Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB) CEO Mario Stifano on Expanding the Resource at Alacran Copper-Gold Deposit
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me this morning is CEO and President of Cordoba Minerals (TSX-V: CDB)(OTC: CDBMF), Mr. Mario Stifano. Mario, how are you?
Mario Stifano: Hi, Gerardo. I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on this call.
Gerardo Del Real: It was time for you to come back on. The drills are turning at Alacran. That's important, because it also coincides with the fact that it looks like we've entered a new copper bull market, and it's one that's a long time coming, and obviously a positive for Cordoba, with the copper-gold, the San Matias copper-gold project that you have there in Columbia. Tell me a bit about the drilling, it's commenced. How many rigs and what are the initial targets?
Mario Stifano: Well, before we get into that, Gerardo, just to your point on the copper bull market, it's becoming pretty clear now, with copper well over $3 a pound, that we're entering into what we think is a beginning of a bull market all the way to 2021, where the market's starting to see a significant deficit in copper supplies relative to demand. We're pretty excited to have a copper-gold discovery at Alacran, in what we think is probably one of the best copper-gold districts in Latin America to explore.
As you just pointed out, we've started our drill rigs now at Alacran, and we are going to do a pretty aggressive drill program. Our first one is a 3,000 meter drill program at Alacran, and we're going to focus on three areas. We're going to test the southern extension of Alacran. We had a hole, 66, in the southernmost part of our drilling program, on our prior drilling campaign, and it clearly demonstrated to us that the previous holes, all drilled in the area that we call Mina Seca, which is the southern part of Alacran, was collared too far to the west.
This hole now, at 66, is basically 500 meters off strike on the previous hole, that had some good mineralization, so we're going to fill in that gap, and hopefully with some good mineralization, we'll continue to see the Alacran resource continue to grow. The other key areas where we're going to test mineralization is there's a downdip to the west, which we still haven't drilled any deeper holes on the western end of our Alacran deposit. In the northern part of Alacran, we got some really great grades and widths in the northern part of Alacran, but the drilling hasn't really focused to the north of a potential fault area. We see some real potential in the north of Alacran.
All this being said, we see lots of upside potential at Alacran to continue growing our resource. Our prior resource update was 53 million tonnes at 0.7% copper and 0.37 grams gold, which what we think is a very low strip ratio. With any luck, we can see this thing grow significantly with the next resource update by the end of this year.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, I think that resource update is going to be an important catalyst, Mario. I know that, unofficially, in a perfect world, you'd like to target that very attractive 100 million tonne number. Round numbers are preferred, right, but having that resource as we commence this bull market in copper that it appears we're entering, and having the potential to extend Alacran about 500 meters, I think could very well get you towards that 100 million tonne number. Would you say that as a fair statement there, Mario?
Mario Stifano: Well, look, if we can get ourselves to 100 million tonnes at Alacran, I think that's a great size of a deposit to really generate some serious economic drivers for any investor in Cordoba. A 100 million tonne deposit, those kind of grades that we had in a previous resource here, you're basically looking at, if you're thinking in gold equivalent ounces, you're around 4.5 million ounces plus of gold, or copper, you're around 2.2 billion pounds of copper.
With a strip ratio of, say, two to one, or even one to one, because a lot of our waste, excuse me, in that scenario, would likely convert into resources. We would have what we think is potential here for a very economic deposit, but 100 million tonnes is a great target, and we think there's real potential to get Alacran to 100 million tonnes. That's based on what we see today. With any luck, there's potential for some deeper targets at Alacran as well, and that'll be the next stage of our exploration program at Alacran.
We see tremendous potential to drive some real significant shareholder value, just for Alacran, and let's not forget that we still have the rest of our 20,000 hectares of core ground that we still haven't really been able to explore aggressively. That'll start happening a little bit later this year and into next year, starting to look at some of the other targets we have. There is potential for there to be multiple style Alacrans in this district, as well as porphyry. We see smoke and fire everywhere on this district, it's just a lot of our focus, in the short term, has been drilling Alacran. If you can add a few more types of Alacrans to this district, we've got a real special company in the making, here.
Gerardo Del Real: Agreed, agreed. Mario, are there plans to do possibly a PEA to put some numbers and economics to what Alacran could be?
Mario Stifano: Oh, definitely. Once we come out with an update of resource, at the end of the year, our intention is to come out with a new PEA in the first half of next year, and this will really show the market where the economics of Alacran lie, relative to all of the other deposits out there.
If you take a step back, and you look at the overall junior market, there's a lot of gold companies out there, but there is really no one out there that is in the copper space, or particularly the copper-gold space like we are, and one that could actually have a deposit that can go into production in the next three to five years. I don't see really anything other than Cordoba out there at this point in time, so we're pretty excited with what we have here.
Gerardo Del Real: I would counter that there is one that I particularly like, and that would be the Almadex Minerals El Cobre property, down in Veracruz, Mexic, that Morgan Poliquin's drilling out. It's not a similar system. The only similarity there is that it is a copper-gold system and there is multiple porphyry centers and a lot of exploration upside. But I agree with you that, overall, if you look at the junior space, there's just not a lot of compelling opportunities or vehicles that give you that upside exposure, especially companies that have solid share structures and committed shareholders. I think that bodes well for this cycle that we're in.
Mario Stifano: No, exactly. To your point on Almadex, I've been following them quite closely, and yes, it's no doubt they're getting some interesting drill results there as well. There's not a lot of us out there, and if you want exposure to copper-gold, there's very few companies that you can invest in to get that kind of exposure, so we're pretty excited.
We think we've got a great project, and to your point, we've got a great backer in HPX and Robert Friedland, and the combination of a great project and great financial backing, there's just not a lot of us out there.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah, and one other comparison to that El Cobre project is the great infrastructure. You both benefit from, in your case, you actually have two open-pit mines, nearby, that have already been permitted. In Almadex's case, I know that the Caballo Blanco project is going through the permitting process, and that would obviously be a very favorable attribute to that project. You're already there. You have two nearby open-pit mines. The permitting situation is a pretty straightforward path, and I think better days are coming for Cordoba.
I know that the shares have suffered a bit of a setback here over the summer, as can usually be expected. The HPX transaction, I know, forced you to answer a lot of questions, but now I think we're back to focusing on the rocks, and I think that's nothing but positive for Codoba.
Mario Stifano: I agree 100%. We always expected we would get a little bit of a pullback after the consolidation, but we structured Cordoba for the long term, not for the short term. Now that we've got the drills turning and we're focused, as you said, back on the rocks, I think the market will come back to refocus on Cordoba and the potential we have in our district. Alacran has always been the backbone to Cordoba, and we think we've got a great project in the making at Alacran. The drilling, we hope, will confirm that to the market.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, as those assays start coming back in, I would love to have you back on. Mario, I want to thank you very much for your time and for the update. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
Mario Stifano: No, that's great. I think once we start getting some assays in, hopefully we can do this hopefully in the next few months, and give the market a great update.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, I believe we will both be at the Beaver Creek Precious Metals Conference. If anybody is there, please reach out to Mario in the company, or reach out to myself. We'd love to meet with you.
Mario Stifano: Perfect. Thank you, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you very much, Mario.