Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB) CEO Mario Stifano on a Very Robust Initial Resource, Robert Friedland's Involvement, and the Potential Massive Upside Ahead
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Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is President and CEO of Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB)(OTC: CDBMF), Mr. Mario Stifano. Mario thank you for joining me this afternoon.
Mario Stifano: Thank you for inviting me.
Gerardo Del Real: I wanted to have you on because you had some exciting news this morning. You and your joint venture partner, High Power Exploration, HPX, which is a private mineral exploration company which is indirectly controlled by mining legend Robert Friedland, announced an initial resource estimate for the Alacran copper-gold deposit in Colombia. And it is an initial resource estimate, I want to stress that, but it's pretty robust and it's pretty exciting news so let me just read the headline really quick.
The initial, pit-constrained, Inferred Mineral Resource for the Alacran Deposit is 53.52 million tonnes at .70% copper and .37 grams per tonne gold, or .95% copper equivalent including 7.37 million tonnes at 2.14% copper and .41 grams per tonne gold above 1% copper cutoff.
What can you share with us, Mario, about the estimate and the direction here from here on out?
Mario Stifano: I think the headline you just read speaks volumes in itself. You look at the grade of what we're starting to see here at Alacran. Most copper mines are .5% copper equivalent. We're double that grade, effectively. We're at .95% copper equivalent. For those that really can't think in copper and they sort of try to think of deposits in gold, we're already at two and a half million ounces of gold equivalent at 1.41 grams. That's a pretty special deposit. As you pointed out, this is just the beginning. Really, what we included in this mineral resource is our first 22 holes of drilling plus the historical holes that have been drilled in this deposit, but there's just so much additional upside here at depth. This resource only goes down to 220 meters and we've drilled holes deeper than that that we didn't include in the resource because there's not enough drilling. There's even holes within the pit-constrained resource that there's just too sparse of drilling. Again, we only drill 22 meters ourselves. With additional drilling, we can convert that to resources. Alacran deposit at 53.5 million tonnes is just the beginning. We really think this is going to get a lot bigger.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. The other thing that I want to stress, Mario, that I find really fascinating about the deposit is this thing starts at surface and you're actually at sea level. Is that correct?
Mario Stifano: That is correct. When you're really looking for a open-pit deposit, topography is critical. A lot of the deposits where you get some of these big deposits at 0.5%, even though they might be a billion tonnes, they're really not economic because the amount of money you need to spend on infrastructure to basically build a mine up in the mountains, get your concentrate down the mountains, get your employees there, just makes mining much more difficult. We are in the best location in Colombia, and in some respects Latin America. We're at sea level. Right next door to us are two operating open pit mines, Cerro Matoso the world's third largest nickel mine, and there's two open put coal mines right next door to us as well owned by a big conglomerate. The ability to basically mine at sea level with all the infrastructure you need, we're 10 kilometers away from the power grid. From our perspective, we think you're basically going to save 60% of your capex in building a mine because you don't have to build all that infrastructure. It's right there. This is an ideal location for an open pit mine.
Because it starts at surface and right from surface. So not only does it start from surface, it also daylights at surface. We've got an ideal depth to this deposit. We think as this deposit continues to grow and the strip ratio here is going to be world class strip ratios, we expect really, really low strip ratios at our deposit.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. What I was about to touch on is this is a very large land package. I will continue here on Alacran because it's a fascinating deposit, but I want to just provide a little bit of scale and context. Can you talk a little bit about the size of the land package? Because there's a potential here to have district scale copper gold deposits throughout, not just Alacran.
Mario Stifano: Oh, 100%. The reason why Robert Friedland, you point out he's a mining legend and he's found multiple tier one world class assets, the reason why we had so much interest in our land package of what we call San Matias is 20,000 hectares is that we have numerous showings of porphyrys, we have quite a few artisanal mines as we move further south. We've actually drilled two porphyrys, one is called Costa Azul, the other one is called Montiel, for example Montiel we drilled 100 meters at 1.01% copper and 0.65 grams gold. There is just so much grade here, so much potential, that we had Robert Friedland coming into the district, but even before Robert Friedland, we decided to move forward with Robert, but we had almost all the other major companies spend time in our district and had significant interest in doing a joint venture with us.
Even at Alacran we're continuing, and we will continue to drill out Alacran, but we see potential at Alacran for other deposits. Alacran is a replacement system or a skarn. We're still trying to understand what Alacran is. This is very important. The biggest deposits in the world are the most complex deposits. The more complex of a system you have the higher likelihood you have of a world class asset. We're seeing a lot of complexity here, but even at Alacran we think the source of Alacran is nearby. We think it's a porphyry, and we're just going to have to spend our time trying to find that porphyry. But once we find that porphyry at Alacran, then all the other porphyrys we have in the district, the lights are off on Cordoba, that's why everybody's into this. This is why Robert Friedland spent $20 million already drilling and investing in our project to date.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. You mentioned targeting that mineralizing source for the high grade copper at gold at Alacran. The resource estimate, the cutoff for it if I understand it correctly was the end of October, October the 27th. Have you been drilling since then?
Mario Stifano: Oh, yes, for sure. We basically have the first 22 holes that Cordoba has drilled into the resources. We're now up to hole 40. You can imagine there's a lot more holes that have to be included in the resource, and we expect to have some drill results coming out hopefully within the next month or so. We'll have some drill results out in January, and you'll see a nice steady stream of drill results coming out from Cordoba.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. You're in phase three of that agreement with the partnership with HPX, and so my understanding there is that you're carried the feasibility in exchange for the 65% interest, and that comes with an unlimited spend by Robert Friedland and HPX. Is that correct?
Mario Stifano: Correct. That's the great part from an investor perspective in Cordoba. Not only are you partnering with the mining legend Robert Friedland, but the mining legend, HPX and Robert Friedland, are the ones spending the money. From Cordoba's perspective, we've got the option on finding the big world-class tier one porphyry which we believe is on our district and we think there's potential, actually, for a couple of tier one porphyrys here, but Cordoba, from a shareholder perspective, is not going to get diluted because we have a 35% interest in the project once feasibility has been reached, but we don't have to spend a dime in Colombia. It's all being spent by Robert Friedland and HPX. From a shareholder perspective, the only thing we have to fund is the corporate cost, and we have a very low burn rate to run the public company.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, excellent. I mentioned the district scale potential of the property, and you actually have three parallel 13 kilometer North to South trending structures on the property. Is there going to be a focus on exploration outside of Alacran here in the near term?
Mario Stifano: Oh, 100%. The reason why Robert and HPX came into this was to look for the tier one porphyrys here. Every mining company would die to have an Alacran. What makes Cordoba special is the sense that we have a start to a great deposit, but we are going to continue looking for that tier one porphyrys because it's here. It is in our district. Our intention is to continue drilling out Alacran, but at the same time we're going to continue drilling other targets. We see potential of a porphyry at Montiel where we had that drill hole I mentioned earlier. We have a three kilometer porphyry trend that starts at the Costa Azul porphyry and ends at what we believe is a outcropping gossan where when we sampled it we got 4% copper plus gold plus uranium and light rare earths. We will spend money in 2017 drilling Alacran and drilling all these other targets.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful. Well, I can understand the interest that you've had from some very, very well known institutional shareholders. Sprott's a large shareholder, HPX obviously is a large shareholder. What can we expect, Mario, here the rest of 2017 from Cordoba?
Mario Stifano: I think from an investor perspective, you've got to hold onto your seats here because we're going to continue to grow Alacran and at the same time we think we're going to have potential here in 2017 to have a new discovery in our district because there's just so much going on here, so much intensity of mineralization, and because we've got one of the best mine finders in the game in Robert Friedland we see the real potential here to find some additional discoveries at San Matias project. Just hold onto your seats because patience here is going to be important. Everyone who's familiar with porphyry hunting knows that it takes a bit of time but when you find it, all bets are off.
You look at a lot of Robert Friedland's prior investments. Robert was telling me over dinner once that actually every company he's been involved with at some point in their cycle hit $9 a share. We're still at 70 cents. Oyu Tolgoi and Ivanhoe, when they discovered Oyu Tolgoi, it went from nothing to peaked a $29 billion market cap. That's what happens to a company when you find these kind of world class porphyrys. It goes from nothing to multiple billion dollar market cap. And from Cordoba's perspective and our investor perspective we already have a fantastic discovery at Alacran. Now you get the upside of Alacran growing and you get the free option on finding the big porphyry because we know it's there and we will find it.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Are there plans for an updated resource estimate?
Mario Stifano: As we mentioned earlier, this is just an initial start to our resources. We wanted to show the market the kind of grade and the real potential that Alacran presents to investors, but we have some additional holes that will have to be included into a resource. We think sometime in the second quarter we'll come up with an updated resource and we're pretty confident that we'll be able to grow that resource from the current one you see now at 53.5 million tonnes.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Mario, thank you so much for your time today. I look forward to visiting the project here soon, and again congratulations on what's an initial estimate but a pretty robust one.
Mario Stifano: We look forward to you coming to site. I think you will love it.
Gerardo Del Real: Appreciate it, Mario. Thank you for your time.
Mario Stifano: Thank you. Have a great day.
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