Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB) President & CEO Mario Stifano Describes the Company's High Grade Gold-Copper Project in Colombia
Gerardo Del Real: This Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is president and CEO of Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB), Mario Stifano. Mario was instrumental in acquiring and consolidating the flagship San Matias Copper Gold Project in Colombia. Maria has over 15 years of mining experience and has raised over $700,000,000 to explore and build gold and base metal mines.
Mario, thank you so much for joining me today.
Mario Stifano: Thanks, Gerardo, thanks for inviting me.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. I provided a brief overview there, but for those that aren't familiar with you and the Cordoba Mineral story, can you share a little background about how you got involved with the company?
Mario Stifano: Thanks. This is a fairly new project. We went public in 2014. As they say, it takes a lot of work to create great projects. In 2012, we found an outcrop in our area on the northern part of Colombia. It was quite obvious to us that this area was highly prospective for copper-gold. The area was fragmented with two other companies operating the area. My focus in 2012 was to try and consolidate this ground and create a district for copper-gold exploration. Took me almost two years to get this deal done and consolidated.
In 2014, we were able to consolidate the whole ground and take Cordoba public, or the new Cordoba public. In addition to that, there was always one little piece of ground that we didn't own, that we always wanted, but we wanted to make sure that no one else was able to step in. When the opportunity came to acquire this deposit, which we call Alacran, which is "the donut hole," again, it was a little bit of a headache to try and get this particular asset because the two owners and the prior JV partner were feuding with threats of lawsuit.
We stepped in to mediate and negotiate a deal in October of 2015. We acquired the Alacran deposit and we're currently drilling the Alacran deposit, as well as the other prospective areas on our ground.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. You have a very successful joint venture partner in HPX, which is a company that's indirectly controlled by a mining entrepreneur that everyone's familiar with, Robert Friedland. That allows HPX to earn up to 65% in the project by funding the project and completing a feasibility study. The San Matias copper gold-project is a district scale project, which obviously has the potential for multiple discoveries. Can you share with us how you are able to catch the attention of one of the most successful mining entrepreneurs ever?
Mario Stifano: Look, I'm Italian and I believe in fate. I think it was fate that brought me to Robert Friedland. A little bit of background on how Robert and I met. I was at the BMO conference, and at the end of the day when you finish your one on one meetings, you walk to the elevator to go up to your room and prepare for the evening events. Always at the end of the day, it's jammed packed, these elevators, everyone's rushing to get up to their room. This particular day, I ended up going on a different floor, I think I was looking for some food. If I decided to go on the regular route, I'm sure I would've missed Robert.
I pressed the elevator to go up and the doors opened, and I walk in the elevator. In the corner is Robert Friedland, just Robert Friedland. As I said, normally these elevators are jam packed. I introduced myself to Robert and I said how much I love listening to his speeches because he did a fantastic afternoon presentation for the attendees at the BMO conference. For the rest of the elevator ride, I told him why I thought our San Matias project was the best copper gold exploration project bar none, and how it resembled his Oyu Tolgoi discovery in Mongolia, which most people know is one of the largest copper gold discoveries ever.
In the ensuring year, Robert Friedland and I negotiated what I think is one of the best joint venture agreements ever negotiated. I bought in what I feel is the best exploration that's out there bar none.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Drilling has been ongoing over the summer and you've already released some pretty impressive results. Where is the focus right now? You mentioned Alacran earlier.
Mario Stifano: Alacran is a fantastic deposit. When we acquired Alacran in October of 2015, we felt at the time it was a great deposit. What we've been doing over the last, I say since January when we've been drilling deposit, we've been able to identify Alacran as not only a 1.3 kilometer strike, which again, is a pretty strong mineralized trend, we've now been able to extend Alacran 250 meters in lateral width in the norther part, and we think it's still open to the east and to the west. It's open on strike and it's open at depth.
Alacran, very quickly, is turning out to be potentially a very large copper gold skarn system. We're drilling currently 10,000 meters at Alacran. We're in the middle of this drill program. We expect to have drill results continue to flow for the rest of the year, so there will be lots of catalysts for investors to sink their teeth into.
In addition to Alacran, we also had this large land package at San Matias, which you've alluded to. In the early days, our initial discovery hole was actually a porphyry, that we call Montiel, where we drilled 101 meters at 1% copper and .65% gold. We're now following up on that drilling with another 10,000 meters. In total, we have more drills turning at site. This is quite a bit of drills turning for a junior exploration company, but from an investor perspective, our shareholders don't have to pay for that. All the aggressive exploration is being funded by Robert Friedland and his private company, High Powered Exploration, or HPX.
Gerardo Del Real: That's fantastic. I understand you're working towards an initial resource estimate. When can we expect that?
Mario Stifano: Yeah. For Alacran, that's where we're going to issue our first resource. There is a historical resource there, 37,000,000 tonnes at .62 copper and .4 grams gold, which is a very high grade deposit. It's a great start to a potential resource. As you know, most copper mines in the world are 0.5% copper-equivalent and we're well above that in just the copper grade, plus we have the gold credits.
In terms of timing for that resource, we're anticipating sometime in October. We're going to incorporate some additional holes that we recently drilled at Alacran into the resource, specifically now that we've been able to extend the lateral width by 250 meters. You can just run the math. You got 1.3 kilometers in strike and to date, 250 meters of lateral width. This has turned out to be a fairly sizable deposit. We want to ensure that the market understands what we're starting to find here at the Alacran.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. Can you tell us a little bit about the jurisdiction and the infrastructure near the project? I think that's important.
Mario Stifano: That's a great question. When you look at building a mine, infrastructure, the community, is absolutely critical. Obviously you have to have a fantastic deposit, which I think we have, but the infrastructure plays just as an important role. Right next to us, 20 kilometers away, is Cerro Matoso, which is the world's third largest nickel mine. It's open pit, it's owned currently by South32, or formally BHP. They've been operating there for 30 years and have another 30 years of reserves. It sort of gives you an idea of the geological potential in our area.
10 kilometers to the north of us are two open pit coal mines. It's currently being operated by a conglomerate in Colombia and was previously owned by Vale, another worldwide well known mining company.
The funny story about the infrastructure is these two international mining companies had no idea that there was copper gold in this district. I met with both of them and they told us in all the years that they were here, they had no inkling that there was potential for any copper gold in this district.
Gerardo Del Real: Interesting. Mario, you obviously have a very large and very prospective land package. You have an excellent partner funding aggressive drilling all the way through feasibility, and you're in the middle of what sounds like a very exciting drill program. Is there anything you'd like to add?
Mario Stifano: Look, I think from an investor perspective, what makes a company successful is obviously the resource and the exploration package that you have, but it's also the team that goes behind it. If you look at our team from the management side, I have Chris Grainger who's our vice president of exploration. He's an Australian but spent a good chunk of his career in Colombia, including helping find Buriticá, which is a great project by Continental Gold. We also added Charlie Forster to our team. He is the former senior vice president of exploration for Ivanhoe. He led the exploration team in discovering Oyu Tolgoi. He is now a special advisor to our team.
When you look into our board, I think we have a tier one board that any operating company or large international company would love to have. We have Peter Meredith, who's our chairman. He is the former deputy chairman of Turquoise Hill, which is the old Oyu Tolgoi/Ivanhoe. We also have Eric Finlayson, who's on our board. Eric ran the whole exploration team at Rio Tinto for five years. He led the whole Rio Tinto exploration team. In addition to that, we have David Reading, who was the former CEO of the European Goldfields that got picked up and purchased by El Dorado. David's credited for finding a lot of Rangold's exploration assets.
If you look at our team, you have a tier one management team and a tier one board that could really help drive this company forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Mario, you have four drills turning. I'm anticipating a lot of news flow and hopefully I'm looking forward to having you back on soon.
Mario Stifano: Thank you. Thank you, Gerardo. Thanks again for inviting me.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much for your time, Mario.
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