Vista Gold dates back to November 1983 under the name Granges Exploration Ltd. Granges underwent a number of name changes in the late 1980s and on May 1, 1995, amalgamated with Hycroft Resources and Development Corporation under the name Granges Inc. Effective November 1, 1996, Granges amalgamated with Da Capo Resources under the name Vista Gold Corp.
In 2002, we acquired the Los Cardones gold project (then known as the Paredones Amarillos project) from Viceroy Resource Corporation. In October 2008, we completed a feasibility study on the Los Cardones gold project and proceeded with permitting for an 11,000 tonne per day operation.
In January 2003, we entered into an option agreement to acquire the Long Valley gold project in California from Standard Industrial Minerals, Inc. In 2007, we exercised our option to purchase the property.
In August 2003, Vista executed an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the Guadalupe de los Reyes gold/silver project. We consolidated the Guadalupe district in December 2007 when we acquired Grandcru Resource Corporation's interest in two gold/silver mineral properties adjacent to our Guadalupe project. The area has been subject to significant historic mining and produced approximately 600,000 ozs gold and over 40 million ozs silver historically.
In April 2005, we completed the acquisition of the Awak Mas gold project in Sulawesi, Indonesia by acquiring Salu Siwa, an Australian company.
In March 2006, Vista entered into a series of agreements to acquire rights to the Mt Todd gold project in Northern Territory, Australia. Vista has completed a series of drill programs at Mt Todd which have progressively increased the gold resource and in May 2013 we announced the completion of a positive preliminary feasibility study on the project.
In September 2006, Vista entered into an arrangement and merger with Allied Nevada Gold Corp. ("Allied"), pursuant to which our Nevada-based mining properties were transferred to Allied. Completion of the transaction occurred in 2007. Allied was listed on the TSX and AMEX in May 2007. Over 65% of the IPO value was issued to Vista shareholders as a dividend. For each share of Vista owned prior to the transaction, received 0.794 of an Allied share.
In December 2009, we announced a Joint Venture with One Asia Resources Ltd. ("One Asia"), a privately held resource development company, with respect to the Awak Mas gold project. One Asia could earn a 60% interest by developing the project, completing a feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment, and issuing Vista shares. In June 2011, we entered into a further option agreement with One Asia allowing them to increase their earn-in to an 80% interest in the project.
In April 2011, Vista and Midas Gold Corp. ("Midas") completed a transaction to combine Midas' Hangar Flats and West End deposits with Vista's Yellow Pine deposit in Idaho to form the Stibnite Gold Project (originally called the Golden Meadows project) under the direction and management of Midas. Vista originally held 31,802,615 Midas shares, but after selling 16,000,000 shares in February 2014 and another 8,000,000 shares in March 2015, Vista’s ownership now totals 7,802,615 shares.
In February 2012, we entered into an Earn-in Agreement with the Invecture Group ("Invecture") (a Mexico-based privately held company) that would allow Invecture to earn a 62.5% interest in the Los Cardones project by completing permitting, among other items, and paying Vista $20 million. In October 2013, we terminated the Earn-in Agreement and sold the project to Invecture for US$10 million with US$7 million paid in October 2013 and US$3 million paid in January 2015.
In December 2013, we converted our 20% interest in the Awak Mas gold project in Sulawesi, Indonesia, into a net smelter return royalty on the project. Vista will receive 2% on the first 1.25 million ounces of gold production and 2.5% on the next 1.25 million ounces of gold production from the Awak Mas project.
In April 2014, Vista granted Great Panther Silver Limited (formerly Cangold Limited) (“Great Panther”) an option agreement to earn a 70% interest in the Guadalupe de los Reyes gold project in Sinaloa, Mexico. Great Panther has made option payments totaling US$1.0 million to-date. Option payments totaling US$4.0 million are due as follows: US$1.5 million in January 2016 and US$2.5 million in January 2017.
In May 2013, we announced the results of a Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) that evaluated a 50,000 tpd base case (0.40 g au/tonne cut-off grade and $1360 gold price for ultimate pit design) and a 33,000 tpd alternate case (0.45 g Au/tonne cut-off grade and $925 gold price for the ultimate pit design). Since the completion of this study the gold price has declined and the foreign exchange rate has improved in a significantly favorable manner. In September 2014, we announced the successful completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review and approval process. The EIS was based on the base case PFS scenario and contemplates the maximum proposed impact footprint.
In February 2016, Great Panther Silver Limited terminated its option agreement on Vista’s non-core Guadalupe de los Reyes project. The project has been returned to Vista.