The Annual Report cover represents a multi-faceted map of the central underground workings of our mine in Alleghany. The base map shows our emergency escape route. Other than training drills, the miners have never had the need to utilize this or any escape route in the history of the mine; nevertheless, the federal regulatory agency MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) created an issue about emergency egress that crippled our Company in 1999. We suffered serious financial and production losses due to the agency's willful and negligent behavior. Restrictions were lifted on January 17, 2000, and our miners were able to return to productive labor.
The back cover contains a legend with four circles marked A, B, C, and D. Familiarize yourself with these four mining targets. This will be useful as you follow the underground activities over the next six months. Target A is the hottest with immediate gold potential from a footwall vein known to contain gold on the 1500 level. Back in 199? We referred to this area as the Wild Card. Over 500 ounces of gold were recovered from a small underhand stope, a most difficult method of mining. Instead of fighting gravity, we decided to approach the gold concentration from below by driving a raise from the 1700 level to the 1500 level. This work was completed in March. Now we are crosscutting to intersect the pocket.
TARGETS B cover four locations. No one has visited the 2700level or 3000 level for over fifty years because it has been under water. Pumping will enable our miners and metal detectors to gain access and work in the freshly exposed veins. There are no production records for the 3000 level; however there is stoping above the 2700 level and reports of high-grade gold production. The crew is anxious to install the utilities, ladders and pumps to de-water the deepest levels of the Sixteen to One.
TARGET C is to the north (right) of the Tightner Shaft on the 1300 level. William P. Fuller, Jr., the Company geologist during the 1950's and 1960's and a director from 1987 - 1990 marked this gold prospect for future mining. The presence of gold and the production records in the region captured our attention. While this is not a primary target at this time, we will improve our access and evaluation of this virgin quartz vein.
TARGETS D cover four locations. We could double the number of D locations, which is a positive sign. Since 1992, the Company has reported the benefits of improved gold detecting technology. We are verifying the accuracy of these opinions as technology allows the ever increasing deeper window. With over 27 miles of exposed quartz to scan, small block mining will be conducted for many years, especially as breakthroughs in depth penetration occur. The first quarter of 2000 was profitable because of the depth and reliability of a new detector in areas previously examined just like those marked D.
Writing this year's president's message could have been an easy task…just reprint the May 18, 1999 letter in last year's report. So much of last year's letter remains true today. Instead, I choose to tell you what we plan to do with our mine in the coming months.
I am pleased with our small and efficient crew. I am also pleased with the condition of our underground workings (the mine failed to fill-up with water and is in better shape than one year ago). I am pleased with the solid targets for gold production available for exploration. I regret the continued sorry condition of the spot price of gold and the low value of our stock shares. We have overcome the low price by increasing the interest in and price of our quartz laced with gold. The low value of our stock is something you can address. Take advantage of the low price and increase your ownership. We can promote ownership of our Company to encourage attention, but with limited cash resources, the mine is our first and foremost priority and finding gold is our main objective.
Michael M. Miller