and applicable laws, and other limited circumstances. The Manager will manage, and direct the operation of the Joint Venture Company, and will discharge its duties, in accordance with approved programs and budgets. The Manager will implement the decisions of the Management Committee and will carry out the day-to-day operations of the Joint Venture Company. Except as expressly delegated to the Manager, the JV LLCA provides that the Management Committee has exclusive authority to determine all management matters related to the Joint Venture Company. The Management Committee consists of one appointee designated by the Company and two appointees designated by Royal Gold. Each designate on the Management Committee is entitled to one vote. Except for the list of specific actions set forth in the JV LLCA, the affirmative vote by a majority of designates is required for action.

 

Effective as of January 6, 2020, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse was appointed to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, replacing Brad Juneau. Mr. Juneau continues to be active in the Company as Executive Chairman. Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse, 64, brings to the Company a wealth of experience in the mining industry. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Trilogy Metals Inc. from January 2012 until January 6, 2020. Between May 1999 and January of 2012, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of NOVAGOLD Resources, Inc. 

 

Structuring Incentives to Drive Behavior. The Company believes that equity ownership aligns the interests of the Company’s executives and directors with those of its stockholders. As of June 30, 2020, the Company’s directors and executives beneficially owned approximately 19.2% of the Company’s common stock. An additional 12.0% of the Company’s common stock is beneficially owned by the Marital Trust of Mr. Kenneth R. Peak, the Company’s former Chairman, who passed away on April 19, 2013.

 

 

Exploration and Mining Property

 

Exploration and mining rights in Alaska may be acquired in the following manner: public lands, private fee lands, unpatented Federal or State of Alaska mining claims, patented mining claims, and tribal lands. The primary sources for acquisition of these lands are the United States government, through the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service, the Alaskan state government, tribal governments, and individuals or entities who currently hold title to or lease government and private lands.

 

Tribal lands are those lands that are under control by sovereign Native American tribes, such as land constituting the Tetlin Lease or Alaska Native corporations established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Areas that show promise for exploration and mining can be leased or joint ventured with the tribe controlling the land, including land constituting the Tetlin Lease.

 

The State of Alaska government owns public lands. Mineral resource exploration, development and production are administered primarily by the State Department of Natural Resources. Ownership of the subsurface mineral estate, including alluvial and lode mineral rights, can be acquired by staking a 40-acre or 160-acre mining claim, which right is granted under Alaska Statute Sec. 38.05.185 to 38.05.275, as amended. The State of Alaska government continues to own the surface estate, subject to certain rights of ingress and egress owned by the claimant, even though the subsurface can be controlled by a claimant with a right to extract through claim staking. A mining claim is subject to annual assessment work requirements, the payment of annual rental fees and royalties due to the State of Alaska after commencement of commercial production. Both private fee-land and unpatented mining claims and related rights, including rights to use the surface, are subject to permitting requirements of Federal, State, Tribal and local governments.

 

Consulting Services provided by Avalon Development Corporation

 

Until January 8, 2015, the Company was a party to a Professional Services Agreement (“PSA”) with Avalon Development Corporation (“Avalon”) to provide certain geological consulting services and exploration activities with respect to the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. Pursuant to the PSA, Avalon provided geological consulting services and exploration activities, including all field work at the Tetlin Lease.  In connection with the Transactions, the Company terminated the PSA with Avalon.  Avalon continued to provide services to the Joint Venture Company until February 28, 2020, when its owner, Curtis J. Freeman, retired.  The Joint Venture Company has retained key administrative, geology, and database management personnel from Avalon on a contract basis.  The Company's CEO, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, who has extensive experience in the mining industry, and personnel previously employed by Avalon are assisting the Joint Venture Company as independent contractors in place of Avalon.

 

Services Provided by Tetlin Village Members

 

Since the start of the term of the Tetlin Lease, the Company has worked closely with the Tetlin Tribal Council to train and employ Tetlin Tribal members and their family members during the Joint Venture Company’s project exploration programs. During the Joint Venture Company’s exploration programs, there were typically 10 to 15 Tetlin residents working on the Joint Venture Company’s project employed on a seasonal basis through Avalon. Their duties included reconnaissance soil, stream sediment and pan concentrate sampling, diamond drill core processing, drill pad construction and related tasks, expediting services, food services, database management, vehicle transportation and maintenance services, reclamation activities, and project management tasks.

 

 

Community Affairs

   

In April 2015, the Joint Venture Company entered into a Community Support Agreement (as amended, the “Support Agreement”) with the Tetlin Village for a one-year period, which was extended for two additional two-year periods under the same terms. Under the extended Support Agreement, the Joint Venture Company provided payments to the Tetlin Village four times during the year for an aggregate amount of $110,000 through January 1, 2017, and an additional $100,000 each year through January 1, 2020.   The Support Agreement was extended a third time for an additional one-year period under the same terms.  Under the third extension, the Joint Venture Company will provide payments to the Tetlin Village four times during the year for an aggregate amount of $100,000 through January 1, 2021.  The Support Agreement defines agreed uses for the funds and auditing rights regarding use of funds. In addition, the Joint Venture Company supports the Tetlin Village in maintenance of the village access road, which is used by the Joint Venture Company. 

 

Adverse Climate Conditions

 

Weather conditions affect the Joint Venture Company’s ability to conduct exploration activities and mine any ore from the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property in Alaska. While the Company believes exploration, development work and any subsequent mining may be conducted year-round, the arctic climate limits many exploration and mining activities during certain seasons.

 

Competition

 

The Company currently faces strong competition for the acquisition of exploration-stage properties as well as extraction of any minerals in Alaska. Numerous larger mining companies actively seek out and bid for mining prospects as well as for the services of third-party providers and supplies, such as mining equipment and transportation equipment. The Company’s competitors in the exploration, development, acquisition and mining business will include major integrated mining companies as well as numerous smaller mining companies, almost all of which have significantly greater financial resources and in-house technical expertise. In addition, the Company will compete with others in efforts to obtain financing to explore our mineral properties.

 

Government Regulation

 

The Joint Venture Company’s mineral exploration activities are generally affected by various laws and regulations, including environmental, conservation, tax and other laws and regulations relating to the exploration of minerals. Various federal and Alaskan laws and regulations often require permits for exploration activities and also cover extraction of minerals. In addition, the Tetlin Lease is located on land leased from the Tetlin Tribal Council. Federally recognized Native American tribes are independent governments, with sovereign powers, except to the extent those powers may have been limited by treaty or by the United States Congress. Such tribes maintain their own governmental systems and often their own judicial systems and have the right to tax, and to require licenses and to impose other forms of regulation and regulatory fees, on persons and businesses operating on their lands. As sovereign nations, federally recognized Native American tribes are generally subject only to federal regulation. States do not have the authority to regulate them, unless such authority has been specifically granted by Congress, and state laws generally do not directly apply to them and to activities taking place on their lands, unless they have a specific agreement or compact with the state or federal government allowing for the application of state law. The Company believes that the Joint Venture Company will continue to use its best efforts to ensure that it is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, but the denial of permits required to explore for or mine ore may prevent it from realizing any revenues arising from the presence of minerals on its properties.

 

Environmental Regulation

 

The Company believes that the Joint Venture Company is currently operating in compliance with all environmental regulations. While the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Office of Project Management and Permitting coordinates the permitting of mine projects on state lands, it has no jurisdiction on Native American land such as the Tetlin Lease. However, the Joint Venture Company has voluntarily elected, with the concurrence of the Tetlin Tribal Council, to conduct its mineral exploration activities under the same terms and conditions as required on State of Alaska mining claims.

 

Hard Rock Exploration Permits and Temporary Water Use Permits covering past and planned activities on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property were issued by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to the Joint Venture Company and consist of the following multi-year permits:

 

  1.

Alaska Hard Rock Exploration and Reclamation Permit #2626 covering exploration drilling activities on the Tetlin Lease. This permit now extends through December 31, 2020. Each year during the term of the permit, the Joint Venture Company will submit a reclamation statement detailing reclamation actions taken and a letter of intent to do reclamation for the following year.

  2.

Alaska Temporary Water Use Permit F2016-23, allowing a seasonal average water use of 21,600 gallons per day during the period May 20 to October 15.  The permit expires December 31, 2020. These water use authorizations are specific to Alaska Hard Rock Exploration permit #2626.

  3. Alaska Mining Permit Application (APMA) F192900 covering exploration activities for a 5-year period on the Hona Exploration Project was received on August 6, 2019.
  4. Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G), Habitat Division issued the Fish Habitat Permit FH19-III-0117 for activities associated with F192900 on June 4. The Fish Habitat Permit will expire on December 31, 2023.
  5. Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR), Division of Mining, Land and Water issued a Temporary Water Use Authorization (TWUA) for the Hona exploration area on August 12, 2019.

 

 

The above referenced State of Alaska permits were issued to the Company and assigned to the Joint Venture Company to cover its access road, drill pad and core drilling impacts. The Company does not anticipate that the Joint Venture Company will require additional permits from the State of Alaska for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. Reclamation of surface disturbance, if any, associated with our exploration activities is conducted concurrently where required.

 

The Joint Venture Company also has received a Nationwide Permit #6, Permit #POA-2013-286, from the U.S. Department of the Army Corps of Engineers with respect to the Joint Venture Company’s intended drilling and access-related disturbances on wetlands within the Tetlin Lease, which is valid through December 31, 2022. However, such lands were classified as wetlands more than 20 years ago and much of the land covered by such permit has since been burned by natural wildfires. As a consequence of the wildfires and natural habitat changes that have taken place since the wildfires, the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property may no longer be considered wetlands according to Corps of Engineers guidelines.

 

The Company began collecting baseline environmental data in 2012 and the Joint Venture Company has continued this process. The Joint Venture Company has not developed a comprehensive environmental permitting strategy as the Joint Venture Company remains in an exploration stage. If and when its exploration work is significantly advanced that additional baseline environmental studies and prefeasibility studies are desirable, the Joint Venture Company will be required to expend considerable funds and resources for an environmental impact statement and related studies to advance any mining project.

 

Any future mining operations are subject to local, state and federal regulation governing environmental quality and pollution control, including air quality standards, greenhouse gas, waste management, reclamation and restoration of properties, plant and wildlife protection, cultural resource protection, handling and disposal of radioactive substances, and employee health and safety. Extraction of mineral ore is subject to stringent environmental regulation by state and federal authorities, including the Environmental Protection Agency. Such regulation can increase the cost of planning, designing, installing and operating mining facilities or otherwise delay, limit or prohibit planned operations.

 

Significant fines and penalties may be imposed for failure to comply with environmental laws. Some environmental laws provide for joint and several strict liability for remediation of releases of hazardous substances. In addition, the Joint Venture Company may be subject to claims alleging personal injury or property damages as a result of alleged exposure to hazardous substances.

 

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and regulations promulgated thereunder, and the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, impose a variety of health and safety standards on numerous aspects of employee working conditions related to mineral extraction and processing operations, including the training of personnel, operating procedures and operating equipment. In addition, the Joint Venture Company may be subject to additional state and local mining standards. The Company believes that the Joint Venture Company currently is in compliance with applicable mining standards; however, the Company cannot predict whether changes in standards or the interpretation or enforcement thereof will have a material adverse effect on the Joint Venture Company’s business, financial condition or otherwise impose restrictions on its ability to conduct mining operations.

 

A typical time frame for baseline environmental studies and permitting for a gold mine in Alaska may consume a decade or more. There are numerous state and federal permits and authorizations required from many different state and federal agencies. Federal legislation and regulations adopted and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and other federal agencies, legislation such as the Federal Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and various laws and regulations administered by the State of Alaska including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, have a direct bearing on exploration and mining operations conducted in Alaska. These regulations will make the process for preparing and obtaining approval of a plan of operations much more time-consuming, expensive, and uncertain. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources coordinates the permitting of mining operations in the State of Alaska, has developed a process to integrate federal, state and local government requirements to obtain mine permits, and also provides an opportunity for public comment. Plans of operation will be required to include detailed baseline environmental information and address how detailed reclamation performance standards will be met. In addition, all activities for which plans of operation are required will be subject to a new standard of review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which must make a finding that the conditions, practices or activities do not cause substantial irreparable harm to significant scientific, cultural, or environmental resource values that cannot be effectively mitigated.

 

CERCLA generally imposes joint and several strict liability for costs of investigation and remediation and for natural resource damages, with respect to the release of hazardous substances (as designated under CERCLA) into the environment. CERCLA also authorizes the EPA, and in some cases, third parties, to take action in response to threats to the public health or the environment and to seek to recover from the potentially responsible parties the costs of such action. The Joint Venture Company’s mining operations may generate wastes that fall within CERCLA’s definition of “Hazardous Substances”.

 

 

Employees

 

The Company has one full-time employee, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, its President and Chief Executive Officer who is responsible for the management of the Company. Brad Juneau serves as the Company’s Executive Chairman. Leah Gaines is the Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Treasurer and Secretary of the Company and is responsible for the financial and accounting affairs of the Company.  Mr. Juneau and Ms. Gaines provide their services to the Company through a management agreement with JEX. See Note 12. - Related Party Transactions. The Company also uses the services of independent consultants and contractors to perform various professional services, including land acquisition, legal, environmental and tax services. In addition, the Joint Venture Company utilizes the services of consultants and independent contractors to perform geological, exploration and drilling operation services and independent third-party engineering firms to evaluate any mineral resources identified.

 

Directors and Executive Officers

 

The following table sets forth the names, ages and positions of the Company’s directors and executive officers: 

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

Brad Juneau

 

60

 

Executive Chairman

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse   64   President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director

Leah Gaines

 

44

 

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Treasurer and Secretary

Joseph Compofelice

 

71

 

Director

Joseph G. Greenberg

 

59

 

Director

Richard Shortz   75   Director

 

Brad Juneau. Mr. Juneau, the Company’s co-founder, currently serves as the Company’s Executive Chairman and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company from December 2012 to January 6, 2020. Mr. Juneau was first appointed President, Acting Chief Executive Officer and director in August 2012 when the Company’s co-founder, Mr. Kenneth R. Peak received a medical leave of absence. Mr. Juneau was appointed Chairman of the Board in April 2013. Mr. Juneau is the sole manager of the general partner of JEX, an oil and gas exploration and production company. Prior to forming JEX in 1998, Mr. Juneau served as Senior Vice President of Exploration for Zilkha Energy Company from 1987 to 1998. Prior to joining Zilkha Energy Company, Mr. Juneau served as Staff Petroleum Engineer with Texas International Company for three years, where his principal responsibilities included reservoir engineering, as well as acquisitions and evaluations. Prior to that, he was a production engineer with Enserch Corporation in Oklahoma City. Mr. Juneau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University. Mr. Juneau previously served as a Director of Contango from April 2012 to March 2014, and is currently a director of Talos Energy.

 

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse.  Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse was appointed to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company effective January 6, 2020. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Trilogy Metals Inc. from January 2012. Between May 1999 and January of 2012, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of NOVAGOLD Resources, Inc. He served as the Vice President of Exploration for Placer Dome from 1990 to 1997.  Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse holds a Candidature degree in Science  from Université de Louvain, Belgium and a Masters of Science degree in Geology from the University of Arizona. 

 

Leah Gaines. Ms. Gaines was appointed as the Company’s Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Treasurer and Secretary on October 1, 2013. Ms. Gaines has also served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of JEX since October 2010. Prior to joining JEX, she served as the Controller for Beryl Oil and Gas, LP and Beryl Resources LP from July 2007 to December 2009. From April 2006 to July 2007, Ms. Gaines held the position of Financial Reporting Manager at SPN Resources, a division of Superior Energy Services. From 2003 to 2006, Ms. Gaines was the Senior Financial Reporting Accountant at Hilcorp Energy. Ms. Gaines was a Principal Accountant at El Paso Corporation in its Power Asset division from 2001 to 2003. Prior to that, Ms. Gaines worked at Deloitte and Touche, LLP for three years as a Senior Auditor. Ms. Gaines graduated Magna Cum Laude from Angelo State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant with over twenty years of experience.

 

Joseph Compofelice. Mr. Compofelice has been a director of the Company since its inception. Since January 1, 2014, Mr. Compofelice has been an Operating Partner at White Deer Energy, a private equity firm that targets investments in the energy business.  Mr. Compofelice served as Managing Director of Houston Capital Advisors, a boutique financial advisory, mergers and acquisitions investment service from January 2004 to December 2013. Mr. Compofelice served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Trico Marine Service, a provider of marine support vessels serving the international natural gas and oil industry, from 2004 to 2010 and as its Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2010. Mr. Compofelice was President and Chief Executive Officer of Aquilex Services Corp., a service and equipment provider to the power generation industry, from October 2001 to October 2003. From February 1998 to October 2000, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CompX International Inc., a provider of components to the office furniture, computer and transportation industries. From March 1994 to May 1998 he was Chief Financial Officer of NL Industries, a chemical producer, Titanium Metals Corporation, a metal producer and Tremont Corp. Mr. Compofelice received his Bachelor of Science from California State University at Los Angeles and his Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

 

Joseph G. Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg has been a director of the Company since its inception. Mr. Greenberg is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alta Resources, L.L.C., an oil and gas exploration and production company. Prior to founding Alta Resources in 1999, Mr. Greenberg worked as an exploration geologist for Shell Oil Company and Edge Petroleum Company. Mr. Greenberg received a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University in 1983, and a Masters in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He has over thirty years of diversified experience in oil and gas exploration and production.

 

Richard Shortz.  Mr. Shortz has been a director since 2016.  Mr. Shortz is President and Chief Executive Officer of Pavia Capital, LLP, a family office investment company.  Mr. Shortz served as a Partner of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, an international law firm (“Morgan Lewis”) from 1995 through September 2016 and as a Partner with Jones Day Reavis & Pogue LLP, another international law firm, from 1983 through 1994.  He previously was an executive of Tosco Corporation, an independent oil and gas company, from 1973 through 1983 where he became Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary.  Mr. Shortz has extensive experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, regularly advising both public and private energy companies.  While a Partner at Morgan Lewis, Mr. Shortz served as Chairman of the firm’s Energy Group and a member of its Board of Directors.  Mr. Shortz received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Indiana University in 1967 and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1970.

 

 

The Board is responsible for managing the Company, in accordance with the provisions of the Company’s Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation and applicable law. The number of directors which constitutes the Board is established by the Board, subject to a minimum of three and a maximum of seven directors. Except as otherwise provided by the Bylaws for filling vacancies on the Company’s Board, the Company’s directors are elected at the Company’s annual meeting of stockholders and hold office until their respective successors are elected, or until their earlier resignation or removal. The Company’s executive officers are elected annually by the Board and serve until their successors are duly elected and qualified or until their earlier resignation or removal. There are no family relationships between the Company’s directors or executive officers.

 

The Board elected Mr. Juneau as Executive Chairman for a number of reasons. Mr. Juneau beneficially owns approximately 9.0% of the Company’s common stock, making him one of the largest shareholders. Mr. Juneau has been an active entrepreneur who founded JEX, an exploration and production company.

 

Corporate Offices

 

The Company currently subleases office space from JEX at 3700 Buffalo Speedway, Ste 925, Houston, TX 77098.  The cost of the rent is included in the monthly management fee the Company pays to JEX.  See Note 12 - Related Party Transactions.

 

Code of Ethics

 

The Company adopted a Code of Ethics for senior management in September 2010. A copy of our Code of Ethics is filed as an Exhibit to this Form 10-K and is also available on the Company’s website at www.contangoore.com.

 

Available Information

 

You may read and copy all or any portion of this annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, as well as any amendments and exhibits to those reports, without charge at the office of the SEC in Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC, 20549. Information regarding the operation of the public reference rooms may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. In addition, filings made with the SEC electronically are publicly available through the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov, and at the Company’s website at http://www.contangoore.com. This annual report on Form 10-K, including all exhibits and amendments, has been filed electronically with the SEC.

 

Item 1A.    RISK FACTORS  

 

In addition to other information set forth elsewhere in this Form 10-K, you should carefully consider the following factors when evaluating the Company. An investment in the Company is subject to risks inherent in the mining business as an exploration stage company. The value of an investment in the Company may decrease, resulting in a complete loss of your investment. The risk factors below are not all inclusive.  Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we currently deem to be immaterial, may also impair or adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operation.

 

    We face risks related to health epidemics and other outbreaks, including the recent spread of COVID-19 or novel coronavirus, or fear of such an event.

 

Our business could be adversely affected by a widespread outbreak of contagious disease, including the outbreak of the 2019 novel strain of coronavirus, causing a contagious respiratory disease known as COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Through June 30, 2020, the spread of this virus and government responses have caused business disruption and are adversely affecting many industries. The spread of COVID-19 has also caused significant volatility in U.S. and international debt and equity markets. There is significant uncertainty around the breadth and duration of business disruptions related to COVID-19, as well as its impact on the U.S. economy and consumer confidence. If a significant portion of our workforce, or the Joint Venture Company’s workforce becomes unable to work or travel to our operations or the Joint Venture Company’s operations, due to illness or state or federal government restrictions (including travel restrictions and “shelter-in-place” and similar orders restricting certain activities that may be issued or extended by authorities), we, or the Joint Venture Company, may be forced to reduce or suspend operations at one or more properties, which could reduce exploration activities and development projects and impact liquidity and financial results. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section, including, but not limited to, risks related to commodity prices and commodity markets, commodity price fluctuations, our ability to raise additional capital, information systems and cyber security and risks relating to operations, impacts of governmental regulations, availability of infrastructure and employees and challenging global financial conditions.

 

We may be subject to litigation if one or more employees contract COVID-19 at work or litigation initiated by stockholders who view decisions by the Board of Directors or management as inconsistent with duties to the Company under Delaware law or who may assert claims under federal securities laws. We understand that, as indicated by sharp increases in average premiums for director and officer insurance policies in recent months, insurers expect increased litigation relating to COVID-19.

 

The Company and the Joint Venture Company are monitoring the situation and taking reasonable steps to keep our business premises, properties, vendors and employees in a safe environment and are constantly monitoring the impact of COVID-19. The extent to which COVID-19 impacts our results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19 and the actions taken to contain it or treat its impact. While we have not seen a significant impact to our results from COVID-19 to date, if the virus continues to cause significant negative impacts to economic conditions or impacts the Joint Venture Company’s ability to continue exploration work, our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity could be adversely impacted.

 

Royal Gold will have discretion regarding the use and allocation of funds for further exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.

 

Royal Gold is the Manager of the Joint Venture Company and has appointed two of the three designates to the Management Committee. The Company has appointed one designate to the Management Committee.  Royal Gold has earned a 40.0% membership interest in the Joint Venture Company by making the full $30.0 million investment, in accordance with the JV LLCA, and, therefore, will continue to have the right to appoint two designates to the Management Committee with the Company appointing one designate. The affirmative vote of a majority of designates will determine most decisions of the Management Committee, including the approval of programs and budgets and the expenditure of the Joint Venture Company’s investments, which will include the level of expenditures.  As a result, Royal Gold has discretion regarding the use and allocation of funds for further exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. The Company has limited ability to influence the decision of Royal Gold in its capacity as Manager, or as the party controlling the majority of the Management Committee.

 

10

 

There can be no assurance that the Company will be capable of raising additional funding required to continue development of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and meet its funding obligations under the JV LLCA.

              

   Pursuant to the JV LLCA, the Company and Royal Gold are required to jointly fund the joint venture operations in proportion to their interests in the Joint Venture Company. If a member elects not to contribute to an approved program and budget or elects to contribute less than its proportionate interest, its percentage interest will be reduced. The capital costs of developing a large gold mining facility could exceed $1 billion. The Company’s ability to contribute funds sufficient to retain its membership interests in the Joint Venture Company may be limited. To date, neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has generated any revenue from mineral sales or operations. In the future, the Joint Venture Company may generate revenue from a combination of mineral sales and other payments resulting from any commercially recoverable minerals from the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. The Company does not expect the Joint Venture Company to generate revenue from mineral sales in the foreseeable future. Further, neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has any recurring source of revenue other than the Company and Royal Gold’s contributions in connection with the Transactions. As a result, the Company’s ability to contribute funds to the Joint Venture Company and retain its interest will depend on its ability to raise capital. The Company has limited financial resources and the ability of the Company to arrange additional financing in the future will depend, in part, on the prevailing capital market conditions, the exploration results achieved at the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, as well as the market price of metals. The Company cannot be certain that financing will be available to the Company on acceptable terms, if at all. If the Company is unable to fund its contributions to the approved programs and budgets for the Joint Venture Company, its interest in the Joint Venture Company will be diluted.  In addition, now that Royal Gold has earned a 40.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company, it has the option to require the Company to sell an additional 20.0% of the Company’s interest in the Joint Venture Company in a sale by Royal Gold of its entire percentage interest of 40.0% to a bona fide third-party purchaser.

Further financing by the Company may include issuances of equity, instruments convertible into equity (such as warrants) or various forms of debt. The Company has issued common stock and other instruments convertible into equity in the past and cannot predict the size or price of any future issuances of common stock or other instruments convertible into equity, and the effect, if any, that such future issuances and sales will have on the market price of the Company’s securities. Any additional issuances of common stock or securities convertible into, or exercisable or exchangeable for, common stock may ultimately result in dilution to the holders of common stock, dilution in any future earnings per share of the Company and may have a material adverse effect upon the market price of the common stock of the Company.

The Company must depend upon Royal Gold’s management of the Joint Venture Company following termination of the Company’s third-party consulting agreements.

On September 29, 2014, the Company terminated its advisory agreement with JEX. In addition, the Company terminated its services agreements with Avalon and other parties. The Company has historically had part-time employees, none of whom are mineral geoscientists or have experience in the mining industry, and has previously depended upon third party consultants for the success of its exploration projects. The Company must now depend upon Royal Gold for its expertise in planning work programs, conducting field work, evaluating drilling results and preparing development programs.

 

There can be no assurance that Royal Gold will continue to fund the Joint Venture Company to continue exploration work.

 

Pursuant to the JV LLCA, there is no requirement that Royal Gold contribute any future amounts to the Joint Venture Company to continue exploration work, and the Company will have limited funds to continue exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, if Royal fails to contribute additional amounts to the Joint Venture Company.

 

The Company’s interest in the Joint Venture Company may be reduced.

 

Pursuant to the JV LLCA, the members will contribute funds to approved programs and budgets in proportion to their respective percentage interests in the Joint Venture Company. If a member elects not to contribute to an approved program and budget or contributes less than its proportionate interest, its percentage interest will be recalculated by dividing (i) the sum of (a) the value of its initial contribution plus (b) the total of all of its capital contributions plus (c) the amount of the capital contribution it elects to fund, by (ii) the sum of (a), (b) and (c) above for both members multiplied by 100. Going forward, the Company’s ability to contribute funds sufficient to maintain the current level of its membership interests in the Joint Venture Company may be limited.  Due to the effects of COVID-19 and for the safety of the Joint Venture Company's field personnel and the surrounding community, the Management Committee approved a $2.7 million calendar year budget for 2020 that would serve to care for and maintain the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and postpone new exploration until conditions permit.  The Company would need to fund its share of the budget, approximately $1.6 million, to maintain its current level of interest in the Joint Venture Company. If the Company elects not to, or is unable to contribute its proportionate share of the approved exploration budget, its interest in the Joint Venture Company will be reduced.

 

In addition, now that Royal Gold has earned a percentage interest of 40.0% in the Joint Venture Company, the Company’s interest in the Joint Venture Company may also be reduced if Royal Gold exercises its right to require the Company to sell up to 20.0% of the interest in the Joint Venture Company in a sale by Royal Gold of its entire percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company.

 

Royal Gold has far greater technical and financial resources than the Company.

 

Royal Gold is an international precious metals royalty and streaming company with interests in approximately 193 properties on six continents and a market capitalization of approximately $9 billion. Because of its vastly superior technical and financial resources, Royal Gold may adopt budgets and work programs for the Joint Venture Company that the Company will be unable to fund in the time frame required, and its interest in the Joint Venture Company may be substantially diluted.

 

The JV LLCA restricts the Company’s right to transfer or encumber its interests in the Joint Venture Company.

 

The JV LLCA contains certain limitations on transferring or encumbering interests in the Joint Venture Company including any transfer that would cause termination of the Joint Venture Company as a partnership for Federal income tax purposes except none of the restrictions limit the transfer of any capital stock of the Company.

 

 

The formation of the Joint Venture Company and appointment of Royal Gold as Manager do not provide assurance that further exploration efforts will be successful.

 

The formation of the Joint Venture Company and appointment of Royal Gold as Manager do not provide assurance that further exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property will be successful, any additional resource will be discovered or a commercial deposit of gold ore and associated minerals will be located. The results of any further exploration work will be assayed and analyzed to determine if additional work should be performed and additional funds expended.

 

The probability that an individual prospect will contain commercial grade reserves is extremely remote.

 

The probability of finding economic mineral reserves on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is extremely small. It is common to spend millions of dollars on an exploration prospect and complete many phases of exploration and still not obtain mineral reserves that can be economically exploited. Therefore, the possibility that the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property will contain commercial mineral reserves and that the Company will recover funds spent on exploration is extremely remote.

 

The price of gold and the gold mining industry are volatile and beyond the Company’s control.

 

Gold prices are affected by many factors beyond the Company’s control, including U.S. dollar strength or weakness, speculation, global currency values, the price of products that incorporate gold, global and regional demand and production, political and economic conditions and other factors.  A significant decline in the price of gold may result in the Company having to reassess the feasibility of its projects and could negatively affect the value of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and the Company’s securities.

 

The Company’s ability to successfully execute its business plan is dependent on its ability to obtain adequate financing.

 

The Company’s business plan, which includes drilling and developing the Joint Venture Company’s exploration prospects, will require substantial capital expenditures. The Company’s ability to raise capital will depend on many factors, including the status of various capital and industry markets at the time it seeks such capital. Accordingly, the Company cannot be certain that financing will be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all. In the event additional capital resources are unavailable, the Company may be unable to fund expenditures by the Joint Venture Company for exploration and development activities or be forced to sell all or some portion of its interest in the Joint Venture Company in an untimely fashion or on less than favorable terms.

 

The Company has no revenue to date from the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, which may negatively impact the Company’s ability to achieve its business objectives.

 

Since the acquisition of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, the Company and the Joint Venture Company have conducted only exploration activities and to date none of the Joint Venture Company’s properties have any proven or probable reserves as defined by SEC Industry Guide 7. The Company’s ability to become profitable will be dependent on the receipt of revenues from the extraction of minerals greater than operational expenses. The Company and the Joint Venture Company have carried on their business of exploring the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property at a loss since inception and expect that the Company and the Joint Venture Company will continue to incur losses unless and until such time as one of the properties enters into commercial production and generates sufficient revenues to fund its continuing operations. The amounts and timing of expenditures will depend on the progress of ongoing exploration, the results of consultants’ analysis and recommendations, the rate at which operating losses are incurred, and other factors, many of which are beyond the Company’s control. Whether any mineral deposits discovered would be commercially viable depends on a number of factors, which include, without limitation, the particular attributes of the deposit, market prices for the minerals, and governmental regulations. If the Joint Venture Company cannot discover commercially viable deposits or commence actual mining operations, the Company and the Joint Venture Company may never generate revenues and may never become profitable.

 

The Company’s continued viability depends on the exploration, permitting, development and operation of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, which is the only material property of the Joint Venture Company.

 

The Joint Venture Company’s only material project at this time is the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, which is in the exploration stage. The Company’s continued viability is based on successfully implementing its strategy, which will require the Joint Venture Company to perform appropriate exploratory and engineering work and evaluate such work, and the permitting and construction of a mine and processing facilities in a reasonable time frame.

 

The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property does not have any proven or probable reserves and the Joint Venture Company may never identify any commercially exploitable mineralization.

 

None of the Joint Venture Company’s properties have any proven or probable reserves as defined by SEC Industry Guide 7. To date, the Company and the Joint Venture Company have only engaged in exploration activities on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.  Accordingly, the Company does not have sufficient information upon which to assess the ultimate success of their exploration efforts. There is no assurance that the Joint Venture Company may ever locate any mineral reserves on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. Additionally, even if the Joint Venture Company finds minerals in sufficient quantities to warrant recovery, such recovery may not be economically profitable. Mineral exploration is highly speculative in nature, involves many risks and is frequently non-productive. Unusual or unexpected geologic formations and the inability to obtain suitable or adequate machinery, equipment or labor are risks involved in the conduct of exploration programs. If the Joint Venture Company does not establish reserves, it might be required to curtail or suspend operations, in which case the market value of the Company’s common stock will decline, and you might lose all of your investment.

 

 


The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is located in the remote regions of Alaska and exploration activities may be limited by weather and limited access and existing infrastructure.

 

The Joint Venture Company is focused on the exploration of its properties in the State of Alaska. The arctic climate limits many exploration and mining activities during certain seasons. In addition, the remote location of the properties may limit access and increase exploration expense. Higher costs associated with exploration activities and limitation on the annual periods in which the Joint Venture Company can carry on exploration activities might increase the costs and time associated with our planned exploration activities and could negatively affect the value of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and the Company’s securities.

 

Concentrating capital investment in the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property in the State of Alaska increases exposure to risk.

 

The Company and the Joint Venture Company have focused their capital investments in exploring for gold and associated mineral prospects on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property in the State of Alaska. However, the exploration prospects in Alaska may not lead to any revenues or the Joint Venture Company may not be able to drill for mineral deposits at anticipated costs due to financing, environmental or operating uncertainties. Should the Joint Venture Company be able to make an economic discovery on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, it would then be solely dependent upon a single mining operation for its revenue and profits. Because of this concentration in a limited geographic area, the success and profitability of our operations may be disproportionately exposed to regional factors relative to competitors that have more geographically dispersed operations.

 

The Company will rely on the accuracy of the estimates in reports provided to the Company by the Joint Venture Company’s Manager and outside consultants and engineers.

 

The Company has no in-house mineral engineering capability, and therefore will rely on the accuracy of reports provided to it by the Joint Venture Company’s Manager and independent third-party consultants. If those reports prove to be inaccurate, the Company’s financial reports could have material misstatements. Further, the Company will use the reports of such independent consultants in its financial planning. If the reports prove to be inaccurate, we may also make misjudgments in its financial planning.

 

Exploration activities involve a high degree of risk, and the Joint Venture Company’s exploratory drilling activities may not be successful.

 

The Company’s future success will largely depend on the success of the exploration drilling programs of the Joint Venture Company. Participation in exploration drilling activities involves numerous risks, including the significant risk that no commercially marketable minerals will be discovered. The mining of minerals and the manufacture of mineral products involves numerous hazards, including:

 

Ground or slope failures;

 

Pressure or irregularities in formations affecting ore or wall rock characteristics;

 

Equipment failures or accidents;

 

Adverse weather conditions;

 

Compliance with governmental requirements and laws, present and future;

 

Shortages or delays in the availability and delivery of equipment; and

 

Lack of adequate infrastructure, including access to roads, electricity and available housing.

 

Poor results from the Joint Venture Company’s drilling activities would materially and adversely affect the Company’s future cash flows and results of operations.

 

The Joint Venture Company has no assurance of title to its properties.

 

The Joint Venture Company holds approximately 183,000 acres in the form of State of Alaska unpatented mining claims for gold ore exploration. Unpatented mining claims are unique property interests in that they are subject to the paramount title of the State of Alaska and rights of third parties to uses of the surface within their boundaries, and are generally considered to be subject to greater title risk than other real property interests. The rights to deposits of minerals lying within the boundaries of the unpatented state claims are subject to Alaska Statues 38.05.185 - 38.05.280, and are governed by Alaska Administrative Code 11 AAC 86.100 - 86.600. The validity of all State of Alaska unpatented mining claims is dependent upon inherent uncertainties and conditions.  With respect to the Tetlin Lease, the Company retained title lawyers to conduct a preliminary examination of title to the mineral interest prior to executing the Tetlin Lease. The Joint Venture Company conducted a title examination prior to the assignment of the Tetlin Lease to the Joint Venture Company and performed certain curative title work. In addition, in connection with the assignment of the Tetlin Lease from the Company to the Joint Venture Company, the Company and the Native Village of Tetlin entered into an Estoppel and Agreement and a Stability Agreement (the “Agreements”) that were approved by the Tetlin Tribal Council and the Native Village of Tetlin members.  The Agreements approved the assignment of the Tetlin Lease to the Joint Venture Company and, among other things, confirmed the validity and effectiveness of the Tetlin Lease.  Nevertheless, a deficiency in title or claims by a third party may not be curable.  It does happen, from time to time, that the title to a property is defective, having been obtained in error from a person who is not the rightful owner of the mineral interest desired. In these circumstances, the Joint Venture Company might not be able to proceed with exploration of the lease site or might incur costs to remedy a defect. It might also happen, from time to time, that the Joint Venture Company might elect to proceed with mining work despite any such deficiency or claim. 

 

 

The Tetlin Lease was executed with a Native American tribe for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals. The enforcement of contractual rights against Native American tribes with sovereign powers may be difficult.

 

Federally recognized Native American tribes are independent governments with sovereign powers, except as those powers may have been limited by treaty or the United States Congress. Such tribes maintain their own governmental systems and often their own judicial systems and have the right to tax, and to require licenses and to impose other forms of regulation and regulatory fees, on persons and businesses operating on their lands. As sovereign nations, federally recognized Native American tribes are generally subject only to federal regulation. States do not have the authority to regulate them, unless such authority has been specifically granted by Congress, and state laws generally do not directly apply to them and to activities taking place on their lands, unless they have a specific agreement or compact with the state or Federal government allowing for the application of state law. The Tetlin Lease provides that it will be governed by applicable federal law and the law of the State of Alaska. The Company and the Tetlin Tribal Council entered into a Stability Agreement, dated October 2, 2014, that was assigned by the Company to the Joint Venture Company. However, no assurance may be given that the choice of law clause in the Tetlin Lease or the agreements with the Tetlin Tribal Council in the Stability Agreement will be enforceable.

 

Federally recognized Native American tribes also generally enjoy sovereign immunity from lawsuit similar to that of the states and the United States federal government. In order to sue a Native American tribe (or an agency or instrumentality of a Native American tribe), the Native American tribe must have effectively waived its sovereign immunity with respect to the matter in dispute. Moreover, even if a Native American tribe effectively waives its sovereign immunity, there exists an issue as to the forum in which a lawsuit can be brought against the tribe. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and generally do not have jurisdiction to hear civil cases relating to matters concerning Native American lands or the internal affairs of Native American governments. Federal courts may have jurisdiction if a federal question is raised by the lawsuit, which is unlikely in a typical contract dispute. Diversity of citizenship, another common basis for federal court jurisdiction, is not generally present in a suit against a tribe because a Native American tribe is not considered a citizen of any state. Accordingly, in most commercial disputes with tribes, the jurisdiction of the federal courts, may be difficult or impossible to obtain. The Tetlin Lease contains a provision in which the Tetlin Tribal Council expressly waives its sovereign immunity to the limited extent necessary to permit judicial review in the courts in Alaska of certain issues affecting the Tetlin Lease and the Stability Agreement contains, among other things, agreement that any disputes under the Tetlin Lease will be submitted to the jurisdiction of the federal and state courts.

 

Competition in the mineral exploration industry is intense, and the Company is smaller and has a much more limited operating history than most of its competitors.

 

The Company will compete with a broad range of mining companies with far greater resources in their exploration activities. Several mining companies concentrate drilling efforts on one type of mineral and thus may enjoy economies of scale and other efficiencies. However, the Company’s drilling strategies currently include exploring for gold ore and associated minerals. As a result, the Company may not be able to compete effectively with such companies. Most competitors have substantially greater financial resources than the Company. These competitors may be able to evaluate, bid for and purchase a greater number of properties and prospects than the Company can. In addition, most competitors have been operating for a much longer time than the Company has and have substantially larger staffs. Processing of gold and associated minerals requires complex and sophisticated processing technologies. The Company has no experience in the minerals processing industry.

 

No member of the Company’s management has any technical training or experience in minerals exploration or mining. Because of the Company’s limited operating history, the Company has limited insight into trends that may emerge and affect its business. The Company may make errors in predicting and reacting to relevant business trends and will be subject to the risks, uncertainties and difficulties frequently encountered by early-stage companies.

 

 

The mining industry is historically a cyclical industry and market fluctuations in the prices of minerals could adversely affect the Company’s and Joint Venture Company’s business.

 

Prices for minerals tend to fluctuate significantly in response to factors beyond the Company’s control. These factors include:

 

U.S. and global economic conditions;

 

Domestic and foreign tax policy;

 

The price of gold;

 

The cost of exploring for, producing and processing gold;

 

Available transportation capacity; and

 

The overall supply and demand for gold.

 

Changes in gold prices would directly affect revenues and may reduce the amount of funds available to reinvest in exploration activities. Reductions in gold prices not only reduce revenues and profits, but could also reduce the quantities of resources that are commercially recoverable. Declining metal prices may also impact the operations of the Joint Venture Company by requiring a reassessment of the commercial feasibility of any of its mining work.

 

Because the Company’s and Joint Venture Company’s sole source of revenue, if its exploration efforts are successful, will be the sale of gold and associated minerals, changes in demand for, and the market price of, gold and associated minerals could significantly affect the Company’s and the Joint Venture Company's profitability. The value and price of the Company’s common stock may be significantly affected by declines in the prices of gold minerals and products.

 

Gold prices fluctuate widely and are affected by numerous factors beyond the Company’s control such as interest rates, exchange rates, inflation or deflation, fluctuation in the relative value of the United States dollar against foreign currencies on the world market, global and regional supply and demand for gold, and the political and economic conditions of gold producing countries throughout the world.  The Company and the Joint Venture Company do not have any programs to hedge against fluctuating commodity prices, and as such are highly exposed to those fluctuations.

 

An increase in the global supply of gold and associated minerals may adversely affect the Company’s and Joint Venture Company’s business.

 

The pricing and demand for gold and associated minerals is affected by a number of factors beyond the Joint Venture Company’s control, including global economic conditions and the global supply and demand for gold and associated minerals and products. Increases in the amount of gold and associated minerals sold by competitors of the Joint Venture Company may result in price reductions, reduced margins and the Joint Venture Company may not be able to compete effectively against current and future competitors.

 

The Joint Venture Company is subject to complex laws and regulations, including environmental regulations that can adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of doing business.

 

The Joint Venture Company’s exploratory mining operations are subject to numerous laws and regulations governing its operations and the discharge of materials into the environment, including the Federal Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and CERCLA. Federal initiatives are often also administered and enforced through state agencies operating under parallel state statutes and regulations. Failure to comply with such rules and regulations could result in substantial penalties and have an adverse effect on the Joint Venture Company. These laws and regulations may, among other things:

 

 

Require that the Joint Venture Company obtain permits before commencing mining work;

 

Restrict the substances that can be released into the environment in connection with mining work;

 

Impose obligations to reclaim land in order to minimize long term effects of land disturbance; and

 

Limit or prohibit mining work on protected areas.

 

Under these laws and regulations, the Joint Venture Company could be liable for personal injury and clean-up costs and other environmental and property damages, as well as administrative, civil and criminal penalties. The Company and the Joint Venture Company maintain only limited insurance coverage for sudden and accidental environmental damages. Accordingly, the Joint Venture Company may be subject to liability, or it may be required to cease production from properties in the event of environmental damages. Compliance with environmental laws and regulations and future changes in these laws and regulations may require significant capital outlays, cause material changes or delays in the Joint Venture Company’s current and planned operations and future activities and reduce the profitability of operations. It is possible that future changes in these laws or regulations could increase operating costs or require capital expenditures in order to remain in compliance. Any such changes could have an adverse effect on the Joint Venture Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

The Joint Venture Company is subject to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and regulations promulgated thereto, which impose stringent health and safety standards on numerous aspects of its operations.

 

The Joint Venture Company’s exploration and mining work in Alaska is subject to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which impose stringent health and safety standards on numerous aspects of mineral extraction and processing operations, including the training of personnel, operating procedures, operating equipment and other matters. The Joint Venture Company’s failure to comply with these standards could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition or otherwise impose significant restrictions on its ability to conduct mining work.

 

The Joint Venture Company may be unable to obtain, maintain or renew permits necessary for the exploration, development or operation of any mining activities, which could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition or results of operation.

 

The Joint Venture Company must obtain a number of permits that impose strict conditions, requirements and obligations relating to various environmental and health and safety matters in connection with its current and future operations. To obtain certain permits, the Joint Venture Company may be required to conduct environmental studies, collect and present data to governmental authorities and the general public pertaining to the potential impact of its current and future operations upon the environment and take steps to avoid or mitigate the impact. The permitting rules are complex and have tended to become more stringent over time. Accordingly, permits required for mining work may not be issued, maintained or renewed in a timely fashion or at all, or may be conditioned upon restrictions which may impede its ability to operate efficiently. The failure to obtain certain permits or the adoption of more stringent permitting requirements could have a material adverse effect on its business, its plans of operation, and properties in that the Joint Venture Company may not be able to proceed with its exploration, development or mining programs.

 

Anti-takeover provisions of the Company’s certificate of incorporation, bylaws and Delaware law could adversely affect a potential acquisition by third parties.

 

  On September 23, 2020, the Company adopted a limited duration stockholder rights agreement (the “Rights Agreement”). In connection therewith, the Board adopted an amendment to accelerate the expiration of the Company’s prior rights agreement to September 23, 2020. Pursuant to the Rights Agreement, the Board declared a dividend of one preferred stock purchase right for each share of the Company’s common stock held of record as of October 5, 2020. The Rights Agreement is designed to deter coercive takeover tactics and to prevent an acquirer from gaining control of the Company without offering a fair price to all of the Company’s stockholders. The existence of the Rights Agreement, however, could have the effect of making it more difficult for a third party to acquire a majority of Company’s outstanding common stock, and thereby adversely affect the market price of the Company’s common stock.

 

In addition, the Company’s certificate of incorporation, bylaws and the Delaware General Corporation Law contain provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals. These provisions could have the effect of inhibiting fluctuations in the market price of the Company’s common stock that could result from actual or rumored takeover attempts, preventing changes in the Company’s management or limiting the price that investors may be willing to pay for shares of common stock. Among other things, these provisions:

 

  Limit the personal liability of directors;
 

Limit the persons who may call special meetings of stockholders;

 

Prohibit stockholder action by written consent;

 

Establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election of the Board and for proposing matters to be acted on by stockholders at stockholder meetings;

 

Require us to indemnify directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law; and

 

Impose restrictions on business combinations with some interested parties.

 

The Company’s common stock is thinly traded.

 

As of June 30, 2020, there were approximately 6.6 million shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding, with directors and officers beneficially owning approximately 19.2% of our common stock, The Marital Trust of Mr. Kenneth R. Peak, the Company’s former Chairman, beneficially owning approximately 12.0% of our common stock, and Royal Gold owning approximately 12.7% of our common stock. Our common stock is quoted on the OTCQB tier of the OTC Markets Group Inc. under the symbol “CTGO”. Although our common stock is quoted on the OTCQB, trading has been irregular and with low volumes and therefore the market price of our common stock may be difficult to ascertain. Since the Company’s common stock is thinly traded (average trading volume of 528 shares of common stock per day for fiscal year 2020), the purchase or sale of relatively small common stock positions may result in disproportionately large increases or decreases in the price of the Company’s common stock.

 

 

The Company does not intend to pay dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

For the foreseeable future, the Company intends to retain any earnings to finance the development of its business, and the Company does not anticipate paying any cash dividends on its common stock. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will be dependent upon then-existing conditions, including our operating results and financial condition, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, business prospects and other factors that the Board considers relevant. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after any price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize a return on their investment.

 

The Company is dependent upon information technology systems, which are subject to disruption, cyber-attacks, damage, failure and risks associated with implementation and integration.

 

The Company is dependent upon information technology systems in the conduct of its operations. Our information technology systems are subject to disruption, damage or failure from a variety of sources, including computer viruses, security breaches, cyber-attacks, natural disasters and defects in design. Cybersecurity incidents, in particular, are evolving and include, malicious software, attempts to gain unauthorized access to data and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information and the corruption of data.  The Company believes that it has implemented appropriate measures to mitigate potential risks. However, given the unpredictability of the timing, nature and scope of information technology disruptions, the Company could be subject to manipulation or improper use of its systems and networks or financial losses from remedial actions, any of which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.  The Company faces increased cybersecurity risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For example, a portion of the Company’s workforce is working remotely to facilitate social distancing, and these employees may transmit data using unsecured internet connections despite training advising of those risks. In addition, our employees may experience increased phishing and malware attacks and socially engineered cyberattacks which, in some cases, attempt to use the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic to gain unauthorized access to the Company’s information technology systems.

 

Item 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

Item 2.    PROPERTIES

 

The Company does not directly hold title to any material property.  In connection with the Closing of the Transactions with Royal Gold in January 2015, the Company contributed (or caused to be contributed) to the Joint Venture Company the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and other related assets. At the Closing, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, entered into the JV LLCA. The Joint Venture Company now holds title to the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.  The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is located in the State of Alaska, and consists of the Tetlin Lease and unpatented mining claims. The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is the only material property of the Joint Venture Company. None of the known prospects on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property are known to host quantifiable mineral reserves as defined by SEC Industry Guide 7.

 

The Company believes that the Joint Venture Company holds good title to its properties in accordance with standards generally accepted in the minerals industry. As is customary in the mining industry, the Company conducted only a preliminary title examination at the time the Company acquired the Tetlin Lease. The Joint Venture Company also conducted a title examination prior to the assignment of the Tetlin Lease to the Joint Venture Company and performed certain curative title work. Before the Joint Venture Company begins any mining activities, however, it might conduct a full title examination and perform curative work on any defects that it deems significant.

 

Lease with Tetlin Tribal Council

 

JEX entered into the Tetlin Lease with the Tetlin Tribal Council, effective as of July 15, 2008. In November 2010, the Tetlin Lease was assigned to the Company and in January 2015, the Tetlin Lease was assigned to the Joint Venture Company.

 

The Tetlin Lease covers an estimated 675,000 acres of land for an initial term of ten years, which was extended for an additional ten years to July 5, 2028 and so long thereafter as the Joint Venture Company continues conducting exploration or mining operations on the Tetlin Lease. The Joint Venture Company was required to spend $350,000 annually until July 15, 2018 in exploration costs pursuant to the Tetlin Lease. The Joint Venture Company satisfied this work commitment requirement for the full lease term through 2018 because exploration funds spent in any year in excess of $350,000 are credited toward future years’ exploration cost requirements. The Tetlin Lease also provides that the Joint Venture Company will pay the Tetlin Tribal Council a production royalty ranging from 2.0% to 5.0% depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. The Company has paid the Tetlin Tribal Council $225,000 in exchange for reducing the production royalty payable to them by 0.75%. These payments lowered the production royalty to a range of 1.25% to 4.25% depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. The Tetlin Tribal Council had the option, on or before July 15, 2020, to increase its production royalty by (i) 0.25% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $150,000, (ii) 0.50% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $300,000, or (iii) 0.75% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $450,000. The Management Committee extended this option for the Tetlin Tribal Council until November 15, 2020.

 

Until such time as production royalties begin, the Joint Venture Company will pay the Tetlin Tribal Council an advance minimum royalty of approximately $75,000 per year, plus an inflation adjustment. Additionally, the Joint Venture Company will pay Royal Gold a production royalty of 3.0% should it deliver to a purchaser on a commercial basis gold or associated minerals derived from the Tetlin Lease.

 

State of Alaska Mining Claims

 

A listing of the Joint Venture Company’s State of Alaska unpatented mining claims as of June 30, 2020 for gold and associated minerals are listed in Exhibits 99.1, 99.3, 99.4, 99.5, 99.6, and 99.8. These mining claims are not known to host quantifiable mineral reserves as defined by SEC Industry Guide 7.  

 

 

Location of and Access to our Properties

 

The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is located in the Tetlin Hills and Mentasta Mountains of eastern interior Alaska, 300 kilometers southeast of the city of Fairbanks and 20 kilometers southeast of Tok, Alaska. The Tetlin Lease covers an area measuring approximately 80 kilometers north-south by 60 kilometers east-west in eastern Interior Alaska.

 

The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is accessible via helicopter and via road. The 23-mile long Tetlin Village Road is an all-weather gravel road connecting the village with the town of Tok on the Alaska Highway. The majority of our Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is accessible only via helicopter, although many winter trails exist in the Tetlin Hills and Mentasta Mountains in the northern and southwestern parts of the properties, respectively. Winter trails link Tetlin Village to the village of Old Tetlin and continue south to the Tetlin River airstrip, a 1,500 foot long unmaintained gravel strip located in the Tetlin River Valley. Winter trails also provide access to the Tuck Creek valley from the village of Mentasta on the Tok Cutoff Highway.

 

Two seasonal dirt roads have been permitted and constructed to allow surface access to the Chief Danny gold-copper-silver prospect in the northern Tetlin Hills. Both of these roads begin along the Tetlin Village Road and extend to the Chief Danny project and access to both roads is controlled by gates at their junction with the Tetlin Village Road.

 

The paved Alaska Highway passes near the northern edge of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property as does the southern terminus of the Taylor Highway where it joins the Alaska Highway at Tetlin Junction. The 23-mile long Tetlin Village Road provides year-round access to the northern Tetlin Hills, linking Tetlin Village to the Alaska Highway. Buried electrical and fiber-optic communications cables follow this road corridor and link Tetlin Village to the Tok power and communications grid. The Tok public electric facility is capable of generating up to 2 megawatts of power, and the nearest high capacity public electric facilities to the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property are in Delta Junction, 107 road miles northwest of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and Glennallen, 138 road miles southwest of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. The Company does not have any plant or equipment at the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and relies on contractors for the Joint Venture Company to perform work. The Company does not believe the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property was explored for minerals prior to exploration activities of the Company and the Joint Venture Company.

 

 

The map below depicts the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property:

 

 

 

Mineral Exploration

 

The Joint Venture Company controls an estimated 860,000 acres consisting of the Tetlin Lease and State of Alaska mining claims for the exploration of gold and associated minerals. To date, the Joint Venture Company's gold exploration has concentrated on the Tetlin Lease, with only a limited amount of work performed on the Tok, Eagle, Bush, West Fork, Triple Z, and Noah claims.

 

The Joint Venture Management initiated a calendar year 2018 exploration program with an approved budget of $10.7 million, of which the Company’s share was approximately $6.1 million. The 2018 exploration program was completed in October 2018.  The Company contributed $5.4 million to the Joint Venture Company during calendar year 2018.  The budget included an extensive 74 line kilometers of ground geophysics program utilizing both Induced Polarization (“IP”) and Titan EM techniques.  Surveys were carried out on targets within an 8-kilometer radius of Main Peak to identify targets similar to Main and North Peak and two targets in the southeastern part of the Tetlin Lease, Copper Hill and Taixtsalda.  Titan EM surveys were carried out on three targets identified from airborne magnetics surveys as porphyry type signatures.  The program drill tested a number of targets within an 8-kilometer radius of the Main Peak deposit.  In addition to the exploration work, during the 2018 exploration program, the Joint Venture conducted engineering studies along with metallurgical testing to support the completion of a Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Company’s Main Peak and North Peak resource areas near Tok, Alaska.  

 

The Management Committee approved an exploration budget for calendar 2019 of $6.9 million, of which the Company’s share was approximately $4.1 million.  The program was completed in October 2019 below budget.  The program included ground geophysics utilizing IP and soil samples within the greater Chief Danny area. A further program of reconnaissance work, drilling and airborne Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetics (“VTEM”) survey was completed in the Hona and Eagle claims blocks to follow up stream sediment sampling work completed in 2017.  Also included was soil sampling and ground geophysics work on the Triple Z target. The program drill tested targets adjacent to the Main Peak deposit, on the Hona claims and a target in the North Saddle area.  The budget also included funding to initiate a program of surface and groundwater characterization to support future permitting efforts.  The Company funded a total of $4.1 million to the Joint Venture Company during calendar year 2019, which related to both the 2019 and 2018 exploration programs. 

 

Due to the effects of COVID-19 and for the safety of the Joint Venture Company’s field personnel and the surrounding community, the Management Committee  approved a $2.7 million budget for calendar year 2020 that would serve to care for and maintain the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and postpone new exploration until conditions permit.  The Company’s share of the budget is approximately $1.6 million, of which $1.0 million had been funded as of June 30, 2020.   The Company’s ability to contribute funds to the Joint Venture Company in proportion to its 60% interest in the Joint Venture Company will depend on its ability to raise capital.  If the Company is unable to fund its contribution to the approved programs and budgets for the Joint Venture Company, its interest in the Joint Venture Company will be diluted.

 

From inception to June 30, 2020, the Joint Venture Company has incurred $47.1 million in exploration program expenditures. As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold had funded a total of $37.0 million (including the initial investment of $5.0 million) and earned a 40.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company.  

 

The exploration effort on the Tetlin Lease has resulted in identifying two mineral deposits (Main Peak and North Peak) and several other gold and copper prospects following drilling programs starting in 2011. Surface, bedrock, and stream sediment data on the Tetlin Lease as well as on the Eagle, Noah and Tok state of Alaska claims adjacent to the Tetlin Lease have been gathered during the summer exploration programs. There was no exploration program in 2014 or 2020. None of the exploration targets are known to host quantifiable commercial mineral reserves and none are near or adjacent to other known significant gold or copper deposits. There has been no recorded past placer or lode mining on Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and the Company and the Joint Venture Company are the only entities known to have conducted drilling operations on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.

 

The majority of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is hosted within the Yukon-Tanana Terrane (“YTT”), a regionally extensive package of metamorphic rocks. Rocks of the YTT on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property consist primarily of more deformed, higher temperature metamorphic rocks on the northern third of the project and less deformed, lower temperature metamorphic rocks to the south. Country rocks on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property are intruded by granitic rocks that have not been well mapped.  Large-scale structural features within the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property are closely tied to movements along the Tintina-Kaltag and Denali-Farewell fault systems, two continental-scale faults between which are a series of district and prospect-scale northeast, northwest and east-west structures. Limited exposures in the northern half of the property make identification of these structures difficult. Prospect to hand-sample scale folding has been noted throughout the project area.

 

Although alpine glaciation has affected elevations above 4,500 feet on the southern edge of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, most of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property escaped Pleistocene continental glaciation. However, due to its proximity to continental glaciers to the north and east, the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property was covered by a variable thickness of wind-blown silt ranging up to 10 meters thick. This extremely fine-grained, metal-barren silt effectively masks the geochemical signature of underlying bedrock containing gold-copper-silver mineralization. Following deposition of this silt layer, the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property was subject to an extensive period of surface weathering, which now extends 200-300 feet below surface.

 

 

From a regional perspective, the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is located in the Tintina Gold Belt in rocks that are highly prospective for gold deposits as well as porphyry copper-molybdenum-gold deposits. These two genetically different types of mineralization overlap in eastern Interior Alaska and the western Yukon Territory and are host to dozens of known prospects, deposits and active mines. In addition, rocks on the southern edge of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property are prospective for nickel-copper-platinum group element deposits. Prior to its discovery in 2009, the style of mineralization discovered on the Chief Danny prospect on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property was unknown in Interior Alaska. Diamond drilling results from 2011 through 2018 have revealed the presence of a distinctive suite of elements and minerals at the Main Peak, North Peak and Discovery Zones that do not match the typical characteristics of gold deposits of the Tintina Gold Belt but do share several diagnostic characteristics of gold-copper-silver skarn deposits, possibly as part of a larger porphyry copper-molybdenum-gold system. “ Skarn” is a term that refers to a distinctive class of mineral deposits formed where limestone-bearing rocks are intruded by hot, fluid-bearing granitic rocks. The Main Peak and North Peak Zones mineralization most closely resembles the gold-sulfide skarns mined at the Fortitude deposit in the Battle Mountain Mining District of central Nevada.

 

Hona Prospect Area

 

The Hona Prospect area is located on Alaska State mining claims approximately 25 kilometers west of the Main Peak deposit.  A reconnaissance program was carried out on the Hona claim block in 2017, which consisted of 363 pan concentrate and 364 stream sediment samples.  Anomalous gold and copper values were found during the 2017 program and in 2019 when follow-up reconnaissance work was completed. This effort consisted of taking 615 rock chip samples and surface mapping.  The two programs identified three target areas, Hona 1, Hona 2 and Hona 3.  Exploration drilling in 2019, consisting of two core holes, totaling 1,301 meters, tested a portion of the Hona 2 target.  As part of the 2019 program, 1,006 line-km of helicopter-borne magnetic and VTEM survey was completed over a portion of the Hona Prospect.

 

The map below depicts the location of the two core holes drilled at the Hona 2 target along with rock chip sampling results and surface geology.

 

 

Significant Drill Intercepts from the 2019 Program. Sample intervals are calculated using 0.5 grams per tonne (gpt) lower cut off for gold with no internal waste less than cutoff grade that is greater than 3 meters in thickness. Intercepts shown are drill intercept lengths. True width of mineralization is unknown. The grade cutoff for gold (Au) is 0.5 gpt; for silver (Ag) is 10 gpt; and for copper (Cu) is 0.1%. The following table summarizes the significant drilling results obtained for the complete 2019 Program:

 

DrillHole

Zone

From (meters)

To (meters)

Interval (meters)

Au_gpt

Au_opt

Ag_gpt

Cu %

HN19001

Hona 2

                    32.00

                    35.05

                      3.05

                      1.01

                    0.029

                        1.4

0.027

HN19001

Hona 2

                  436.17

                  440.89

                      4.72

                      0.80

                    0.023

                          -   

0.025

HN19001

Hona 2

                  452.78

                  460.71

                      7.93

                      0.88

                    0.026

                        0.4

0.034

HN19002

Hona 2

                  224.33

                  227.38

                      3.05

                      0.59

                    0.017

                          -   

0.012

HN19002

Hona 2

                  339.09

                  342.29

                      3.20

                      1.23

                    0.036

                        1.3

0.046

HN19002

Hona 2

                  369.27

                  373.56

                      4.29

                      0.55

                    0.016

                          -   

0.028

HN19002

Hona 2

                  396.85

                  399.04

                      2.19

                      0.93

                    0.027

                        1.7

0.024

HN19002

Hona 2

                  445.24

                  446.53

                      1.29

                      3.05

                    0.089

                        0.8

0.029

HN19002

Hona 2

                  612.65

                  629.67

                    17.02

                      0.41

                    0.012

                        5.4

0.333

 

 

21

 

Chief Danny Prospect

 

The Chief Danny Prospect Area currently is the most advanced exploration target on the Tetlin Lease and is comprised of several distinct mineralized areas: the Main Peak Zone, Discovery Zone, West Peak Zone, North Peak Zone, Connector Zone, Saddle Zone and the 7 O’clock area. The Chief Danny prospect was discovered during rock, stream sediment and pan concentrate sampling in 2009 and since then has been explored using top of bedrock soil auger sampling, trenching, ground IP geophysics, airborne magnetic and resistivity surveys and core drilling. Results from this work indicate the presence of a zoned metal-bearing system consisting of a gold-copper-iron enriched core covering six square miles at Chief Danny South (includes Main Peak, Discovery, West Peak, and North Peak/Blue Moon) and a fault-offset arsenic-gold enriched zone to the north covering three square miles at the Saddle Zone. The Company has conducted extensive drilling on the Main Peak, North Peak, and Connector Zones. The Company has also conducted some environmental base line studies on the areas surrounding the Chief Danny prospect, as well as airborne magnetic and resistivity programs. From 2009 through June 30, 2020, the Company conducted field-related exploration work at the Chief Danny Prospect, including collecting the following samples:

 

Year

 

Program

 

Core

Samples

   

Rock

Samples

   

Soil

Samples

   

Pan Con

Samples

   

Stream Silt

Samples

   

Core (feet)

   

IP/Geophysics

(kilometers)

   

Trenching

(feet)

 

2009

 

Chief Danny

          958       33       94       11                   2,330  

2010

 

Chief Danny

          613       760       668       795             14        

2011

 

Chief Danny

    1,267       20       688                   8,057       3,957        

2012

 

Chief Danny

    5,223       82       1,029                   36,004              

2013

 

Chief Danny

    8,970       14       1,406       85       278       47,079       2,414        

2014

 

Chief Danny

                                               

2015

 

Chief Danny

    8,352       133                         46,128              

2016

 

Chief Danny

    10,450       21       694                   67,336       24        
2017   Chief Danny     11,864       112       975       408       408       59,347       48        
2018   Chief Danny     2,973       402       63       45       9       20,307       80        
2019   Chief Danny     1,575       839       1,563       18             10,079       1,049        
          50,674       3,194       7,211       1,318       1,501       294,337       7,586       2,330  

 

 

The map below depicts the grade times thickness in the Main Peak, North Peak, and West Peak zones:

       

During the quarters ended June 30, 2020 and March 31, 2020, the Joint Venture Company spent approximately $0.5 million and $0.6 million, respectively, on program activities and related expenses.

 

2019 Exploration Program.  During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, the Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $1.6 million on program activities, including metallurgical testing, geochemical data analyses, geophysical surveys landholding fees and other related expenses.

 

During the quarter ended September 30, 2019 the Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $2.8 million on program activities, including 7.6 line kilometers of IP geophysical surveys and 125 soil auger sampling and 146 rock chip samples within the Chief Danny area.  Exploration drilling consisted of 1,771 meters in four holes, which included three holes for 1,117 meters in the East Peak zone and one hole of 654 meters at the North Saddle zone. 

 

23

 

The map below depicts the location of the core holes drilled in the East Peak and North Saddle zones.

 

 

 

Significant Drill Intercepts from the 2019 Program. Sample intervals are calculated using 0.5 grams per tonne (gpt) lower cut off for gold with no internal waste less than cutoff grade that is greater than 3 meters in thickness. Intercepts shown are drill intercept lengths. True width of mineralization is unknown. The grade cutoff for gold (Au) is 0.5 gpt; for silver (Ag) is 10 gpt; and for copper (Cu) is 0.1%. The following table summarizes the significant drilling results obtained for the complete 2019 Program:

 

DrillHole

Zone

From (meters)

To (meters)

Interval (meters)

Au_gpt

Au_opt

Ag_gpt

Cu %

TET19446

East Peak

                  213.52

                  215.00

                      1.48

                      1.11

                    0.032

                      64.8

                    0.046

TET19447

East Peak

                  148.44

                  151.49

                      3.05

                      0.99

                    0.029

                      31.0

                    0.022

TET19447

East Peak

                  303.70

                  306.29

                      2.59

                      1.70

                    0.050

                      61.8

                    0.116

TET19447

East Peak

                  326.04

                  327.17

                      1.13

                      1.70

                    0.050

                        5.1

                    0.076

TET19447

East Peak

                  339.85

                  342.14

                      2.29

                      1.79

                    0.052

                        3.1

                    0.108

TET19447

East Peak

                  407.21

                  408.52

                      1.31

                      9.18

                    0.268

                        1.9

                    0.049

TET19448

East Peak

                  326.77

                  329.34

                      2.57

                      2.37

                    0.069

                        1.3

                    0.015

 

2019 Exploration Program – continued.  During the quarter ended June 30, 2019, the Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $1.7 million on program activities, including 23.3 line kilometers of IP geophysical surveys and 1,363 soil auger sampling within the Chief Danny area.  Drill targets were assessed and initial drilling to test East Peak and North Saddle started in mid-August.  In addition, seven monitor wells were installed in and around the deposit area to initiate groundwater characterized to support baseline date collection. 

 

During the quarter ended March 31, 2019, the Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $0.3 million on program activities, including metallurgical testing, geochemical data analyses, landholding fees and other related expenses.

 

2018 Exploration Program - Phase I.   During the quarter ending December 31, 2018, 3.5 line-kilometers of IP surveys, 35.0 line-kilometers of Titan DCIP/MT surveys and 4,427 meters of core drilling were completed. The Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $4.6 million, during the quarter, on program activities, including drilling, geochemical analyses, landholding fees and other related expenses. Exploration drilling consisted of 2,177 meters in six holes in the North Saddle Area, 1,403 meters in six holes in Copper Hill, 207 meters in two holes in 2 O’clock, 261 meters in one hole in 8 O’clock, 180 meters in one hole in Main Peak and 200 meters in one northeast of North Peak.  In the 2018 field season, 6,189 meters of drilling in 28 holes were completed.

 

Metallurgical testing of 19 composite samples from the Main Peak deposit were completed and showed good metallurgical response to direct cyanidation.  The Main Peak testing along with previously completed metallurgical testing on North Peak were used as the basis for the Preliminary Economic Assessment completed in September 2018.

 

 

 

The map below depicts the location of the core holes drilled in the 8 O’clock, 2 O’clock, Main Peak and North Saddle zones:

 

 

 

Significant Drill Intercepts from the 2018 Phase I Program. Sample intervals are calculated using 0.5 grams per tonne (gpt) lower cut off for gold with no internal waste less than cutoff grade that is greater than 3 meters in thickness. Intercepts shown are drill intercept lengths. True width of mineralization is unknown. The grade cutoff for gold (Au) is 0.5 gpt; for silver (Ag) is 10 gpt; and for copper (Cu) is 0.1%. The following table summarizes the significant drilling results obtained for the complete Phase I of the 2018 Program:

 

Drillhole

Zone

From (meters)

To (meters)

Interval (meters)

Au g/t

Au_opt

Ag g/t

Cu %

TET18421

Two O’clock

41.14

42.86

1.72

1.18

.034

39.7

0.025

TET18430

Eight O’clock

124.05

124.66

0.61

3.11

.091

38.3

0.213

TET18433

Copper Hill

112.00

113.77

1.77

8.08

.236

5.4

0.036

TET18440

North Saddle

179.88

181.52

1.64

1.48

.043

0.6

0.003

TET18440

North Saddle

231.46

233.58

2.12

0.95

.028

2.6

0.014

TET18440

North Saddle

307.40

310.47

3.07

0.69

.020

15.8

0.013

TET18443

North Saddle

84.92

88.26

3.34

0.87

.025

15.8

0.021

TET18443

North Saddle

96.92

98.43

1.51

1.11

.032

18.7

0.023

TET18443

North Saddle

196.04

199.4

3.36

1.13

.033

142.3

0.139

TET18443

North Saddle

285.86

288.75

2.89

0.83

.024

22.5

0.060

TET18443

North Saddle

353.11

355.18

2.07

0.95

.028

15.8

0.062

TET18443

North Saddle

422.58

425.23

2.65

0.73

.021

3.9

0.017

TET18445

Main Peak

83.60

162.73

79.13

0.59

.017

45.8

0.938

Including

Main Peak

103.07

115.46

12.39

3.14

.092

16.4

0.475

 

25

 

2018 Exploration Program - Phase I (continued). During the quarter ending June 30, 2018, 30.6 line-kilometers of IP surveys, 10.6 line-kilometers of Titan DCIP/MT surveys and 1,762 meters of core drilling were completed. The Joint Venture Company spent an estimated $4.0 million on program activities during the quarter, including drilling, geochemical analyses, landholding fees and other related expenses. Exploration drilling consisted of 1,518 meters in ten holes in the 2 O’clock area and 244 meters in two holes in the 8 O’clock area.  To date, the Joint Venture Company has also completed 1,370 meters of core drilling at Copper Hill, and has drilled the North Saddle Zone for porphyry prospects.

 

Nineteen composite samples from the Main Peak orebody and nineteen composite samples from the North Peak orebody were the subject of ongoing metallurgical testing in support of the Preliminary Economic Evaluation completed in September.  Test results support the economic processing of Main and North Peak materials in a conventional gold processing plant using traditional mining methods.

 

The map below depicts the location of the core holes drilled in the 8 O’clock, 2 O’clock, and North Saddle zones during the 2018 Phase I Program:

 

 

 

The map below depicts the location of the core holes drilled in the Copper Hill zone during the 2018 Phase I Program:

 

Significant Drill Intercepts from the 2018 Phase I Program.  Sample intervals are calculated using 0.5 grams per tonne (gpt) lower cut off for gold with no internal waste less than cutoff grade that is greater than 3 meters in thickness. Intercepts shown are drill intercept lengths. True width of mineralization is unknown. The grade cutoff for gold (Au) is 0.5 gpt; for silver (Ag) is 10 gpt; and for copper (Cu) is 0.1%. For the 2018 exploration program, no significant intervals were encountered in the drilling. 

 

Geochemical Analysis and Security

 

All samples submitted for the 2016 and Phase I 2017 programs were prepared for assay by ALS Minerals at their facilities in Fairbanks, Alaska and analyzed at their Vancouver, British Columbia and Reno, Nevada facilities. Analytical work consisted of gold by fire assay with atomic absorption finish plus multi-element inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrography (ICP-AES) analyses using 4-acid digestion. All samples collected in 2016 and Phase I 2017 were cataloged in the field and shipped via ground transport directly to ALS Minerals’ preparation facility in Fairbanks by an Avalon contractor. The Company believes the parties working on sampling of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property followed industry accepted procedures for sample preparation, analysis and security.

 

All samples from the Phase II and III 2017 program, Phase I 2018 program, and the 2019 program were prepared for assay by Bureau Veritas Minerals at their facilities in Fairbanks, Alaska and analyzed at their Vancouver, British Columbia and Reno, Nevada facilities. Analytical work consisted of gold by fire assay with atomic absorption finish plus multi-element inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrography (ICP-AES) analyses using 4-acid digestion.  All samples collected in the Phase II and III 2017, Phase I 2018, and the 2019 program were cataloged in the field and shipped via ground transport directly to Bureau Veritas Minerals’ preparation facility in Fairbanks by an Avalon contractor. The Company believes the parties working on sampling of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property followed industry accepted procedures for sample preparation, analysis and security.  

 

Sampling, Analysis and Security

 

During the 2016 programs, Avalon personnel inserted 1,986 blanks, standards and replicates into the flow of soil, rock, and drill core samples prior to shipment to the analytical labs. For the 2017 programs, through June 30, 2017 , Avalon inserted 1,103 blanks, standards and replicates into the flow of soil, rock, and drill core samples prior to shipment to the analytical labs.  Blanks consisted of Browns Hill Quarry basalt. Twenty-five different commercial standards provided by Analytical Solutions were used during 2016. Values in these standards ranged from 0.012 ppm to 7.15 ppm gold. Four different commercial standards provided by Rock Labs were used during 2016. Values in these standards ranged from 0.077 ppm to 1.802 ppm gold. The quality assurance/quality control procedure was completed on-site at the Avalon warehouse in Tok, Alaska.
 
During 2017 programs, Avalon inserted 1,973 blanks, standards, duplicates and replicates into the flow of soil, rock, pan concentrate, stream sediment and drill core samples prior to shipment to the analytical labs. Blanks consisted of Browns Hill Quarry basalt. Twenty two different commercial standards provided by Analytical Solutions were used during 2017. Values in these standards ranged from 0.012 ppm to 14.18 ppm gold. Three different commercial standards provided by Rock Labs were used during 2017. Values in these standards ranged from 0.077 ppm to 1.802 ppm gold. The quality assurance/quality control procedure was completed on-site at the Avalon warehouse in Tok, Alaska.
 
During 2018, Avalon inserted 93 blanks, 310 standards, 81 duplicates and 81 replicates into the flow of rock, soil, pan concentrate, stream sediment and drill core samples prior to shipment to the analytical labs. Blanks consisted of Browns Hill Quarry basalt. Eighteen different commercial standards provided by Analytical Solutions and Rocklabs were used during 2018. Values in these standards ranged from 0.077 ppm to 6.66 ppm gold. The quality assurance/quality control procedure was completed on-site at the Avalon warehouse in Tok, Alaska.
 
During 2019, Avalon inserted 88 blanks, 397 standards, 54 duplicates and 54 replicates into the flow of rock, soil, RC and drill core samples prior to shipment to the analytical labs. Blanks consisted of Browns Hill Quarry basalt. Twenty different commercial standards provided by Analytical Solutions and Rocklabs were used during 2019 (through August 23, 2019). Values in these standards ranged from 0.016 ppm to 6.66 ppm gold. The quality assurance/quality control procedure was completed on-site at the  Avalon warehouse in Tok, Alaska.

 

Rare Earth Elements

 

While the Company previously acquired state of Alaska and federal unpatented mining claims for the exploration of rare earth elements, it has abandoned its rare earth element claims to devote more time and resources to gold exploration.

 

Acquisition of Other Properties

 

The Joint Venture Company anticipates from time to time acquiring additional properties in Alaska for exploration, subject to the availability of funds. The acquisitions may include leases or similar rights from Alaska Native corporations or may include filing Federal or State of Alaska mining claims by staking claims for exploration. Acquiring additional properties will likely result in additional expense to the Company for minimum royalties, minimum rents and annual exploratory work requirements.

 

Item 3.     LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

As of the date of this Form 10-K, the Company is not a party to any legal proceedings.

 

Item 4.     MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

 

PART II

 

Item 5.     MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

The Company’s common stock is traded on the OTCQB tier of the OTC Markets Group Inc. under the symbol “CTGO”. The OTCQB quotations reflect inter-dealer prices, without retail mark-up, mark-down, or commission, and may not represent actual transactions. 

 

As of June 30, 2020, there were 6,557,239 shares of Contango ORE, Inc. common stock outstanding held by approximately 54 registered shareholders.

 

The Company does not intend to declare or pay any dividends and currently intends to retain any available funds generated by its operations for the development and growth of its business. It does not currently anticipate paying any cash dividends on its outstanding shares of common stock in the foreseeable future. Any future decision to pay dividends on its common stock will be at the discretion of its Board and will depend on its financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, and other factors the Board may deem relevant.

 

The following table sets forth information about the Company’s equity compensation plans at June 30, 2020:

 

Plan Category

 

Number of securities

to be issued upon exercise

of outstanding options

   

Weighted-average

exercise price of

outstanding options

   

Number of securities

remaining available for future

issuance under equity

compensation plans (excluding securities

reflected in column(b))

 

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

    100,000     $ 14.50       466,760  

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

                 

 

On September 15, 2010, the Company’s Board of Directors (the “ Board of Directors” or “Board”) adopted the Contango ORE, Inc. Equity Compensation Plan (the “2010 Plan”). On November 14, 2017, the Stockholders of the Company approved and adopted the Contango ORE, Inc. Amended and Restated 2010 Equity Compensation Plan (the “Amended Equity Plan”). The amendments to the 2010 Plan included (a) increasing the number of shares of common stock that the Company may issue under the plan by 500,000 shares; (b) extending the term of the plan until September 15, 2027; and (c) allowing the Company to withhold shares to satisfy the Company’s tax withholding obligations with respect to grants paid in Company Stock.   

 

On November 13, 2019, the Stockholders of the Company approved and adopted the First Amendment (the “Amendment”) to the Contango ORE, Inc. Amended Equity Plan (as amended, the “Equity Plan”) which increases the number of shares of common stock that the Company may issue under the Equity Plan by 500,000 shares.  Under the Equity Plan, the Board may issue up to 2,000,000 shares of common stock and options to officers, directors, employees or consultants of the Company. Awards made under the Equity Plan are subject to such restrictions, terms and conditions, including forfeitures, if any, as may be determined by the Board. 

 

In  November 2017, the Company granted 155,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives and non-executive directors.  All 155,000 shares of such restricted stock vested on January 1, 2020.

 

In  November 2018, the Company granted 155,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives and non-executive directors. The restricted stock granted vests in January 2021. As of  June 30, 2020, there were 155,000 shares of such restricted stock that remained unvested.

 

In December 2018, the Company cancelled 117,332 shares of unvested restricted stock held by two of its executives and the non-executive directors that were set to vest on January 1, 2019.  The Company also granted 146,666 restricted shares of common stock to two of its executives and non-executive directors. The restricted shares cancellation and the subsequent new grants were accounted for as modification to the original restricted stock grants.  The incremental fair value will be recognized over the vesting period.  The impact of the modification to the current quarter was immaterial.  All of the restricted stock granted in December 2018 vest in January 2021. As of June 30, 2020, there were 146,666 shares of such restricted stock that remained unvested.

 

In November 2019, the Company granted 158,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives and non-executive directors. The restricted stock granted vests in January 2022. As of  June 30, 2020, there were 158,000 shares of such restricted stock that remained unvested.

 

In connection with the appointment of Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, on January 9, 2020, the Company issued 75,000 shares of restricted stock to Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse. The shares of restricted stock will vest in two equal installments, half on the first anniversary of Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s employment with the Company and half on the second anniversary of his employment with the Company, subject to acceleration upon a change of control of the Company.

 

As of June 30, 2020, the total compensation cost related to unvested awards not yet recognized was $3,274,204. The remaining costs will be recognized over the remaining vesting period of the awards.  Neither Brad Juneau, the Company’s former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer and current Executive Chairman, nor any of the Company’s non-executive directors have ever been paid a salary or cash compensation by the Company.

 

On September 23, 2020, the Company completed the issuance and sale of an aggregate of 247,172 shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, in a private placement (the “2020 Private Placement”) to certain purchasers who are accredited investors. The shares of the common stock were sold at a price of $13.25 per share, resulting in gross proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.3 million and net proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.2 million. The Company will use the net proceeds from the 2020 Private Placement for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company. Petrie Partners Securities, LLC (“Petrie”) acted as the sole placement agent in connection with the 2020 Private Placement and received a placement agent fee equal to 3.25% of the gross proceeds raised from the subscribers whom they solicited, or a total of approximately $0.05 million in placement agent fees. Petrie has provided to the Company in the past and may provide from time to time in the future certain securities offering, financial advisory, investment banking and other services for which it has received and may continue to receive customary fees and commissions. The shares sold in the 2020 Private Placement were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) thereof. The bases for the availability of this exemption include the facts that the issuance was a private transaction, which did not involve a public offering and the shares were offered and sold to a limited number of purchasers. The Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, purchased 75,472 of shares of common stock in the 2020 Private Placement, for total consideration of $1.0 million, on the same terms and conditions as all other Purchasers. As a result of Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s purchase, as of September 23, 2020, his ownership interest in the Company is 2.2%. The Audit Committee of the Company has reviewed and approved all agreements and arrangements relating to Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s participation in the 2020 Private Placement. See Note 13. - Subsequent Events for information on the 2020 Private Placement.

   

 

The option awards listed in the table below have been granted to directors, officers, employees and consultants of the Company.

 

Option Awards

Period Granted

 

Options

Granted

   

Weighted Average Exercise Price

 

Vesting Period (8)

 

Expiration Date

September 2011 (1)

    50,000     $ 13.13  

Vested over two years, beginning with one-third on the grant date.

 

September 2016

July 2012 (2)

    100,000     $ 10.25  

Vested over two years, beginning with one-third on the grant date.

 

July 2017

December 2012 (3)

    250,000     $ 10.20  

Vested over two years, beginning with one-third on the grant date.

 

December 2017

June 2013 (4)

    37,500     $ 10.00  

Vested Immediately

 

June 2018

July 2013 (5)

    5,000     $ 10.00  

Vested Immediately

 

July 2018

September 2013 (6)

    37,500     $ 10.01  

Vested Immediately

 

September 2018

September 2013 (6)

    15,000     $ 10.01  

Vested over two years, beginning with one-third on the grant date.

 

September 2018

January 2020 (7)     100,000     $ 14.50   Vests over two years   January 2025

 

(1) The Company granted 40,000 stock options to its directors and officers and an additional 10,000 stock options to its technical consultant, the owner of Avalon, for services performed during fiscal year 2011. Of the total options granted as a part of this grant, 15,000 were later forfeited, and the rest have been exercised. 

(2) The Company granted 75,000 stock options to its directors and officers and an additional 25,000 stock options to its technical consultant for services performed during fiscal year 2012. Of the total options granted as a part of this grant, 25,000 were later forfeited, and the rest have been exercised. 

(3) The Company granted 175,000 stock options to its directors and an additional 75,000 stock options to its technical consultant for services performed during fiscal year 2013. Of the total options granted as a part of this grant, 50,000 were later forfeited. 

(4) The Company granted 37,500 stock options to its employees for services performed during fiscal year 2013. 

(5) The Company granted 5,000 stock options to an employee of Avalon for services performed during fiscal year 2013.  All of these stock options have been exercised. 

(6) The Company granted 52,500 stock options to its employees for services performed during the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. 

(7) The Company granted 100,000 stock options to its President and CEO, upon hire, during the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.

(8) If at any time there occurs a change of control, as defined in the Amended Equity Plan, any options that are unvested at that time will immediately vest. 

 

There were no stock option exercises during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020.  During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019, the Company’s current and former executives, directors, and consultants cashless exercised 35,625 stock options resulting in the issuance of 19,513 shares of common stock to the exercising parties and no proceeds to the Company.

 

 

 

Item 6.     SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 7.     MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

The following discussion and analysis of the Company’s financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and the related notes and other information included elsewhere in this report.

 

Overview

 

The Company was formed on September 1, 2010 as a Delaware corporation. The Company is Houston-based company, whose primary business is to explore in the state of Alaska for gold ore and associated minerals. In connection with the closing of the Transactions with Royal Gold in January 2015, the Company formed the Joint Venture Company and contributed to the Joint Venture Company the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property and other related assets. At the Closing, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, entered into the Joint Venture Company LLC Agreement.

 

Neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has commenced mining or producing commercially marketable minerals. To date, neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has generated any revenue from mineral sales or operations. Neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has any recurring source of revenue other than the Company and Royal Gold’s contributions to the Joint Venture Company. The Company’s ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on the Company’s ability to raise capital to fund future exploration and working capital requirements. In the future, the Joint Venture Company may generate revenue from a combination of mineral sales and other payments resulting from any commercially recoverable minerals from the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. The Company does not expect the Joint Venture Company to generate revenue from mineral sales in the foreseeable future. If the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property fails to contain any proven reserves, the Company’s ability to generate future revenue, and the Company’s results of operations and financial position, would be materially adversely affected. Other potential sources of cash, or relief of demand for cash, include external debt, the sale of shares of the Company’s stock, joint ventures, or alternative methods such as mergers or sale of our assets. No assurances can be given, however, that the Company will be able to obtain any of these potential sources of cash. The Company will need to generate significant revenues to achieve profitability and the Company may never do so.

 

General and Administrative Expense. General and administrative expense for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 were $5,594,995 and $4,440,546, respectively. Current year general and administrative expenses primarily related to audit fees, management fees, legal fees, payroll, payroll taxes, and stock-based compensation expense. We recognized $3,368,916 of stock-based compensation expense for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, related to restricted stock and options granted to our officers and directors in January 2020, November 2019, November 2018, November 2017, November 2016, August 2016, September 2015, and November 2014 all pursuant to either the Amended Equity Plan or the 2010 Plan.We recognized $2,988,331 of stock-based compensation expense for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019, related to restricted stock granted to our officers and directors in November 2018, November 2017, November 2016, August 2016, September 2015, and November 2014 all pursuant to either the Amended Equity Plan or the 2010 Plan.  We incurred legal fees of $1.1 million and $391,000 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.  Legal expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 were higher than previous years due to an increase in exploring strategic corporate options.  On November 20, 2019, the Company entered into an Amended and Restated Management Services Agreement (the “A&R MSA”), with JEX, which amends and restates the Management Services Agreement between the Company and JEX dated as of October 1, 2016. We incurred $504,000 and $384,000 in management fees related to the Management Services Agreement and the A&R MSA in fiscal year 2020 and 2019, respectively.  Under the A&R MSA, JEX manages the general and administrative services of the Company and its interest in the Joint Venture Company, subject to the direction of the Board, including corporate finance, accounting, budget, SEC reporting, risk management, operations and stockholder relation functions of the Company. No part of the fee is allocated for compensation of our Executive Chairman, Brad Juneau, who is compensated separately as determined by the independent Directors of the Company. 

 

Loss from Equity Investment in the Joint Venture Company.  The loss from the Company’s equity investment in the Joint Venture Company for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 was $3,720,000 and $4,140,000, respectively.  Pursuant to the JV LLCA, the Company and Royal Gold are required to jointly fund the joint venture operations in proportion to their interests in the Joint Venture Company to avoid dilution.  The Company only records losses up to the point of its cumulative investment. The Company invested $3,720,000 million in the Joint Venture Company during fiscal year 2020, and $4,140,000 during fiscal year 2019.  The portion of the cumulative loss that exceeds the Company’s cumulative investment will be suspended and recognized against earnings, if any, from the Company’s investment in the Joint Venture Company in future periods. The suspended losses for the period from inception to  June 30, 2020 are $22.9 million. 

 

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Prior to the Closing, the Company’s primary cash requirements were for exploration-related expenses.  Since the Closing, the Company’s primary cash requirements have been for general and administrative expenses. Pursuant to the JV LLCA, the Company will require cash to fund the operations of the Joint Venture Company in proportion to its interest in the Joint Venture Company in order to prevent dilution of such interest. The Company’s sources of cash have been from common stock offerings. The Peak Gold Joint Venture Property is still in the initial stages of exploration, and the longer term liquidity of the Company will be impaired to the extent the Joint Venture Company’s exploration efforts are not successful in generating commercially viable mineral deposits on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.

 

As of June 30, 2020, the Company had approximately $3.0 million of cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. Due to the effects of COVID-19 and for the safety of the Joint Venture Company's field personnel and the surrounding community, the Management Committee of the Joint Venture Company approved a $2.7 million budget for calendar year 2020 that would serve to care for and maintain the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, and postpone new exploration until conditions permit.  The Company’s share of the budget is approximately $1.6 million, of which $1.0 million had been funded as of June 30, 2020. Under this approved budget, the Company has sufficient liquidity to meet its working capital requirements for the next twelve months.  The Company believes that if a larger budget beyond the current care and maintenance budget is undertaken by Joint Venture Company this calendar year and the Company funds its portion, or if we do not complete a strategic transaction, the Company will need to raise capital to fund future exploration.  If a larger budget is undertaken, and no additional financing is obtained, the Company can elect not to fund its portion of the approved budget, in which case the Company would maintain sufficient liquidity to meet its working capital requirements for the next twelve months. 

 

The Company’s primary source of funding has been private offerings of its equity securities. In September 2016, the Company distributed a Private Placement Memorandum to its warrant holders to give them the opportunity to exercise their warrants at a reduced exercise price and receive shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share of the Company by paying the reduced exercise price in cash and surrendering the original warrants.  The offering applied to warrant holders with an exercise price of $10.00 per share originally issued in March 2013. The offering gave the warrant holders the opportunity to exercise the warrants for $9.00 per share. The offer expired on November 15, 2016. In conjunction with the offering, a total of 587,500 warrants were exercised resulting in total cash to the Company of $5.3 million.  On October 13, 2017, the Company distributed a Private Placement Memorandum to its warrant holders to give them the opportunity to exercise their warrants at a reduced exercise price and receive shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share of the Company by paying the reduced exercise price in cash and surrendering the original warrants.  The offering applied to warrant holders with an exercise price of $10.00 per share originally issued in March 2013. The offering gave the warrant holders the opportunity to exercise the warrants for $9.50 per share. The offer expired on November 10, 2017.  In conjunction with the offering a total of 124,999 warrants were exercised resulting in total cash to the Company of $1.2 million.  Proceeds from the exercise of the warrants have been used for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company. 

 

On October 23, 2017, the Company completed the issuance and sale of an aggregate of 553,672 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of the Company at a purchase price of $19.00 per share of common stock, in a private placement to certain purchasers pursuant to a Stock Purchase Agreement dated as of October 23, 2017, by and among the Company and each purchaser named therein (the “Private Placement”).  Brad Juneau, who was serving as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer at the time of the offering, purchased 13,200 shares of common stock, at an aggregate purchase price of $250,800, in the Private Placement on the same terms and conditions as all other purchasers.  The Private Placement resulted in approximately $10.5 million of gross proceeds and approximately $10.0 million of net proceeds. The Company will use the net proceeds from the Private Placement to fund its exploration and development program and for general corporate purposes. Petrie acted as sole placement agent in connection with the Private Placement and received a placement agent fee equal to 6.50%, which was reduced to 3.25% for existing stockholders and other purchasers referred by those existing stockholders, or a total of $0.5 million in placement agent fees. 

 

32

 

On January 8, 2015, Royal Gold invested $5 million to fund exploration activity, and had the option to earn up to a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company by investing up to $30 million (inclusive of the initial $5 million investment) prior to October 31, 2018. As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold had funded approximately $37.0 million (including the initial investment of $5 million) and earned a 40.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company.  The proceeds of Royal Gold’s investment were used for additional exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. For additional information regarding the Joint Venture Company’s capital budget and expenditures, see the “Gold Exploration” section above.  

 

On September 23, 2020, the Company completed the issuance and sale of an aggregate of 247,172 shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, in a private placement (the “2020 Private Placement”) to certain purchasers who are accredited investors. The shares of the common stock were sold at a price of $13.25 per share, resulting in gross proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.3 million and net proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.2 million. The Company will use the net proceeds from the 2020 Private Placement for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company. Petrie Partners Securities, LLC (“Petrie”) acted as the sole placement agent in connection with the 2020 Private Placement and received a placement agent fee equal to 3.25% of the gross proceeds raised from the subscribers whom they solicited, or a total of approximately $0.05 million in placement agent fees. Petrie has provided to the Company in the past and may provide from time to time in the future certain securities offering, financial advisory, investment banking and other services for which it has received and may continue to receive customary fees and commissions. The shares sold in the 2020 Private Placement were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) thereof. The bases for the availability of this exemption include the facts that the issuance was a private transaction, which did not involve a public offering and the shares were offered and sold to a limited number of purchasers. The Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, purchased 75,472 of shares of common stock in the 2020 Private Placement, for total consideration of $1.0 million, on the same terms and conditions as all other Purchasers. As a result of Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s purchase, as of September 23, 2020, his ownership interest in the Company is 2.2%. The Audit Committee of the Company has reviewed and approved all agreements and arrangements relating to Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s participation in the 2020 Private Placement. See Note 13. - Subsequent Events for information on the 2020 Private Placement.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the JV LLCA, the Company and Royal Gold are required to jointly fund the joint venture operations in proportion to their interests in the Joint Venture Company. If a member elects not to contribute to an approved program and budget or contributes less than its proportionate interest, its percentage interest will be reduced. The capital costs of developing a large gold mining facility could exceed $1 billion. The Company’s ability to contribute funds sufficient to retain its membership interests in the Joint Venture Company may be limited. To date, neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has generated any revenue from mineral sales or operations. In the future, the Joint Venture Company may generate revenue from a combination of mineral sales and other payments resulting from any commercially recoverable minerals from the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. The Company does not expect the Joint Venture Company to generate revenue from mineral sales in the foreseeable future. Further, neither the Company nor the Joint Venture Company has any recurring source of revenue other than the Company and Royal Gold’s contributions to the Joint Venture Company. As a result, the Company’s ability to contribute funds to the Joint Venture Company and retain its interest will depend on its ability to raise capital. The Company has limited financial resources and the ability of the Company to arrange additional financing in the future will depend, in part, on the prevailing capital market conditions, the exploration results achieved at the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, as well as the market price of metals. The Company cannot be certain that financing will be available to the Company on acceptable terms, if at all. If the Company were unable to fund its contributions to the approved programs and budgets for the Joint Venture Company, its interest in the Joint Venture Company would be diluted.  Now that Royal Gold has earned a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company, it has the additional right to require the Company to sell up to 20% of the interest in the Joint Venture Company in a sale of Royal Gold’s entire 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company. If Royal Gold exercises this right, the Company will be obligated to sell 20% of the membership interest to a bona fide third-party purchaser on the same terms and conditions as the interest being sold by Royal Gold.

 

Further financing by the Company may include issuances of equity, instruments convertible into equity (such as warrants) or various forms of debt. The Company has issued common stock and other instruments convertible into equity in the past and cannot predict the size or price of any future issuances of common stock or other instruments convertible into equity, and the effect, if any, that such future issuances and sales will have on the market price of the Company’s securities. Any additional issuances of common stock or securities convertible into, or exercisable or exchangeable for, common stock may ultimately result in dilution to the holders of common stock, dilution in any future earnings per share of the Company and may have a material adverse effect upon the market price of the common stock of the Company.

 

33

 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

None

 

Contractual Obligations

 

The Tetlin Lease had an initial ten year term beginning in July 2008 which was extended for an additional ten years to July 15, 2028, or so long as the Joint Venture Company initiates and continues to conduct mining operations on the Tetlin Lease. The Joint Venture Company is required to spend $350,000 annually until July 15, 2018 in exploration costs pursuant to the Tetlin Lease. However, exploration expenditures to date under the lease have already satisfied this work commitment requirement for the full lease term, through 2028, because exploration funds spent in any year in excess of $350,000 are credited toward future years’ exploration cost requirements. The Tetlin Lease also provides that the Joint Venture Company will pay the Tetlin Tribal Council a production royalty ranging from 2.0% to 5.0% should the Joint Venture Company deliver to a purchaser on a commercial basis precious or non-precious metals derived from the properties under the Tetlin Lease. As of June 30, 2019, the Company had paid the Tetlin Tribal Council $225,000 in exchange for reducing the production royalty payable to them by 0.75%. These payments lowered the production royalty to a range of 1.25% to 4.25%. On or before July 15, 2020, the Tetlin Tribal Council had the option to increase its production royalty by (i) 0.25% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $150,000, (ii) 0.50% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $300,000, or (iii) 0.75% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $450,000.  The Management Committee of the Joint Venture Company extended the Tetlin Tribal Council’s option until November 15, 2020.

 

On January 8, 2015, the Company assigned the Tetlin Lease to the Joint Venture Company in connection with the Transactions.

 

Until such time as production royalties begin, the Joint Venture Company will pay the Tetlin Tribal Council an advance minimum royalty of approximately $75,000 per year, plus an inflation adjustment. Additionally, the Joint Venture Company will pay Royal Gold an overriding royalty of 3.0% should it deliver to a purchaser on a commercial basis gold or associated minerals derived from the Tetlin Lease and certain other properties, and an overriding royalty of 2.0% should it deliver to a purchaser on a commercial basis precious metals, non-precious metals or hydrocarbons derived from additional properties.  The Joint Venture Company pays claim rentals on state of Alaska mining claims which vary based on the ages of the claims. For the 2019-2020 assessment year, claims rentals totaled $323,248.  In addition, if the minimum work requirement is not performed on the property, additional minimum labor payments are due on certain state of Alaska acreage.

 

In February 2019, the Company entered into Retention Agreements with its then-Chief Executive Officer, Brad Juneau, its Chief Financial Officer, Leah Gaines, and one other employee providing for payments in an aggregate amount of $1,500,000 upon the occurrence of certain conditions. The Retention Agreements, as amended, are triggered upon a change of control (as defined in the applicable Retention Agreement), that takes place prior to August 6, 2025, provided that the recipient is employed by the Company when the change of control occurs.  Mr. Juneau and Ms. Gaines will receive a payment of $1,000,000 and $250,000, respectively, upon a change of control.

 

On June 10, 2020, the Company entered into a Retention Payment Agreement with Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, providing for a payment in an amount of $350,000 upon the occurrence of certain conditions. The Retention Payment Agreement is triggered upon a change of control (as defined in the Retention Payment Agreement) which occurs on or prior to August 6, 2025, provided that Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse is employed by the Company when the change of control occurs.

 

Application of Critical Accounting Policies and Management’s Estimates

 

The discussion and analysis of the Company’s financial condition and results of operations is based upon the consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires the Company to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. The Company has identified below the policies that are of particular importance to the portrayal of the Company's financial position and results of operations and which require the application of significant judgment by management. The Company analyzes its estimates, including those related to its mineral reserve estimates, on a periodic basis and bases its estimates on historical experience, independent third-party engineers and various other assumptions that management believes to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. The Company believes the following critical accounting policies affect its more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements:

 

Stock-Based Compensation. The Company applies the fair value method of accounting for stock-based compensation. Under this method, compensation cost is measured at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and is recognized over the award vesting period. The Company classifies the benefits of tax deductions in excess of the compensation cost recognized for the options (excess tax benefit) as financing cash flows. The fair value of each option award is estimated as of the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model.  The fair value of each restricted stock award is equal to the Company’s stock price on the date the award is granted.

 

Investment in the Joint Venture Company. The Company’s consolidated financial statements include the investment in the Joint Venture Company, which is accounted for under the equity method. The Company has designated one of the three members of the Management Committee and on June 30, 2020, held a 60.0% ownership interest in the Joint Venture Company. The Company recorded its investment at the historical cost of the assets contributed. The cumulative losses of the Joint Venture Company exceed the historical cost of the assets contributed to the Joint Venture Company, therefore the Company’s investment in the Joint Venture Company as of June 30, 2020 is zero. The portion of the cumulative loss that exceeds the Company’s investment will be suspended and recognized against earnings, if any, from the investment in the Joint Venture Company in future periods. The audited financial statements of the Joint Venture Company as of the year ended June 30, 2020 are filed as an exhibit to this Form 10-K.

 

 

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements. See “Part II. Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data - Note 3 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Item 7A.  QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 8.     FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

 

The consolidated financial statements and supplemental information required to be filed under Item 8 of Form 10-K are presented on pages 40 through 58 of this Form 10-K.

 

Item 9.     CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

 

None.

 

Item 9A.    CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures.   As required by Rule 13a-15(b) of the Exchange Act, under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our President and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial and Accounting Officer, we conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures, as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act as of June 30, 2020. Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to provide reasonable assurance that the information required to be disclosed by us in reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure and is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. Based on that evaluation, management concluded that the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of June 30, 2020 at the reasonable assurance level.

 

Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting.  The Company’s management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as such term is defined in Exchange Act Rule 13a-15(f). Our internal control system was designed to provide reasonable assurance to our management and the Board regarding the preparation and fair presentation of published financial statements. As of June 30, 2020, under the supervision and with the participation of the Company’s management, including the President and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial and Accounting Officer, the Company conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting based on the framework in 2013 Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Based on the Company’s evaluation under the framework in 2013 Internal Control-Integrated Framework, the Company’s management concluded that its internal control over financial reporting was effective as of June 30, 2020.

 

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

 

Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. There have been no changes in our internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the quarter ended June 30, 2020 that have materially affected or are reasonably likely to materially affect our internal control over financial reporting.  We may make changes in our internal control procedures from time to time in the future.

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K does not include an attestation report from Moss Adams LLP, the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm, regarding internal control over financial reporting. Management’s report was not subject to attestation by Moss Adams, LLP, pursuant to SEC rules that permit the Company to provide only management’s report in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Item 9B.    OTHER INFORMATION

 

None.

 

 

PART III

 

Item 10.    DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

The information regarding directors, executive officers, promoters and control persons required under Item 10 of Form 10-K will be contained in the Company’s Definitive Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the “Proxy Statement”) under the headings “Election of Directors”, “Executive Compensation”, “Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance” and “Corporate Governance” and is incorporated herein by reference. The Proxy Statement will be filed with the SEC pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Exchange Act, not later than 120 days after June 30, 2020.

 

Item 11.    EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

The information required under Item 11 of Form 10-K will be contained in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Executive Compensation” and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Item 12.    SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

 

The information required under Item 12 of Form 10-K will be contained in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Security Ownership of Certain Other Beneficial Owners and Management” and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Item 13.    CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

 

The information required under Item 13 of Form 10-K will be contained in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence” and “Executive Compensation” and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Item 14.    PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

 

The information required under Item 14 of Form 10-K will be contained in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Principal Accountant Fees and Services” and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

 

PART IV

 

Item 15.    EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES  

 

  (a)

Financial Statements and Schedules:

 

The consolidated financial statements of the Company are set forth in pages 40 to 58 of this Form 10-K. The financial statements of the Company’s subsidiary, Peak Gold, LLC, are included as an exhibit to this Form 10-K. No other financial statement schedules have been filed since they are either not required, not applicable, or the information is otherwise included.

 

  (b)

Exhibits:  

 

The following is a list of exhibits filed as part of this Form 10-K. Where so indicated by a footnote, exhibits, which were previously filed, are incorporated herein by reference.

 

Exhibit

Number

  

Description

3.1

  

Certificate of Incorporation of Contango ORE, Inc.(Filed as Exhibit 3.1 to Amendment No. 2 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form 10, as filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 26, 2010).

3.2

  

Bylaws of Contango ORE, Inc. (Filed as Exhibit 3.2 to Amendment No. 2 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form 10, as filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 26, 2010).

4.1

  

Form of Certificate of Contango ORE, Inc. Common Stock.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2013,
as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14, 2013).

4.2

 

Certificate of Designation of Series A Junior Preferred Stock of Contango ORE, Inc.(Filed as Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 21, 2012).

4.3   Certificate of Elimination of Series A Junior Participating Preferred Stock of Contango ORE, Inc. (Filed as Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 24, 2020).
4.4   Certificate of Designations of Series A-1 Junior Participating Preferred Stock of Contango ORE, Inc. (Filed as Exhibit 3.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 24, 2020).

4.5

 

Rights Agreement, dated as of December 20, 2012, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 21, 2012).

4.6

 

Amendment No. 1 to Rights Agreement, dated as of March 21, 2013, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 25, 2013).

4.7

 

Amendment No. 2 to Rights Agreement, dated as of September 29, 2014, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company,. N.A. as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 2, 2014).

4.8

 

Amendment No. 3 to Rights Agreement, dated as of December 18, 2014, between Contango ORE, Inc and Computershare Trust Company. N.A. as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 18, 2014).

4.9

 

Amendment No. 4 to Rights Agreement, dated as of November 11, 2015, between Contango ORE, Inc and Computershare Trust Company. N.A. as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.7 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2015, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 12, 2015).

4.10   Amendment No. 5 to Rights Agreement, dated as of April 22, 2018, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. as Rights Agent(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 25, 2018).
4.11   Amendment No. 6 to Rights Agreement, dated as of November 21, 2019, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. as Rights Agent.(Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 21, 2019).
4.12   Amendment No. 7 to Rights Agreement, dated as of September 23, 2020, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. as Rights Agent. (Filed as Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 24, 2020).
4.13   Rights Agreement, dated September 23, 2020 between Contango ORE, Inc. and Computershare Trust Company. N.A. as Rights Agent. (Filed as Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 24, 2020).
4.14   Registration Rights Agreement dated October 23, 2017, among Contango ORE, Inc. and the several purchasers named therein. (Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 26, 2017).
4.15   Registration Rights Agreement dated November 10, 2017, among Contango ORE, Inc. and the investors named therein. (Filed as Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 16, 2017).
4.16   Description of Securities.*

10.1

  

Form of 2010 Equity Compensation Plan. (Filed as Exhibit 10.3 to Amendment No. 2 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form 10, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 26, 2010).

10.2

  

Contribution Agreement, dated as of November 1, 2010, between Contango Oil & Gas Company and Contango ORE, Inc. (Filed as Exhibit 10.4 to Amendment No. 2 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form 10, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 26, 2010).

 

 

10.3

 

Master Agreement, by and between Contango ORE, Inc. and Royal Gold, Inc.. dated September 29, 2014. (Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 2, 2014).

10.4   Management Services Agreement by and between Contango ORE, Inc. and Juneau Exploration effective October 1, 2016. (Filed as Exhibit 10.20 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2016, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 10, 2016).
10.5   Amended and Restated Management Services Agreement by and between Contango ORE, Inc. and Juneau Exploration L.P., dated November 20, 2019. (Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 21, 2019).
10.6   Contango ORE, Inc. Amended and Restated 2010 Equity Compensation Plan.(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 16, 2017).
10.7   First Amendment to the Contango ORE, Inc. Amended and Restated 2010 Equity Compensation Plan.†(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 20, 2019).
10.8   Peak Gold, LLC Limited Liability Company Agreement, dated as of January 8, 2015, between CORE Alaska, LLC and RG Alaska, LLC.(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 8, 2015).
10.9   Amendment No. 1 to the Peak Gold, LLC Limited Liability Company Agreement, dated as of November 10, 2017 between CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC.(Filed as Exhibit 10.4 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2017, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 30, 2018).
10.10   Amendment No. 2 to the Peak Gold, LLC Limited Liability Company Agreement, dated as of January 18, 2019 between CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC.(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 25, 2019).
10.11   Retention Agreement dated February 6, 2019 between Contango ORE, Inc. and Brad Juneau.  (Filed as Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2018, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 7, 2019).
10.12   Retention Agreement dated February 6, 2019 between Contango ORE, Inc. and Leah Gaines.  (Filed as Exhibit 10.4 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2018, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 7, 2019).
10.13  

Form of Amendment to Retention Agreement, between Contango ORE, Inc. and each officer or employee party thereto. † 

(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 11, 2020).

10.14  

Offer Letter to Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, dated January 6, 2020.

(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 10, 2020).

10.15  

Incentive Stock Option Agreement between Contango ORE, Inc. Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, dated January 6, 2020.

(Filed as Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 10, 2020).

10.16  

Restricted Stock Option Award Agreement between Contango ORE, Inc. Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, dated January 9, 2020.

(Filed as Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 10, 2020).

10.17  

Retention Payment Agreement dated June 10, 2020, between Contango ORE, Inc. and Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse.

(Filed as Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 12, 2020).

10.18  

Contango ORE, Inc. Short Term Incentive Plan, for the benefit of Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, dated June 10, 2020.

(Filed as Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K/A, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 22, 2020).

14.1

 

Code of Ethics.

(Filed as Exhibit 14.1 to the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 11, 2012).

21.1   List of Subsidiaries.*

23.1

 

Consent of Moss Adams LLP, Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm.*

23.2   Consent of Moss Adams LLP, Independent Auditor for the Audited Financial Statements of Peak Gold, LLC as of June 30, 2020*

31.1

  

Section 302 CEO Certification. *

31.2

  

Section 302 CFO Certification. *

32.1

  

Section 906 CEO Certification. *

32.2

  

Section 906 CFO Certification. *

99.1

  

Original Schedule of Gold Properties (Excluding Tetlin Lease). (Filed as Exhibit 99.1 to the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 19, 2011).

99.2

  

Original Schedule of REE Properties. (Filed as Exhibit 99.2 to the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 19, 2011).

99.3

 

Schedule of Revised TOK Claims. 

(Filed as Exhibit 99.3 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2013).

99.4

 

Schedule of Bush Claims. 

(Filed as Exhibit 99.4 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2013).

99.5

 

Schedule of Revised Eagle Claims. 

(Filed as Exhibit 99.6 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2013).

99.6

 

Schedule of ADC 2 Claims. 

(Filed as Exhibit 99.7 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2013).

99.7

 

2011 Report of Behre Dolbear & Company (USA).

(Filed as Exhibit 99.3 to the Company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2011, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 6, 2012).

99.8

 

Schedule of Noah Claims. (Filed as Exhibit 99.8 to the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 15, 2017).

99.9

 

Voting Agreement, dated as September 29, 2014, between Royal Gold, Inc. and the stockholders thereto.

(Filed as Exhibit 99.2 to the Company’s current report on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 2, 2014).

99.10

 

Audited Financial Statements of Peak Gold, LLC as of June 30, 2020.*

101

 

Interactive Data Files*

     

* 

 

Filed herewith

  Management contract or compensatory plan or agreement

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

In accordance with Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

 

 

  

/s/    RICK VAN NIEUWENHUYSE   

 

/s/   LEAH GAINES     

  

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director

(Principal Executive Officer)

 

Leah Gaines

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Cheif Accounting Officer, Treasurer and Secretary

(Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)

  

 

Pursuant to the requirements of the Exchange Act, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated.

 

         

Name

  

Title

  

Date

/s/RICK VAN NIEUWENHUYSE   President, Cheif Executive Officer   September 25, 2020
RICK VAN NIEUWENHUYSE   (Principal Executive Officer)    
         
/s/LEAH GAINES   Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer , Treasurer   September 25, 2020
LEAH GAINES   and Secretary    
    (Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)    
         

/s/ BRAD JUNEAU

 

Executive Chairman and Director

 

September 25, 2020

BRAD JUNEAU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/s/    JOSEPH COMPOFELICE

  

Director

  

September 25, 2020

JOSEPH COMPOFELICE  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/s/    JOSEPH G. GREENBERG

  

Director

  

September 25, 2020

JOSEPH G. GREENBERG 

 

 

 

 

         
/s/  RICHARD SHORTZ   Director   September 25, 2020
RICHARD SHORTZ        

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

 

Page

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firms

41

Consolidated Balance Sheets

42

Consolidated Statements of Operations

43

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

44

Consolidated Statements of Shareholders’ Equity

45

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

46

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of

Contango Ore, Inc.

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Contango Ore, Inc. and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of June 30, 2020 and 2019 the related consolidated statements of operations, shareholders’ equity and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of the Company as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, and the consolidated results of its operations, and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Basis for Opinion

 

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures to respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

 

/s/ Moss Adams LLP

Houston, Texas

September 25, 2020

 

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2017.

 

 

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

 

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

   

June 30,

 
    2020    

2019

 

ASSETS

               

CURRENT ASSETS:

               

Cash

  $ 3,011,918     $ 8,600,658  

Prepaid expenses and other

    72,244       161,195  

Total current assets

    3,084,162       8,761,853  
                 

OTHER ASSETS:

               

Investment in Peak Gold, LLC (NOTE 8)

           

TOTAL ASSETS

  $ 3,084,162     $ 8,761,853  
                 

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

               

CURRENT LIABILITIES:

               

Accounts payable

  $ 83,158     $ 71,410  

Accrued liabilities

    1,006,237       347,879  

Total current liabilities

    1,089,395       419,289  
                 

COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES (NOTE 10)

               
                 

SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

               

Preferred Stock, 15,000,000 shares authorized

           

Common Stock, $0.01 par value, 30,000,000 shares authorized; 6,590,113 shares issued and 6,557,239 outstanding at June 30, 2020; 6,357,113 shares issued and outstanding at June 30, 2019;

    65,901       63,571  

Additional paid-in capital

    61,302,249       57,935,663  
       Treasury stock at cost (32,874 shares at June 30, 2020; and 0 at June 30, 2019)     (476,672 )      

Accumulated deficit

    (58,896,711 )     (49,656,670

)

SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

    1,994,767       8,342,564  

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

  $ 3,084,162     $ 8,761,853  

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 

   

Year Ended June 30,

 
    2020    

2019

 

EXPENSES:

               

General and administrative expense

  $ (5,594,995 )   $ (4,440,546 )

Total expenses

    (5,594,995 )     (4,440,546 )
                 

OTHER INCOME/(EXPENSE):

               
       Interest income     74,954       224,707  

Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC

    (3,720,000 )     (4,140,000 )
Total other income/(expense)     (3,645,046 )     (3,915,293 )
                 
LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAXES     (9,240,041 )     (8,355,839 )

Benefit (provision) for income taxes

           

NET LOSS

  $ (9,240,041 )   $ (8,355,839 )

LOSS PER SHARE

               

Basic and diluted

  $ (1.43 )   $ (1.33 )
                 

WEIGHTED AVERAGE COMMON SHARES OUTSTANDING

               

Basic and diluted

    6,475,795       6,282,285  

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

 

   

Year Ended June 30,

 
    2020    

2019

 

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:

               

Net loss

  $ (9,240,041 )   $ (8,355,839

)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:

               

Stock-based compensation

    3,368,916       2,988,331  

Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC

    3,720,000       4,140,000  

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

               

Decrease/(increase) in prepaid expenses

    88,951       (5,524 )

Increase in accounts payable and other accrued liabilities

    670,106       162,885  

Net cash used in operating activities

    (1,392,068 )     (1,070,147

)

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:                
Cash invested in Peak Gold, LLC     (3,720,000 )     (4,140,000 )
Net cash used by investing activities     (3,720,000 )     (4,140,000 )
CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:                
Cash paid for shares withheld from employees for payroll tax withholding     (476,672 )      
Net cash used in financing activities     (476,672 )      

NET DECREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS

    (5,588,740 )     (5,210,147

)

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, BEGINNING OF PERIOD

    8,600,658       13,810,805  

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, END OF PERIOD

  $ 3,011,918     $ 8,600,658  

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

   

Common Stock

   

Additional

    Treasury    

Accumulated

   

Total

Shareholders

 
   

Shares

   

Amount

    Paid-in Capital     Stock     Deficit     Equity  

Balance at June 30, 2018

    6,153,266       61,533       54,949,370             (41,300,831

)

    13,710,072  

Stock-based compensation

                2,988,331                   2,988,331  
    Restricted shares activity     184,334       1,843       (1,843 )                  

Stock option exercises

    19,513       195       (195 )                  

Net loss for the period

                            (8,355,839

)

    (8,355,839

)

Balance at June 30, 2019

    6,357,113     $ 63,571     $ 57,935,663     $     $ (49,656,670

)

  $ 8,342,564  
Stock-based compensation                 3,368,916                   3,368,916  
Restricted shares activity     233,000       2,330       (2,330 )                  
Treasury stock activity                       (476,672 )           (476,672 )
Net loss for the period                             (9,240,041 )     (9,240,041 )
Balance at June 30, 2020     6,590,113     $ 65,901     $ 61,302,249     $ (476,672 )   $ (58,896,711 )   $ 1,994,767  

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 

CONTANGO ORE, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

 

1. Organization and Business

 

Contango ORE, Inc. (“CORE” or the “Company”) is a Houston-based company that engages in the exploration in Alaska for gold and associated minerals through a joint venture company, Peak Gold, LLC (the “Joint Venture Company”). The Company was formed on September 1, 2010 as a Delaware corporation for the purpose of engaging in the exploration in the State of Alaska for gold ore and associated minerals. CORE participates in the Joint Venture Company through its wholly owned subsidiary, CORE Alaska, LLC.

 

The Company is in an exploration stage. The Company’s fiscal year end is June 30.

 

On November 29, 2010, Contango Mining Company (“Contango Mining”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Contango Oil & Gas Company (“Contango”), assigned its properties and certain other assets and liabilities to Contango. Contango contributed the properties and $3.5 million of cash to the Company, in exchange for approximately 1.6 million shares of the Company’s common stock, which were distributed to Contango’s shareholders of record. The above transactions occurred among companies under common control and were accounted for as transactions among entities under common control, in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 805, “Business Combinations” whereby the acquired assets and liabilities were recognized in the financial statements at their carrying amounts.

 

The properties contributed by Contango included: (i) a 100% leasehold interest in an estimated 675,000 acres (the “Tetlin Lease”) from the Tetlin Tribal Council, the council formed by the governing body for the Native Village of Tetlin, an Alaska Native Tribe (the “Tetlin Tribal Council”); and (ii) approximately 18,021 acres in unpatented mining claims from the state of Alaska for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals.  Juneau Exploration, L.P. (“JEX”) initially retained a 3.0% production royalty on contributed properties.  On September 29, 2014, JEX sold its 3.0% production royalty to Royal Gold, Inc. (“Royal Gold”). See Note 12. - Related Party Transactions.  If any of the properties are placed into commercial production, the Joint Venture Company would be obligated to pay a 3.0% production royalty to Royal Gold.

 

In September 2012, the Company and JEX entered into an Advisory Agreement in which JEX assisted the Company in acquiring 474 unpatented state of Alaska mining claims consisting of 71,896 acres for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals in exchange for a 2.0% production royalty on properties acquired after July 1, 2012.  On September 29, 2014, JEX sold its 2.0% production royalty to Royal Gold and the Company terminated its Advisory Agreement with JEX. See Note 12. - Related Party Transactions.  If any properties acquired after July 1, 2012 are placed into commercial production, the Joint Venture Company will be obligated to pay Royal Gold a 2.0% production royalty relating to those properties.

 

On September 29, 2014, the Company entered into a Master Agreement (the “Master Agreement”) with Royal Gold, pursuant to which the parties agreed, subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions, to form a joint venture to advance exploration and development of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property (defined below), prospective for gold ore and associated minerals (the “Transactions”). The Transactions closed on January 8, 2015 (the “Closing”).

 

In connection with the Closing, the Company contributed its Tetlin Lease and state of Alaska mining claims near Tok, Alaska (the “Peak Gold Joint Venture Property”), together with other property, to the Joint Venture Company, a newly formed limited liability company.  The Joint Venture Company is managed according to a Limited Liability Company Agreement (the “JV LLCA”) between subsidiaries of Royal Gold and the Company. At the Closing, Royal Gold made an initial investment of $5 million to fund exploration activity. The initial $5 million did not give Royal Gold an equity stake in the Joint Venture Company. Royal Gold had the option to obtain up to 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company by investing up to $30 million (inclusive of the initial $5 million investment) prior to October 2018.  As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold has contributed approximately $37.0 million to the Joint Venture Company and has earned a cumulative economic interest of 40.0%.  Now that Royal Gold has funded $30 million, the Company and Royal Gold have an obligation to fund jointly the joint venture operations in proportion to their interests in the Joint Venture Company in order to maintain their respective percentage ownership interests in the Joint Venture Company.  The proceeds from the investments are used for additional exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property. Pursuant to the JV LLCA, Royal Gold serves as the Manager of the Joint Venture Company and manages, directs, and controls operations of the Joint Venture Company.

 

 

  On November 10, 2017, subsidiaries of Royal Gold and the Company entered into Amendment No. 1 to the JV LLCA, which, among other things, amended the JV LLCA to add certain claims, previously purchased by the Joint Venture Company.  The claims that were added consist of 541 unpatented state of Alaska mining claims over 84,840 acres for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals (the “New Properties”).  In return for locating the New Properties and incurring all related expenses, the Joint Venture Company granted to a subsidiary of Royal Gold a 3.0% production royalty on the New Properties and any additional properties contributed to the Joint Venture Company (all such properties subject to the 3.0% production royalty, “Additional Properties”).  

 

On January 18, 2019, CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company and Royal Gold, respectively, entered into Amendment No. 2 (the “Amendment”) to the JV LLCA to outline rights of the parties in a joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold and make certain other clarifying changes. The Amendment, among other things, (i) defined certain project areas and a resource area in reference to properties owned or controlled by the Joint Venture Company; (ii) allowed CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC to agree to sell their respective interests in the Joint Venture Company in respect of fewer than all such project areas in a joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold; (iii) in connection with the joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold, created (a) a tag right on a transfer by either CORE Alaska, LLC or Royal Alaska, LLC of any portion of its interest in the resource area; and (b) a drag right in a transfer by Royal Alaska, LLC of its entire interest in the resource area and, if the drag right is not exercised as to the resource area in a transfer of that area, then the drag right may be incorporated into the surviving entities that would hold certain other properties owned by the Joint Venture Company that were not transferred. The joint sale process has concluded without entering into a definitive change of control transaction.  As a result, the tag right and drag right created in connection with the joint sale process specifically with respect to the resource area also terminated.

 

The Company has completed ten years of exploration efforts on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, which has resulted in identifying two mineral deposits (Main Peak and North Peak) and several other gold, silver, and copper prospects. The Joint Venture Company completed the 2019 exploration program in October of 2019.  A total of 3,073 meters of drilling was completed during that program.

 

In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) surfaced and spread globally. Through June 30, 2020, the spread of this virus and government responses have caused business disruption and is adversely affecting many industries.  The Company and the Joint Venture Company are monitoring the situation and taking reasonable steps to keep our business premises, properties, vendors and employees in a safe environment and are constantly monitoring the impact of COVID-19.  Due to the uncertainty related to COVID-19 and for the safety of the Joint Venture Company's field personnel and the surrounding community, the Management Committee of the Joint Venture Company has approved a $2.7 million budget for calendar year 2020 that will serve to care for and maintain the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.  New exploration on the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property will be postponed until conditions permit.  The Company’s share of the calendar year 2020 budget is approximately $1.6 million. 

 

 In June of 2018, the Company retained Petrie Partners, LLC and Cantor Fitzgerald and Co. to advise on its strategic options.  The Company is continuing to work with its advisors to evaluate strategic options while advancing the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property through exploration and baseline data collection for project permitting requirements.   As of June 30, 2020 the Company’s 60% interest in the Joint Venture Company plus cash on hand constitute substantially all of the Company’s assets. The Company has no borrowings.

 

 

 

2. Basis of Presentation

 

The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

 

These consolidated financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, which contemplates the realization of assets and the discharge of liabilities in the normal course of business for the foreseeable future. Since the Company’s primary business is now the investment in and management of the Joint Venture Company, it expects that its ongoing cash requirements will only be related to general and administration expenses and funding cash calls from the Joint Venture Company. The Company's sources of cash have historically been from common stock offerings.  Given this, the Company believes that its current cash balances will be sufficient to meet its working capital requirements for the next twelve months from the date of this report.

 

 

3. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

 

The Company’s significant accounting policies are described below.

 

Management Estimates. The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

 

Cash Equivalents. Cash equivalents are considered to be highly liquid securities having an original maturity of 90 days or less at the date of acquisition.

 

Stock-Based Compensation. The Company applies the fair value method of accounting for stock-based compensation. Under this method, compensation cost is measured at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and is recognized over the award vesting period. The Company classifies the benefits of tax deductions in excess of the compensation cost recognized for the options (excess tax benefit) as financing cash flows.  The fair value of each restricted stock award is equal to the Company’s stock price on the date the award is granted.

 

Income Taxes. The Company follows the liability method of accounting for income taxes under which deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences of (i) temporary differences between the tax basis of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in the consolidated financial statements and (ii) operating loss and tax credit carry-forwards for tax purposes. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, based upon management’s estimates, it is more likely than not that a portion of the deferred tax assets will not be realized in a future period. The Company recognized a full valuation allowance as of June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019 and has not recognized any tax provision or benefit for any of the periods. The Company reviews its tax positions quarterly for tax uncertainties. The Company did not have any uncertain tax positions as of  June 30, 2020 or June 30, 2019.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law on  December 22, 2017, and enacts significant changes to U.S. income tax and related laws. Among other things, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces the top U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35.0% to 21.0%, and makes changes to certain other business-related exclusions, deductions and credits. Further guidance and clarifications continue to be issued regarding the regulations and provisions of the Act. The Company will continue to monitor these new regulations and analyze their applicability and impact on the Company.

 

On March 27, 2020, the United States enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). The CARES Act is an emergency economic stimulus package that includes spending and tax breaks to strengthen the United States economy and fund a nationwide effort to curtail the effect of COVID-19. While the CARES Act provides sweeping tax changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the more significant provisions which are expected to impact the Company’s financial statements include removal of certain limitations on utilization of net operating losses and increasing the loss carryback period for certain losses to five years, as well as amending certain provisions of the previously enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

 

Investment in the Joint Venture Company. The Company’s consolidated financial statements include the investment in Peak Gold, LLC which is accounted for under the equity method. The Company has designated one of the three members of the Management Committee and on  June 30, 2019 held a 60.0% ownership interest in Peak Gold. Royal Gold will initially serve as the Manager of the Joint Venture Company and will manage, direct, and control operations of the Joint Venture Company. The Company recorded its investment at the historical cost of the assets contributed. The cumulative losses of the Joint Venture Company exceed the historical cost of the assets contributed to the Joint Venture Company; therefore the Company’s investment in Peak Gold, LLC as of June 30, 2020 and 2019 is zero. The portion of the cumulative loss that exceeds the Company’s investment will be suspended and recognized against earnings, if any, from the investment in the Joint Venture Company in future periods.

 

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements.  In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board “FASB” issued Accounting Standards Update “ASU” 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which requires recognition of right-of-use assets and lease payment liabilities on the balance sheet by lessees for all leases with terms greater than twelve months.  Classification of leases as either a finance or operating lease will determine the recognition, measurement and presentation of expenses.  ASU 2016-02 also requires certain quantitative and qualitative disclosures about leasing arrangements.  The Joint Venture Company owns the Tetlin Lease and any impact of the new standard related to that lease will be evaluated at the Joint Venture Company level.  The new standard was adopted in July 2019.  Adopting this standard did not have an impact on the Company's financials.

 

In January 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-01, Investments—Equity Securities (Topic 321), Investments— Equity Method and Joint Ventures (Topic 323), and Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815), which clarifies the interaction between the three standards.  For public business entities, the amendments in this update are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and interim periods within those fiscal years.  The Company accounts for the Joint Venture Company under the equity method of accounting.  We do not anticipate that this update will have a material impact on our financial statements.

 

 

The Company has evaluated all other recent accounting pronouncements and believes that none of them will have a significant effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

 

4. Prepaid Expenses and Other

 

The Company had prepaid expenses and other assets of $72,244 and $161,195 as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, related primarily to prepaid management fees and insurance costs.

 

 

5. Loss Per Share

 

A reconciliation of the components of basic and diluted net loss per share of common stock is presented in the tables below:

 

   

Year Ended June 30, 2020

 
   

Loss

   

Weighted

Average

Shares

   

Loss Per

Share

 

Basic and Diluted Loss per Share:

                       

Net loss attributable to common stock

  $ 9,240,041       6,475,795     $ 1.43  

 

   

Year Ended June 30, 2019

 
   

Loss

   

Weighted

Average

Shares

   

Loss Per

Share

 

Basic and Diluted Loss per Share:

                       

Net loss attributable to common stock

  $ 8,355,839       6,282,285     $ 1.33  

 

 

There were 100,000 options and no warrants outstanding as of June 30, 2020.  There were no options or warrants outstanding as of June 30, 2019. The 100,000 options were not included in the computation of diluted earnings per share for the applicable fiscal year, due to being anti-dilutive as a result of the Company’s net loss for all periods presented.

 

 

6. Shareholders’ Equity

 

The Company’s authorized capital stock consists of 30,000,000 shares of common stock and 15,000,000 shares of preferred stock. As of  June 30, 2020, we had 6,557,239 shares of common stock outstanding, including 534,666 shares of unvested restricted stock. No shares of preferred stock have been issued. The remaining restricted stock outstanding will vest between  January 2021 and January 2022.

 

In September 2016, the Company distributed a Private Placement Memorandum to its warrant holders to give them the opportunity to exercise their warrants at a reduced exercise price and receive shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share of the Company by paying the reduced exercise price in cash and surrendering the original warrants.  The offering applied to warrant holders with an exercise price of $10.00 per share originally issued in March 2013. The offering gave the warrant holders the opportunity to exercise the warrants for $9.00 per share. The offer expired on November 15, 2016. In conjunction with the offering, a total of 587,500 warrants were exercised resulting in total cash to the Company of $5.3 million. Of the total warrants exercised, 83,334 were exercised by entities controlled by Mr. Brad Juneau, who was serving as the Company’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at the time of exercise of the warrants. Proceeds from the exercise of the warrants were used for working capital purposes and for funding obligations to the Joint Venture Company.

 

On  October 13, 2017, the Company distributed a Private Placement Memorandum to its warrant holders to give them the opportunity to exercise their warrants at a reduced exercise price and receive shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share of the Company by paying the reduced exercise price in cash and surrendering the original warrants.  The offering applied to warrant holders with an exercise price of $10.00 per share originally issued in  March 2013. The offering gave the warrant holders the opportunity to exercise the warrants for $9.50 per share. The offer expired on  November 10, 2017.  In conjunction with the offering a total of 124,999 warrants were exercised resulting in total cash to the Company of $1.2 million.  Proceeds from the exercise of the warrants have been used for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company.  

 

In connection with the exercise offer, the Company entered into a Registration Rights Agreement dated as of  November 10, 2017, with each investor who exercised warrants in the offering. The Company agreed to file up to two demand registration statements with the SEC at any time after expiration of the offer but before three years after expiration of the offer in order to register the resale of shares of common stock, issued in the offer. In addition, the Registration Rights Agreement granted certain piggyback rights to the investors. 

 

During fiscal year 2018, 580,999 warrants were exercised resulting in the issuance of 404,923 shares of common stock and total cash to the Company of $2.3 million.  All of the outstanding warrants were exercised during fiscal year 2018.  There are no warrants outstanding as of June 30, 2020 and 2019.

 

On October 23, 2017, the Company completed the issuance and sale of an aggregate of 553,672 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of the Company at a purchase price of $19.00 per share of common stock, in a private placement (the “Private Placement”) to certain purchasers (the “Purchasers”) pursuant to a Stock Purchase Agreement dated as of October 23, 2017 (the “Purchase Agreement”), by and among the Company and each Purchaser. The Private Placement resulted in approximately $10.5 million of gross proceeds and approximately $10.0 million of net proceeds. The Company will use the net proceeds from the Private Placement for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company.  Petrie Partners Securities, LLC (“Petrie”) acted as sole placement agent in connection with the Private Placement and received a placement agent fee equal to 6.50%, which was reduced to 3.25% for existing stockholders and other Purchasers referred by those existing stockholders, or a total of $0.5 million in placement agent fees.  Juneau Exploration, L.P., which is controlled by Brad Juneau, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer at the time of the Private Placement, purchased 13,200 shares of common stock in the Private Placement for a price of $250,800 and on the same terms and conditions as all other Purchasers.    

 

The shares sold in the Private Placement were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to Section 4(2) thereof. The bases for the availability of this exemption include the facts that the issuance was a private transaction which did not involve a public offering and the shares were offered and sold to a limited number of purchasers.

 

Pursuant to a Registration Rights Agreement dated as of  October 23, 2017 (the “Registration Rights Agreement”), by and among the Company and the Purchasers, the Company agreed to file up to two demand registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission at any time after one year after the Private Placement but before three years after the Private Placement in order to register the resale of the shares of common Stock.  In addition, the Registration Rights Agreement granted certain piggyback rights to the Purchasers.

 

On September 23, 2020, the Company completed the issuance and sale of 247,172 shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, in a private placement (the “2020 Private Placement”) to certain purchasers who are accredited investors. The shares of the common stock were sold at a price of $13.25 per share, resulting in gross proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.3 million and net proceeds to the Company of approximately $3.2 million. The Company will use the net proceeds from the 2020 Private Placement for working capital purposes and for funding future obligations to the Joint Venture Company.  Petrie Partners Securities, LLC (“Petrie”) acted as the sole placement agent in connection with the 2020 Private Placement and received a placement agent fee equal to 3.25% of the gross proceeds raised from the subscribers whom they solicited, or a total of approximately $0.05 million in placement agent fees.  Petrie has provided to the Company in the past and may provide from time to time in the future certain securities offering, financial advisory, investment banking and other services for which it has received and may continue to receive customary fees and commissions.  The shares sold in the 2020 Private Placement were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) thereof. The bases for the availability of this exemption include the facts that the issuance was a private transaction, which did not involve a public offering and the shares were offered and sold to a limited number of purchasers. The Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, purchased 75,472 of shares of common stock in the 2020 Private Placement, for total consideration of $1.0 million, on the same terms and conditions as all other Purchasers. As a result of Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s purchase, as of September 23, 2020, his ownership interest in the Company is 2.2%. The Audit Committee of the Company has reviewed and approved all agreements and arrangements relating to Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse’s participation in the 2020 Private Placement. See Note 13. - Subsequent Events for information on the 2020 Private Placement

 

 Rights Plan Termination and Rights Agreement

 

On December 19, 2012, the Company adopted a Rights Plan, which was amended on March 21, 2013, September 29, 2014, December 18, 2014,  November 11, 2015, April 22, 2018, and November 20, 2019.  On September 23, 2020, the Company adopted a limited duration stockholder rights agreement (the "Rights Agreement") to replace the Company’s prior stockholder Rights Plan, which has been terminated. The Board adopted an amendment to accelerate the expiration date of its prior stockholder rights agreement to September 23, 2020, such that, at the close of business on September 23, 2020, the purchase rights thereunder expired and the prior stockholder rights agreement was no longer in force and effect.

 

Pursuant to the Rights Agreement, the Board declared a dividend of one preferred stock purchase right (a “Right”) for each share of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of the Company, held of record as of October 5, 2020. The Rights Agreement has a one-year duration, expiring on September 22, 2021.  The Rights will trade with the Company’s common stock and no separate Rights certificates will be issued, unless and until the Rights become exercisable. In general, the Rights will become exercisable only if a person or group acquires beneficial ownership of 18% (or 20% for certain passive investors) or more of the Company’s outstanding common stock or announces a tender or exchange offer that would result in beneficial ownership of 18% (or 20% for certain passive investors) or more of the Company’s common stock. Each Right will entitle the holder to buy one one-thousandth (1/1000) of a share of a series of junior preferred stock at an exercise price of $100.00 per Right, subject to anti-dilution adjustments.

 

 

 

7. Formation of Joint Venture Company

 

On January 8, 2015, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, consummated the Transactions contemplated under the Master Agreement, including the formation of a joint venture to advance exploration and development of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property, for gold ore and associated minerals prospects.

 

In connection with the Closing of the Transactions, the Company formed the Joint Venture Company. The Company contributed to the Joint Venture Company its Peak Gold Joint Venture Property near Tok, Alaska, together with other property with a historical book value of $1.4 million and an agreed fair value of $45.7 million. At the Closing, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, entered into the JV LLCA.

 

As of June 30, 2020, Royal Gold serves as manager of the Joint Venture Company (the “Manager”) and manages, directs, and controls the operations of the Joint Venture Company.

 

As a condition to the Closing, the Company and the Tetlin Tribal Council entered into a Stability Agreement dated October 2, 2014, pursuant to which the Company and the Tetlin Tribal Council, among other things, acknowledged the continued validity of the Tetlin Lease and all its terms notwithstanding any future change in the status of the Tetlin Tribal Council or the property subject to the Tetlin Lease.

 

At Closing, Royal Gold, as an initial contribution to the Joint Venture Company, contributed $5 million (the “Royal Gold Initial Contribution”). The Royal Gold Initial Contribution did not entitle Royal Gold to a percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company. Therefore, at Closing, Royal Gold’s percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company equaled 0% and the Company’s percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company equaled 100%. In addition, as part of the Closing, Royal Gold paid the Company $750,000, which was utilized to partially reimburse the Company for costs and expenses incurred in the Transactions and is included as an expense reimbursement on our consolidated statements of operations.

 

The JV LLCA gave Royal Gold the right, but not the obligation, to earn a percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company (up to a maximum of 40%) by making additional contributions of capital to the Joint Venture Company of up to $30 million (inclusive of the Royal Gold Initial Contribution of $5 million) during the period beginning on the Closing and ending on October 31, 2018.  On April 26, 2018, Royal Gold funded its full $30 million investment and earned a percentage interest of 40% in the Joint Venture Company, with the Company retaining a percentage interest of 60% in the Joint Venture Company. Once Royal Gold earned a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company, the Company and Royal Gold began to contribute funds in proportion to their respective percentage interests in the Joint Venture Company.  From inception through June 30, 2020, Royal Gold has contributed approximately $37.0 million (inclusive of the Royal Gold Initial Contribution of $5 million) and the Company has contributed approximately $10.4 million in cash and $1.4 million in properties to the Joint Venture Company.   The proceeds from the investments are used for additional exploration of the Peak Gold Joint Venture Property.  

 

Pursuant to the terms of the JV LLCA, the members contribute funds to approved programs and budgets in proportion to their respective percentage interests in the Joint Venture Company. If a member elects not to contribute to an approved program and budget or contributes less than its proportionate interest, its percentage interest will be recalculated by dividing (i) the sum of (a) the value of its initial contribution plus (b) the total of all of its capital contributions plus (c) the amount of the capital contribution it elects to fund, by (ii) the sum of (a), (b) and (c) above for both members, and multiplying by 100.  

 

The Company and Royal Gold have the right to transfer their respective percentage interests in the Joint Venture Company to a third party, subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in the JV LLCA. If either member intends to transfer all or part of its percentage interest to a bona fide third-party purchaser, the other member has the right to require the transferring member to include in the intended transfer the other member’s proportionate share of its percentage interests at the same purchase price and terms and conditions. Now that Royal Gold has earned a 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company, it has the additional right to require the Company to sell up to 20% of the interest in the Joint Venture Company in a sale of Royal Gold’s entire 40% interest in the Joint Venture Company.  If Royal Gold exercises this right, the Company will be obligated to sell 20% of the membership interest to a bona fide third-party purchaser on the same terms and conditions as the interest being sold by Royal Gold.

 

On January 18, 2019, CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company and Royal Gold, respectively, entered into an Amendment No. 2 (the “Amendment”) to the JV LLCA to outline rights of the parties in a joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold and make certain other clarifying changes. The Amendment, among other things, (i) defined certain project areas and a resource area in reference to properties owned or controlled by the Joint Venture Company; (ii) allowed CORE Alaska, LLC and Royal Alaska, LLC to agree to sell their respective interests in the Joint Venture Company in respect of fewer than all such project areas in a joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold; (iii) in connection with the joint sale process by the Company and Royal Gold, created (a) a tag right on a transfer by either CORE Alaska, LLC or Royal Alaska, LLC of any portion of its interest in the resource area; and (b) a drag right in a transfer by Royal Alaska, LLC of its entire interest in the resource area and, if the drag right is not exercised as to the resource area in a transfer of that area, then the drag right may be incorporated into the surviving entities that would hold certain other properties owned by the Joint Venture Company that were not transferred. The joint sale process has concluded without entering into a definitive change of control transaction.  As a result, the tag right and drag right created in connection with the joint sale process specifically with respect to the resource area also terminated.

 

 

 

 

The Joint Venture Company is a variable interest entity as defined by FASB ASU No. 2015-02, Consolidation (Topic 810): Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis. The Company is not the primary beneficiary since it does not currently have the power to direct the activities of the Joint Venture Company. The Company’s ownership interest in the Joint Venture Company is therefore accounted under the equity method.

 

 

8. Investment in Peak Gold, LLC

 

The Company recorded its investment at the historical book value of the assets contributed to the Joint Venture Company which was approximately $1.4 million. As of  June 30, 2020, Royal Gold has contributed approximately $37.0 million to the Joint Venture Company, and earned a cumulative interest of approximately 40.0%.  Therefore, as of  June 30, 2020, the Company holds a 60.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company. As of June 30, 2019, the Company also held a 60.0% interest in the Joint Venture Company. The Royal Gold Initial Contribution did not entitle Royal Gold to a percentage interest in the Joint Venture Company.  During fiscal year 2020 and 2019 the Company contributed $3.7 million and $4.1 million, respectively, to the Joint Venture Company.  

 

The following table is a roll-forward of our investment in the Joint Venture Company from January 8, 2015 (inception) to June 30, 2020:

 

   

Investment

 
   

in Peak Gold, LLC

 

Investment balance at June 30, 2014

  $  
Investment in Peak Gold, LLC, at inception January 8, 2015     1,433,886  
Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC     (1,433,886 )

Investment balance at June 30, 2015

  $  

Investment in Peak Gold, LLC

     

Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC

     
Investment balance at June 30, 2016   $  
Investment in Peak Gold, LLC      
Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC      
Investment balance at June 30, 2017   $  
Investment in Peak Gold, LLC     2,580,000  
Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC     (2,580,000 )
Investment balance at June 30, 2018   $  

Investment in Peak Gold, LLC

    4,140,000  

Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC

    (4,140,000 )

Investment balance at June 30, 2019

  $  
Investment in Peak Gold, LLC     3,720,000  
Loss from equity investment in Peak Gold, LLC     (3,720,000 )
Investment balance at June 30, 2020   $  

 

    

 

The following table presents the condensed balance sheet for Peak Gold, LLC as of June 30, 2020 and 2019:

 

    June 30, 2020    

June 30, 2019

 

ASSETS

               

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 492,631     $ 473,056  

Mineral properties

    1,433,886       1,433,886  
Other assets     181,874       57,538  

TOTAL ASSETS

  $ 2,108,391     $ 1,964,480  
                 

LIABILITIES AND MEMBERS’EQUITY

               

Accounts payable and other liabilities

  $ 320,091     $ 927,424  

TOTAL LIABILITIES

    320,091       927,424  
                 

MEMBERS’ EQUITY

    1,788,300       1,037,056  

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND MEMBERS’ EQUITY

  $ 2,108,391     $ 1,964,480  

 

 

The Company’s share of the Joint Venture Company’s results of operations for the year ended  June 30, 2020 was a loss of $3.2 million. The Company’s share in the results of operations for the year ended June 30, 2019 was a loss of $4.5  million.  The Peak Gold, LLC loss does not include any provisions related to income taxes as Peak Gold, LLC is treated as a partnership for income tax purposes. As of  June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019, the Company’s share of the Joint Venture Company’s inception-to-date cumulative loss of $34.7 million and $31.5 million, respectively, exceeds the sum of the historical book value of our initial investment in Peak Gold, LLC, of $1.4 million and our subsequent contributions of $10.4 million. Therefore, the investment in Peak Gold, LLC had a balance of zero as of  June 30, 2020.  The investment also had a balance of zero at  June 30, 2019. The Company is currently not obligated to make additional capital contributions to the Joint Venture Company and therefore only records losses up to the point of its cumulative investment which is $11.8 million. The portion of the cumulative loss that exceeds the Company’s investment will be suspended and recognized against earnings, if any, from the Company’s investment in the Joint Venture Company in future periods. The suspended losses for the period from inception to  June 30, 2020 are $22.9 million. 

 

The following table presents the condensed results of operations for Peak Gold, LLC for the periods ended June 30, 2020 and 2019:

 

    Year Ended    

Year Ended

   

Period from Inception January 8, 2015 to

 
    June 30, 2020    

June 30, 2019

   

June 30, 2020

 
                         

EXPENSES:

                       

Exploration expense

  $ 3,854,894     $ 5,714,169     $ 38,079,318  

General and administrative

    1,593,862       1,807,599       8,980,158  

Total expenses

    5,448,756       7,521,768       47,059,476  

NET LOSS

  $ 5,448,756     $ 7,521,768     $ 47,059,476  

 

 

 

9. Stock Based Compensation

 

On September 15, 2010, the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) adopted the Contango ORE, Inc. Equity Compensation Plan (the “2010 Plan”). On November 14, 2017, the Stockholders of the Company approved and adopted the Contango ORE, Inc. Amended and Restated 2010 Equity Compensation Plan (the “Amended Equity Plan”). The amendments to the 2010 Plan included (a) increasing the number of shares of common stock that the Company may issue under the plan by 500,000 shares; (b) extending the term of the plan until September 15, 2027; and (c) allowing the Company to withhold shares to satisfy the Company’s tax withholding obligations with respect to grants paid in Company Stock.   

 

On November 13, 2019, the Stockholders of the Company approved and adopted the First Amendment (the “Amendment”) to the Contango ORE, Inc. Amended and Restated 2010 Equity Compensation Plan (as amended, the “Equity Plan”) which increases the number of shares of common stock that the Company may issue under the Equity Plan by 500,000 shares.  Under the Equity Plan, the Board may issue up to 2,000,000 shares of common stock and options to officers, directors, employees or consultants of the Company. Awards made under the Equity Plan are subject to such restrictions, terms and conditions, including forfeitures, if any, as may be determined by the Board. As of  June 30, 2020, there were 534,666 shares of unvested restricted common stock outstanding and 100,000 options to purchase shares of common stock outstanding issued under the Equity Plan. Stock-based compensation expense for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 was $3,368,916 and $2,988,331, respectively.  The amount of compensation expense recognized does not reflect cash compensation actually received by the individuals during the current period, but rather represents the amount of expense recognized by the Company in accordance with GAAP. All restricted stock grants are expensed over the applicable vesting period based on the fair value at the date the stock is granted. The grant date fair value may differ from the fair value on the date the individual’s restricted stock actually vests.

 

Under the Equity Plan, options granted must have an exercise price equal to or greater than the market price of the Company’s common stock on the date of grant. The Company may grant key employees both incentive stock options intended to qualify under Section 422 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and stock options that are not qualified as incentive stock options. Stock option grants to non-employees, such as directors and consultants, may only be stock options that are not qualified as incentive stock options. Options generally expire after five years. Upon option exercise, the Company’s policy is to issue new shares to option holders.

 

 

The Company applies the fair value method to account for stock option expense. Under this method, cash flows from the exercise of stock options resulting from tax benefits in excess of recognized cumulative compensation cost (excess tax benefits) are classified as financing cash flows. See Note 3 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies. All employee stock option grants are expensed over the stock option’s vesting period based on the fair value at the date the options are granted. The fair value of each option is estimated as of the date of grant using the Black-Scholes options-pricing model. Expected volatilities are based on the historical weekly volatility of the Company’s stock with a look back period equal to the expected term of the options. The expected dividend yield is zero as the Company has never declared and to does not anticipate declaring dividends on its common stock. The expected term of the options granted represent the period of time that the options are expected to be outstanding. The simplified method is used for estimating the expected term, due to the lack of historical stock option exercise activity. The risk-free interest rate is based on U.S. Treasury bills with a duration equal to or close to the expected term of the options at the time of grant. The total fair value of stock options vested in fiscal year 2020 and 2019 was approximately $0. As of June 30, 2020, the total unrecognized compensation cost related to nonvested stock options was $563,089. As of June 30, 2020 the stock options had a weighted average remaining life of 4.5 years.

 

A summary of the status of stock options granted under the 2010 Plan as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, and changes during the fiscal years then ended, is presented in the table below:

 

   

Year Ended June 30,

 
    2020    

2019

 
               Weighted            

Weighted

 
       Shares        Average    

Shares

   

Average

 
       Under        Exercise    

Under

   

Exercise

 
       Options       Price     

Options

   

Price

 

Outstanding, beginning of year

        $       35,625     $ 10.01  

Granted

    100,000     $ 14.50           $  

Exercised

        $       (35,625 )   $ 10.01  

Forfeited

        $           $  

Cancelled

        $           $  

Outstanding, end of year

    100,000     $ 14.50           $  

Aggregate intrinsic value

  $             $          
                                 

Exercisable, end of year

        $             $  

Aggregate intrinsic value

  $             $          
                                 

Available for grant, end of year

    466,760               199,760          
                                 

Weighted average fair value of options granted during the year (1)

  $ 7.42             $          

 

_______________    

(1) The fair value of each option is estimated as of the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model with the following weighted-average assumptions used for grant during the year ended June 30, 2020 respectively: (i) risk-free interest rate of 1.56 percent (ii) expected life of 3.3 (iii) expected volatility of 74.0 percent and (iv) expected dividend yield of zero percent. There were no options granted during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.  

 

 

Restricted Stock. In November 2010, the Company granted 70,429 restricted shares of common stock to its executives and directors and an additional 23,477 restricted shares to its former technical consultant, the owner of Avalon. In December 2013, the Company’s directors, executives and technical consultant were granted an aggregate of 95,000 shares of restricted stock. All of the restricted stock from both of those grants are fully vested. In November 2014, the Company granted 27,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives. In January 2015, the Company granted an aggregate of 30,000 restricted shares of common stock to two of its non-executive directors. In addition, the Company granted 10,000 restricted shares of common stock to a former technical consultant. In September 2015, the Company granted 85,000 shares to its executives, and in December 2015 the Company granted 40,000 shares to its non-executive directors.   In August 2016, the Company granted 100,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives. In  November 2016, the Company granted 75,000 restricted shares of common stock to its non-executive directors.  In November 2017, the Company granted 155,000 restricted shares to its executives and non-executive directors, and in  November 2018the Company granted 155,000 restricted shares of common stock to its executives and non-executive directors.  In December 2018, the Company cancelled 117,332 shares of unvested restricted stock held by two of its executives and the non-executive directors that were set to vest on January 1, 2019.  In December 2018, the Company also granted 146,666 restricted shares of common stock to two of its executives and non-executive directors. In November 2019, the Company also granted 158,000 restricted shares of common stock to two of its executives and non-executive directors.  In January 2020, the Company granted 75,000 restricted shares of common stock to its newly appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.

 

As of June 30, 2020, there were 534,666 shares of such restricted stock that remained unvested.  All restricted stock grants are expensed over the applicable vesting period based on the fair value at the date the stock is granted.  The grant date fair value may differ from the fair value on the date the individual’s restricted stock actually vests.

 

A summary of the Company’s restricted stock as of June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019 and the change during the years then ended, is as follows:  

 

   

Number of

Shares

   

Weighted Average

Fair Value

Per Share

 

Nonvested balance at June 30, 2018

    298,998     $ 19.12  

Granted

    301,666     $ 17.74  

Vested

    (26,666

)

  $ 4.75  

Forfeited

    (117,332 )   $ 18.09  

Nonvested balance at June 30, 2019

    456,666     $ 18.34  

Granted

    233,000     $ 14.81  

Vested

    (155,000

)

  $ 19.50  

Forfeited/Cancelled

          $    

Nonvested balance at June 30, 2020

    534,666     $ 16.47  

 

 

As of June 30, 2020, the total compensation cost related to nonvested restricted share awards not yet recognized was $3,274,205. The remaining costs are expected to be recognized over the remaining vesting period of the awards.  

 

 

 

10. Commitments and Contingencies

 

Tetlin Lease. The Tetlin Lease had an initial ten year term beginning July 2008 which was extended for an additional ten years to July 15, 2028, and for so long thereafter as the Joint Venture Company initiates and continues to conduct mining operations on the Tetlin Lease.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the Tetlin Lease, the Joint Venture Company was required to spend $350,000 per year until July 15, 2018 in exploration costs. The Company’s exploration expenditures through the 2011 exploration program have satisfied this requirement because exploration funds spent in any year in excess of $350,000 are credited toward future years’ exploration cost requirements. Additionally, should the Joint Venture Company derive revenues from the properties covered under the Tetlin Lease, the Joint Venture Company is required to pay the Tetlin Tribal Council a production royalty ranging from 2.0% to 5.0%, depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. As of June 30, 2020, the Company had paid the Tetlin Tribal Council $225,000 in exchange for reducing the production royalty payable to them by 0.75%. These payments lowered the production royalty to a range of 1.25% to 4.25%. On or before July 15, 2020, the Tetlin Tribal Council had the option to increase their production royalty by (i) 0.25% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $150,000, (ii) 0.50% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $300,000, or (iii) 0.75% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $450,000. The Management Committee of the Joint Venture Company extended the Tetlin Tribal Council’s option until November 15, 2020. Until such time as production royalties begin, the Joint Venture Company must pay the Tetlin Tribal Council an advance minimum royalty of $50,000 per year. On July 15, 2012, the advance minimum royalty increased to $75,000 per year, and subsequent years are escalated by an inflation adjustment.

 

Mineral Exploration. The Joint Venture Company’s Triple Z, Tok/Tetlin, Eagle, Bush, West Fork, and Noah claims are all located on state of Alaska lands. The annual claim rentals on these projects vary based on the age of the claims, and are due and payable in full by November 30 of each year. Annual claims rentals for the 2019-2020 assessment year totaled $323,248. The Joint Venture Company has met the annual labor requirements for the state of Alaska acreage for the next four years, which is the maximum time allowable by Alaska law.