Aguila American Gold (TSX-V: AGL) CEO Mark Saxon on the Aguila Team & Flagship WUSA Gold Project in Oregon
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Aguila American Gold (TSX-V: AGL), Mr. Mark Saxon. Mark, this time around we usually are at the New Orleans Investment Conference, kicking the tires on new ideas, meeting with subscribers. This year, of course, the conference has gone virtual. So consider this the virtual kicking the tires on Aguila American Gold. How are you, Mark?
Mark Saxon: Hey, Gerardo. Good afternoon. Thank you for the virtual kick, I appreciate that. Unfortunately everything's online this year. I'd love to be there face-to-face and meeting current and potential shareholders, but we do the best we can. Don't we?
Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get to it. Let me be transparent as I am with everything I do. I am biased. Aguila American Gold is a company I recently participated in a financing for. I helped raise some capital for it privately myself. I wrote a check. I obviously like the team, like the past success.
Let's get right to it and talk about the team at Aguila American Gold, and then we can talk project and what to expect, because I think the news is going to be fast and furious here the rest of the year.
Mark Saxon: For sure. Thank you for the great introduction, Gerardo. I appreciate the disclaimer, and obviously I'm a fairly substantial shareholder myself. We trade on the TSX Venture Exchange, code of AGL. The code has been there for quite a long time. So Aguila, I guess the highest level history, it's been sitting there as a shell for a while. The company was getting restructured and we saw a great opportunity to put the company back to work again. We've just raised some money, about $2.6 million US, which you took part in. That's given us a great runway to get stuck into the projects that we're looking at the moment.
The flagship project and the lead out one is a project that we call WUSA, not the most elegant of names, but it's in Southern Oregon and it's the place we'll be focused on first. We've got a team of people I know very well. So it's myself, a good friend and long-term associate, Blair Way, who's on the board, CFO Nick DeMare, and then we're building a team in the US as well. Obviously, with travel restrictions at the moment we have to build a local team. So that's coming out of Reno, Nevada.
Gerardo Del Real: You managed to put together, along with the team, over several years a district-scale land package that hasn't been explored for over 150 years, not at least the way that your team and your group is accustomed to exploring. That's incredibly exciting to me at a time where I think we are in a new era of discovery and exploration and, frankly, a cycle where the mid-tiers and the majors are going to start to have to beg for district-scale land packages that can yield the type of discoveries that they need to replenish their reserves.
Tell me a bit about the strategy moving forward. You just raised the money, you alluded to that. What are you going to do with it?
Mark Saxon: Absolutely, Gerardo. Really, like you say, it's a district-scale package. In a well explored country like the US is, or Canada or Australia, it's incredibly difficult to get this kind of landholding. Most things have been divided up and explored and have had people there before us. But the landholding system in the US and in Oregon is a little different to some places in that the surface rights and the mineral rights were both given together to the landholder. That happened more than 150 years ago, as you said. So this land has been with one company, with one landholder for at least 150 years since it was first allocated. We know that the mineral rights and the surface rights have been attached since that time.
The surface landholder knows exactly what's been done on the land in terms of mineral exploration, and that is almost nothing. There really has been no one there doing drilling, exploration, discovery for 150 years. Literally I can count on just a little over two hands the number of drill holes that have been done on this massive patch of ground. There were 10 holes drilled in the late '80s, early '90s. There were three holes drilled in 2018 by a joint venture partner. That's it, there's nothing else. We have access to a very large area, which is 150,000 hectares in total. Within that 150,000 hectors, the landholder that we're working with owns about half of that, about 70,000 hectares.
Then as we do our work and generate projects, we're able to cut part of that ground into what we're calling option agreements, and then the option agreement gives us the rights to do ground-disturbing work, drilling, and get extra work done. We're moving through that process. We've got the regional discovery area, and then we've got some focused targets as well as sitting within that. We'll be pushing all those forward, literally from now, I suppose. We've got preparations underway.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned the size of the land package, and you mentioned the lack of modern exploration there. But the project and the site lies, I believe, adjacent to a 19th century gold rush area, where a lot of small-scale miners continue to be active. So you're in the right address, right?
Mark Saxon: Absolutely. That area is called Bohemia. Think of the Californian gold rush era. Bohemia was a distant part of that. There was activity going on in the creeks and the streams looking for alluvial gold at the same time. Then they found the hard rock gold nearby.
In fact, even today there's people out there making tough livings from doing alluvial mining in the creeks, including some of those people working on alluvial claims, placer claims on the land that we have to explore as well. The placer claim can sit within the surface rights within the areas that we're working. So there's no doubt that there's gold in the region and we've got gold in drill holes from the few bits of work that had been done in the past. Yeah, we've got lots of good places to look.
Gerardo Del Real: You have a deep network of contacts. Does Aguila plan on making this the sole focus moving forward, or are you looking for other attractive projects and looking to leverage that network that you've developed over decades in the business?
Mark Saxon: As you say, we've got a great network and you know many of those people that we work with. That's really giving us a good overview on lots of deal flow. At the moment, there's lots of projects out there looking for homes and ideas and for well-funded companies. Yeah, I see us as one of those companies. We're able to build up a really strong portfolio, I believe, over the next six months. That's really the focus of the company is we've got the money, we've got the people, and get the deal flow of projects. So that's happening right now.
We're focused particularly on gold. We're focused particularly on good, safe jurisdictions where we can make real progress quickly, get drill rigs turning and get work done. The US is a great one for that, particularly in the current environment where the gold price is. Parts of Canada are great. Parts of Australia are good. I can make a long list of places that we're interested in.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned drilling. Everyone always wants to know how soon do you plan on getting a drill into the ground and see what mother nature left for you.
Mark Saxon: Obviously, we're getting that done as quickly as possible. As I said, the project's in Oregon, so there were a few very small delays due to the fires and things. We're respecting, obviously, the impact that's had and making sure the landholder has things worked out properly on the surface land. But it's very soon, Gerardo. We can be counting in weeks, not months.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. That's music to my ears. As you know, we write checks to see what mother nature left behind, not for anomalies and all of the other things that tend to be more technical in nature. I know that, me as a non-geologist, I don't have the deep, deep appreciation that geologists have for the trends and the structures and the anomalies and everything that goes into defining a drill target. But man, do I love seeing a drill turning and seeing what's there.
Mark Saxon: It's a bit of both, I suppose. We always need a story with surface sampling and understanding the rocks and the alteration. We're looking for epithermal deposits. There's great indications here of low sulphidation epithermal deposits, which again, a little technical perhaps, but we're seeing gold associated with tellurium and mercury and arsenic and the things that are always associated with those deposits and the styles of alteration that we need to be seeing. They're big ticks from our side of the fence. We're very hopeful that we can turn that into a good gold deposit for your side of the fence. I'm sure we can do both.
Gerardo Del Real: Four prospect areas identified to date, is that correct?
Mark Saxon: That's correct. That's based on very preliminary work. We're pleased the way that's come through. The target to start with is a project called Scorpion-Cinnabar. That hasn't had a great deal of work yet. Like I said, it's only had one drill hole, really, in its history and some surface work. In soil sampling, we've got soils with more than 1 gram per tonne of gold in the soil sampling, which is quite exceptional. So the job now is to test underneath those high-grade soils and to see what could be there. That's an exciting place to be.
Gerardo Del Real: Mark, I want to thank you for your time. I'm looking forward to having you back on. I want to encourage everybody to look for Mr. Nick Hodge and myself. We are both participating all week long at the virtual New Orleans Investment Conference 2020. We'll make sure to include a link to where you can find us.
[Editor's Note: Nick and Gerardo will be recording a special NOIC edition of Bizarro World. Nick will also be speaking in the virtual main hall and as a guest on the precious metals panel.]
Mark, anything else you'd like to add?
Mark Saxon: No, that's great. I hope the conference goes well, Gerardo. Good luck to you and your investors. It's a great time to be in gold, that's for sure.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Thanks again, Mark.
Mark Saxon: Thanks, Gerardo.