Abacus Mining and Exploration (TSX-V: AME) CEO Michael McInnis Provides Updates on Permitting at Ajax Property and Drill Program Preparations at Willow Property
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is Chairman, President and CEO of Abacus Mining and Exploration (TSX-V: AME)(OTC: ABCFF), Mr. Michael McInnis. Mike, how are you today, sir?
Michael McInnis: I'm doing well, Gerardo. Thanks very much for the opportunity to talk to your audience. Things are going well in our world, so we're looking forward to talking to you.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, thank you for your time. It's been a few months since we caught up, and obviously, it's very exciting times. Copper seems to have entered a new bull market. The copper market has been on fire lately and Abacus Mining, I think, is perfectly positioned to obviously capture that, especially in light of the fact that you have a tiny, tiny, tiny market cap. I would love to be able to provide everybody with an update on the Ajax Project, first. We know that's going through permitting right now, and then secondly of course, an important drilling exploration program that you have coming up at Willow in Nevada. Can we start with Ajax? How are things coming along there, Mike?
Michael McInnis: Well, good as well. You will recall that earlier this year we filed our environmental application, all 18,000 pages of it, so it was a very exhaustive document. Looked at everything imaginable in terms of any possible impacts on the local community or the land itself. It was evaluated in the Provincial Agency as well as the Federal Agency, and they tabled their report in mid-August, in other words a little over less than a month ago. Cutting down to the bottom line, the basic message we got out of that was that the Provincial Agency found that the project had been well thought out, and that there were no significant adverse effects on the community or the environment, based on the plan that we put forward, as well as the mitigation measures that were identified that would be implemented on project execution.
There still is an effect that they identified with the First Nations. We believe that with further discussion with the local First Nation bands that we should be able to get their concerns satisfied as well, so that's an ongoing process and we hope that we can get that done before year end as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, and I imagine that the reason that you want to have that done before year end is because you're expecting and hoping for a decision, hopefully sometime between now and the end of the year, if I'm not mistaken.
Michael McInnis: That's correct, Gerardo. The process would be from this point with the tabling of mid-August, there's about a 30 day comment period. That then would be incorporated as a separate document to the environmental agency's report. Then, it would be presented to the respective ministers of the Federal and Provincial governments. The local Provincial government, by law, has a 45 day mandatory period within which to render a decision. If you count the days out, that should take us to about early December of this year for the Provincial decision. The Federal one would come on the heels of that, maybe another month after that.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well it sounds like we're definitely in position for possibly a very good Christmas, and it may be a very, very good Christmas depending on how things go at your other property, which is an early stage exploration property, but one that I'm very excited about. It's a property that you optioned from Almadex Minerals, which of course recently has had a lot of success with their copper porphyry properties down in Veracruz, Mexico. The Willow property is in Nevada. You have the right to earn up to a 75% interest in Willow and I understand the mapping's complete. There's a lot of geophysical work that's going on, and we're hoping, fingers crossed, for some drilling later this year. How are things coming along there, Mike? I know we talked off air a bit, and you mentioned that you're very happy with what you're seeing across the board thus far.
Michael McInnis: We are. To recap, our program this year was going to be detailed geological mapping accompanied by geophysical surveying, IP and MAG specifically, as well as geochemical soil sampling, both for metal content and for some spectrographic work to detect alteration. That was the program, and on the back of that data that we received there, we were going to develop specific drill targets. The mapping has been completed. I had a fellow who I have a lot of respect for, spent a lot of time in porphyry copper mapping, etc. And he did a tremendous job frankly of looking at the rocks, looking at the alteration, putting everything into the context of a porphyry copper model, and that's hung together very well for us. It has supported our original premise going into this property that this is a bonafide, good, solid, porphyry copper target, much like some of the other deposits in this porphyry copper district around Yerington.
The geophysics, the IP and MAG, are ongoing as we speak, as well as the geochemical sampling. The preliminary data is giving us some cause for excitement here in terms of fitting in with the geological mapping. We've broadened it a little bit frankly to try to take in some areas that demonstrated some potential based on our earlier work, and so it's taking a little bit longer than we originally planned. However, we think that data will be very important in developing different drill targets. We expect that work to finish up by the end of September, and then it's into the data evaluation, and hopefully gets at least some drilling done this year, which would work into another drill program early in ‘18.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Now, I understand this work is very important because a significant portion of the property is actually covered by soils or later volcanics, but there's very little actual outcrop if I'm not mistaken. Is that the reason why you decided to spend a bit more time on the IP and the MAG and the mapping?
Michael McInnis: Yeah, we got a better picture of the geology and alteration distribution through the mapping, and so that's given us a bit of further direction on where our best targets may lie. So we've extended some of that work, the IP and physical MAG work as well as the geochem into those areas. You'll recall from your trip, looking on the property that there is an enormous alteration footprint out there, and trying to find the center of mineralization with something that big presents a bit of a challenge, but the work we're doing right now should help define the different areas within that larger alteration and above where the goodies might be.
Gerardo Del Real: Well I think the risk reward proposition is very compelling, Mike. You are, of course, right nearby the Yerington Mine, which produced approximately 1.6 billion pounds of copper, billion with a B, for Anaconda Copper, and so obviously you want to make sure that the work gets done in an appropriate fashion. The scale of alteration, when I was there, was truly impressive, and part of the reason why I'm so excited for the drill program, but I definitely appreciate the diligence and you wanting to get it correct.
What else can we expect from Abacus Mining between now and the end of the year? We have the potential decision, permitting decision at Ajax, and of course, the ongoing work at Willow. Anything else that you'd like to add to that, Mike?
Michael McInnis: No, I think we're going to keep the market informed on how our work is going, once we get the geophysics and geochem. We can expect to put the results of that out into the public domain. As you pointed out, we have the permitting coming up and I think what we'll try to do, because I fielded a number of questions, I think we're going to put out a news release on Ajax, essentially just summarizing all the work we've done, where we are, and what the timeline expectations are so people can see what we've done and look forward to the decision later in the year. With Willow, I just really like what we're seeing there totally, from the geochemical, geophysical, and geological perspective. We're looking forward to defining some serious targets there for testing.
Gerardo Del: Excellent. Mike, I want to thank you so much for your time and I'm really looking forward to having you back on as we get further updates from Abacus.
Michael McInnis: It's always a pleasure. I'll be happy to do that.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you very much, Mike.