Aben Resources (TSX-V: ABN) CEO Jim Pettit on Commencement of 2020 Field Exploration Program and Plans for Drilling in August at the Forrest Kerr Gold Project in British Columbia
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Aben Resources (TSX-V: ABN)(OTC: ABNAF), Mr. Jim Pettit. Jim, it's a different world than the last time you and I chatted, which was several months ago. First and foremost, how are you, sir?
Jim Pettit: I'm doing good. Doing really good. Yeah, it's certainly a different world.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about what's changed. Obviously, COVID-19 led to global lockdowns. We know the precautions that most of us have taken. Aben has been very good about that. The second thing that's changed, that's incredibly material, is that gold is flirting with $2,000. Silver's finally broken out, it's above $24.
We have a precious metals bull market that I think will go down in history. I think it's going to be one for the books and you got some news that has to be exciting for shareholders. The 2020 field program at Forrest Kerr has commenced. Can we talk about it?
Jim Pettit: Yes, absolutely. The guys that are up there now. We got the camp mobilized last week, took a little bit of massaging to get it all done. The weather was unbelievably atrocious. Our core shacks and everything that are up top, up about 6,000 feet, got absolutely crushed by the snow this past season. So it warped the flooring and bent – didn't snap the wood – but it warped everything. We had to rebuild it all and then we get the food up there. We got everything up there. The showers, everything. It's a real camp up on top. Normally we're down at the bottom by the highway at what's called the Bob Quinn Airstrip and there's a trailer park. I rent a couple of trailers and that's where you get the drill crew staying, and our own geological crew and all that. They all stay there down below. Right now they're all at the top, because all I've got really is a geologic crew up there. There's four or five geologists and a cook.
They're staying up there to avoid any contact with the communities down in the valleys where the small towns are. So when they do shift change, they leave for a week or two at a time. When they come back, they go straight up top. When we start drilling later in August, we will move the camp from top down to the trailer park. It's fairly isolated, and they'll just be flying back and forth every day up top, to minimize the exposure that we have to the communities there. That's the way we're going to do it. Also starting with just a geologic crew up there is different than what we've normally done. These guys are going up there and they're verifying and ground truthing targets that we've identified through the off season by doing all the analytics with all the drilling data, the geophysical data, sampling data over the last couple of years.
We've got a couple of areas that are really starting to make sense to us now. It's a massive amount of information that we've worked our way through. We've got some mineralized zones. That's what they're testing right now, verifying. They're up closer to the North Boundary high-grade area, but it's across on the other side of the valley. We've had some tremendous success with sampling up there last year when we got all that assayed and everything came back, it was a real surprise. There's about a 300-meter zone across the valley floor, which the bottom of the valley is called the Nelson Creek fault. Most of our work to date has been on the east side of that fault.
We're now looking at the west side because this 300-meter zone has got really good sample grades off it. I'll just condense it. We've got 10 to 43 gram samples gold, 39 gram to 46 gram silver, and 1.3% copper to 4.6% copper. These are all lots of rock samples from outcrop and on the ground. The one thing that's got us really intrigued is one hole was drilled last year from the east side through the fault to the west side. The bottom of that hole had 19 meters of good mineralization. It surprised the heck out of us. We didn't think there would be any, but we just tested it anyways. That downhole mineralized horizon, it's 110 meters directly below this mineralized surface area. It gives you an indication that there is a definite something going on there. The bottom of the hole was lower grade. It was very much like what we got in the South Boundary.
Then further south of the South Boundary area we've got now called the Benchlands fault. You've got big intersections of lower grade. The rock looks just like the high-grade rock up in the North Boundary zone, something changed. As we drilled last year, we found out that as we moved south the alteration changed from good sericite quartz veins with potassic alteration. Then as you move south the potassic alteration faded, which means you're moving away from the heat source, generally is what that means. This area we're in here, that's still very much in this potassic zone of alteration.
Then right uphill from this mineralized area we're going to hit hard, it's a big, huge scree slope covered. There's a big geophysical signature underneath the scree. We never got to it last year to test, mainly because it would have taken a while to get the pads that we could drill under. We've identified those areas now. This big geophysical target could be associated with the source of the potassic alteration, which could get us back into the high grade. This is very much how we found the original high-grade zone three, four years ago.
Gerardo Del Real: I was just going to say that, Jim. It sounds like you're taking basically the blueprint to how you discovered the high-grade gold zone at North Boundary and just duplicating that, following that.
Jim Pettit: Yeah. That's what it was. We hit 50 gram samples off outcrop in the North Boundary zone and we drilled underneath it. Sure enough, depending on the elevation, how far downhole it was, the depth, as we drilled deeper, that really high-grade gold that we hit 2018, that was underneath that outcrop and underneath the holes from the year before that. What we've got here is a potential to duplicate that. That's kind of what we're wishing, but we've also got a better understanding of the fault systems.
We've got the Nelson Creek fault that's at the bottom of the valley. We've also got a cross-cutting fault that runs right through that zone, the high-grade zone called the Blind Creek, and it runs at a specific angle. It goes northeast-southwest. Then the Nelson Creek fault is north to south. At that intersection, you've got the high-grade zone. Well, we've got another fault we've now discovered, and it's just at the south end of this new mineralized area. There's one area that you get one, two, three faults intersecting each other. They tie into a geophysical image, a structure that looks exactly like the North Boundary. So there's a couple of things going in our favor. This is real pathfinder stuff. This has got us excited.
Gerardo Del Real: I love it. For me, I gravitate towards the higher-risk, higher-reward exploration plays. Obviously this fits the billing, right? You mentioned drilling in August. You're thinking mid-August, late August. When can we anticipate a drill or two turning?
Jim Pettit: Well, it'd be in the second half of August because the guys have got a fair amount of work. They actually have good weather right now. So they'll get as much done as they can. Hopefully it lasts, but the weather they were introduced to when they first got up there last week, that's what this area is known for, this whole Golden Triangle area. It's known for crappy weather. They get some sunshine, they better get the work done because it's not common to have that much sunshine.
Gerardo Del Real: Exciting times, Jim. I'm looking forward to having you back on when you announce targets, meterage, if it's one drill, two drills, how aggressive you're going to be. What's the cash position look like? Are you in position to go in there and test the system properly this summer?
Jim Pettit: Oh yeah. We're going to start it out like we did our first year up there basically, our first big year. Start with 2,000 meters, if we have some success with the drill, we increase it. I can go raise the money right there, right now. This market, it's a good market. You can do that. I just did a small financing, $1 million dollars to top up. I could actually start drilling with it without raising money first. I can raise money on results. It took seven days to raise the million dollars. That was it.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah. We definitely have a market that's eager for quality exploration. That's a fact.
Jim Pettit: Oh yeah. No question. If we're going to increase what we're going to do up there, yeah, we'll raise more money. That'll be latter part of August, beginning of September.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's hope mother nature cooperates.
Jim Pettit: We should be drilling in the third week of August.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Let's hope mother nature cooperates. Anything else that you'd like to add, Jim?
Jim Pettit: No, it's all good. We've got just under $2 million in the till and we're in good shape. We got 117 million shares out and 168 fully diluted. So if we have some joy, like I had two years ago, we raised over $1 million dollars just in warrants exercised. There's lots of ways to skin this cat.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much.
Jim Pettit: All right. You bet.