Almaden Minerals (TSX: AMM) CEO Morgan Poliquin on Hitting 8.50m of 2.56 g/t Gold and 357.0 g/t Silver Inside and Outside the PEA Pit
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is President and CEO of Almaden Minerals (TSX: AMM)(NYSE: AAU), Dr. Morgan Poliquin. Morgan, thank you for joining me this afternoon.
Morgan Poliquin: Thanks for having me on again. It's a pleasure.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, it feels like deja vu. Another news release and another set of great results. This time the headline reads, "Almaden drills further new high grade mineralization within an outside amended PEA pit, hits 30.35 meters of 1.92 grams per tonne gold, 62.1 grams per tonne silver," and then you also hit 8.5 meters of 2.56 grams per tonne gold, and 357 grams per tonne silver. Impressive numbers, Morgan. Can you share the details?
Morgan Poliquin: Absolutely. We're obviously drilling adjacent to, as we point out, within the amended PEA pit and just outside of it, so we're drilling adjacent to the well-known resource. But what we started on in August is tackling some gaps in our drilling and we've continued to have some success with that. We think we're defining some areas that were really poorly understood, but yet are right next to where we have our resource and the PEA that we released on it, so it's pretty exciting to be fleshing out potentially very meaningful mineralization in terms of its proximity to the resource and ability to impact the PEA. I think it speaks to the broader context here, is this is a large property. It was a brand new discovery in 2010 and there is scope to find a lot more, so obviously when you can find a lot more adjacent to what you already know, all the better, but next year we hope to continue this program and also start to look at areas of the property that have never been drilled.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the news release was a quote from your father, Mr. Duane Poliquin, who said that, “Because we are at the top of a fully-preserved epithermal system, future exploration drilling will also test for feeder veins beneath the Ixtaca sheeted vein zone.” Can you expand on that a little bit and just kind of share with us the approach there and what the hypothesis is as far as what could be there?
Morgan Poliquin: Yeah, I mean, obviously, we've got 490 holes or so into this deposit, so we have a really good framework for understanding geologically what's going on, but it was discovered really based on a concept and that was that the clay alteration, which is completely barren, that is exposed at surface at Ixtaca, was the top of an epithermal system, so these are basically like hot springs at Yellowstone or the geysers in California, and what happens is that the hot fluids come up a crack, and at surface they affect the rock. We call it alteration and change it to clay very often. And the cracks that the hot fluids come up become veins, and in those cracks gold can be deposited, but that happens beneath the surficial expression that clay adulteration at surface. So that was the hypothesis and of course, the first hole hit in August of 2010. We announced that and it was really a one hole program to test that hypothesis and we got very lucky, and hit the main Ixtaca zone with that hole.
What we've done subsequently is we've focused on defining a resource around that initial discovery and we've found several other zones, and we're continuing to find zones as we were demonstrating with this drilling. But we feel that the entire concept is yet to be explored. There's the certainly the possibility of additional mineralization and perhaps even the main master cracks. We call them veins, or faults, or feeder zones that these fluids came up. We don't think we've fully explored that at depth. We don't think we've explored it along strike. I think the way to think about the exploration program since the discovery in 2010 is it's been one of the worst gold markets we've seen in decades and we've been very focused on resource drilling, on derisking the discovery that we made, and increasing the confidence of the resource. So some of the broader exploration ideas have yet to be completely followed up and we're really excited to be doing that now that we have advanced the engineering on the deposit we have defined. We're able to get back to exploration now.
Gerardo Del Real: That's exciting. 2017, Morgan, I know we have the prefeasibility study that we're all anticipating. What can we expect in terms of drilling and progress there at Ixtaca, both on the prefeasibility side and just how much drilling you anticipate?
Morgan Poliquin: Yeah, the focus in the next couple of months is obviously on the prefeasibility study. We're expecting that here shortly and that will be a very advanced technical stage for the project. It's a very derisked stage to be in technically and from there the plan is to initiate a feasibility study, which will be less a technical step and more of a financial step. So we would like to continue with the exploration at the same time. It's been a very difficult couple of months here and so we have to remain focused, but the objective is to continue to demonstrate the exploration upside of the project and to have our discovery focus drilling continue right alongside the engineering studies that are ongoing. We also expect to be initiating permitting next year, so it'll be a very busy year for us.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic and just one last reminder. As far as the cash position goes, how does that look, Morgan?
Morgan Poliquin: Yeah, the last quarter we reported $12.5 million and of course we're spending some on our engineering studies, but we're in good shape to do all the above that I mentioned.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, Morgan, thank you so much for coming on. I hope you have a merry, merry Christmas, a great holiday, a great new year, and I look forward to having you back on here after the new year.
Morgan Poliquin: Thank you ever so much. I wish you and yours the same, and all your listeners a very happy Christmas and a great 2017.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much, Morgan.