River Valley remains hotspot.
After finishing diamond drilling of 138 holes, PEN is entering a fifth phase of exploration intending to drill 20,000 additional metres, with financing from its partner Anglo American Platinum Corp.
The company is working the north end of the River Valley intrusion at Dana Lake and Lismer's Ridge in an area believed to yield almost 593,000 in platinum palladium, according to an independent analyst.
"We're following a contact based on surface sampling in following a trail for about 10 kilometres," says Shane Starnes, manager of PFN's investor relations, in a phone interview from Vancouver.
"To date we've only drilled about a kilometre of that, so there's lots of work left to do," Starnes says. "There's a lot of really good surface targets that we've picked surface material off of."
The samples average about 1.46 grams of platinum-palladium per tonne, says Starnes, "so we're all really confident we've come up with something serious, and Anglo's (sharing) our Sentiment."
PFN is the operator of the project, with JB Exploration and Development carrying out the field program.
One drill rig was expected to begin operation in November, with two more rigs to be moved into place by the beginning of the year, and possibly a third in 2002.
Anglo is equally bullish about PFN's Agnew Lake property 50 kilometres to the west of the River Valley property, approving an exploration budget there of $1.89 million. Some surface sampling is ongoing with some drilling likely to carried out by year's end.
"We feel confident the property can be brought into production," says Starnes. And the fact that Anglo, the world's largest platinum producer, rarely finances any ventures outside of South Africa and has struck two deals with PFN "says something."
"If they're confident, then we're confident," Starnes says.
PFN first made a discovery about two years ago on the 12,000-acre River Valley property after drilling 13 exploratory holes and hitting platinum-palladium in all of them. "It was one of those freak things; no one does that," Starnes says.
"The stock went from 40 cents to four bucks; it was just mental."
Prospects have looked so good in the last couple of years, Anglo intensified its River Valley exploration efforts by expanding its overall budget from $4 million over five years to $6.7 million over three years.
The next area for drilling, more to the south, involves about eight, other "goodsized" targets where geologists have found up to eight grams of palladium in some surface rock.
"There are some serious targets there that have to be drilled," says Starnes. "That's why we have such a big budget because the indicator minerals on the surface are staggering."
The entire exploration project is being funded by Anglo, which has a 50 per cent interest in River Valley.