Alianza Minerals (TSX-V: ANZ) CEO Jason Weber on Approval for Expanded Drilling at Horsethief Gold Property in Nevada, Option Agreement with Coeur at the Tim Silver Property in the Yukon, & Looking to Add More Projects to the Pipeline
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Alianza Minerals (TSX-V: ANZ)(OTC: TARSF), Mr. Jason Weber. Jason, how goes you? How are you in these unprecedented times? I just saw the May contract for oil close at something like negative $37 a barrel. First and foremost, how are you and your family doing? Everyone healthy?
Jason Weber: Yeah, we're doing great. I think we're all getting used to working in the same household and the usual complications that come with sharing computers and office space, but it's working out. It's good family time, worst case.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Excellent. That's great to hear. Lots of good news. We talked a bit off-air and I mentioned to you that there's two types of CEOs in this market right now. There's the type that are looking at this and going, "How am I going to make it out of this quarter?" And there are CEOs like yourself that are moving forward and, in this case, doubling the potential drill program at your Horsethief property in Nevada.
I can't think of a better time to have a gold project in Nevada with a major partner funding it. Can we talk about the BLM approval you just secured and what that looks like moving forward, given the circumstances?
Jason Weber: Yeah. The biggest thing for us right now is waiting for things to open up, so we can get down and do the drill program. Our partner, Hochschild, is committed to doing it. They're very excited. The push to double the size of the program to 3,000 meters, or approximately 10,000 feet, that comes from us, together working with Hochschild. But they're fully behind that.
So I think that speaks to really their excitement about the project and how it's developed. As we navigate the uncertainty in front of us here a bit, I can't help but look forward to getting on the ground and doing the drill program.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about how you're going to hone in on those targets because I know 2019 was very successful in the sense that you got to do a lot of very important field work. One of the really, I think, critical determinations that was made as a result of that work, was the fact that the rocks that you have at Horsethief, they correspond to the ages of rocks of other big deposits like Long Canyon.
Can you speak to that for people like myself, frankly, that are not geologists but have been around the space for a bit, understand what Long Canyon was, what it eventually turned into and why you believe that you have something similar with Horsethief?
Jason Weber: Well, I think the important sort of piece to the puzzle is the age of the rocks and the fact that we were very fortunate to identify the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary. It's where that age of rock exists, that's the same age that Long Canyon is formed at and it's around that time horizon that the Long Canyon deposits formed. So for us to identify that means one, identifying the carbonate topography, assigning it sort of ages, and then verifying that through fossil identification, is really the approach we took. So we've got a good range on that.
But I think what's more important is we're actually seeing similar types of geological characteristics that are seen and are part of the ore-forming process at Long Canyon. So we feel one, we're at the right age, but two, we have the same geological processes ongoing at that age that could form a big gold deposit. That's really sort of what's been driving the excitement. You mentioned right off the top about honing in on the targets, that age boundary, that contact between the Cambrian-Ordovician age stratigraphy plays a big role in where we spot our holes. To cut that just above it and then cut through that age horizon and deeper below to where these deposits could be sitting.
Gerardo Del Real: And deeper below is important because I understand the team believes that prior drilling was too shallow to actually test the contact. Correct?
Jason Weber: Absolutely. So in the case of Long Canyon, there is what we colloquially call “smoke” around these deposits and there's a bit of gold there. There's some other pathfinder elements and you get jasperoid developed, a lot of silica. And you see this sort of younger rocks above that time horizon. We see that at Horsethief. And that's a lot of what was tested in the drilling back in the '80s, looking at that, quote unquote, smoke.
Now as we look to drill deeper and get down to the contact, that's where we think we'd be into really the source of that smoke. That's the exciting part. The shallow holes that were drilled, I could be wrong, but I can't identify a single hole that would have tested that age boundary.
Gerardo Del Real: So this expanded permit will allow you to drill, is it, what, 3,000 meters now in 10 holes and I believe that you have 5 primary targets? Is all that accurate?
Jason Weber: Yeah. The original permit that we submitted – and this was before we had Hochschild as a partner, we just wanted to get a permit so that if we wanted to, we could go ahead and do a small drill program ourselves. We permitted, I think 4 of the 5 targets. With the amended permit now we can drill all 5 targets and we can drill a few more holes on a couple, especially the Horsethief North and Horsethief South targets.
Gerardo Del Real: Your partner stands to earn up to a 60% interest by funding expenditures of up to $5 million US over five and a half years. Obviously drilling this year is a major catalyst.
What's the current market cap, Jason? I know you just raised some cash so you're capitalized, but what's the market cap right now?
Jason Weber: In Canadian dollars about $6 million. So in US dollars, that's probably $4 million. I don't know what the exchange rate is right now.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah, so your market cap is less than what it would take for Hochschild to earn 60% into the Horsethief project over five and a half years, right?
Jason Weber: Absolutely, yep.
Gerardo Del Real: Interesting. Interesting. I don't think that'll last. Can we talk about some of the other projects in the portfolio? I know one in particular that's of significance this year as well.
Jason Weber: Well yeah, there's a couple. We just announced – I say just announced, before the world changed for us.
We announced a new deal with Coeur and they're exploring our Tim project, which is about 12 kilometers north of their Silvertip mine and that's a high-grade silver operation that they feel, and we tend to agree, is similar to what we're exploring for at Tim. So the idea there is that they'd be exploring for a potential satellite deposit to the Silvertip mine. Being so close, you could develop there and truck that over to the mill site at Silvertip. So that'll go this summer. It'll be a small program, mapping, opening up some of the old trenches that date back to the 1980s and some early stage work. But that sets it up for drilling potentially in 2021.
The other big project for us is our Haldane, which is another high-grade silver target in the Yukon. That's in the Keno district, right adjacent to Alexco's Keno district project. Alexco is in the final stages of getting a permit to start production on their property and we're exploring for additional Keno-style deposits. Had a great campaign last year with a new discovery at the Bighorn Zone that we'd be looking back to do some more drilling at this year as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, with gold at $1,700 and we know silver tends to follow the gold lead per se, you're in the right address with Nevada, you're in the right commodity and you have a market cap that begs and screams for an opportunity if you're successful at either property. Anything else you'd like to add, Jason?
Jason Weber: You talked about it a little earlier, touched on the fact that time is now to be aggressive. I tend to think that the gold market is only going higher and that investor interest is going to increase significantly over the next weeks, months and potentially years. One of the tasks I've sort of saddled myself with is identifying new projects to bring into the fold. So I've worked pretty hard in the last sort of 6, 8 weeks on that.
I think I have one agreement in place for a new gold project. Nothing's signed, but I think we've come to terms we can agree on on that. And looking at two others as well, at the moment. Our approach is to stock up now. We're in the business of finding projects that we can bring major companies into to explore. That means I got to keep my pipeline stocked with new projects and taking this opportunity right now to try and do that.
Gerardo Del Real: It's good timing, Jason. I'm looking forward to having you back on to talk about those projects, if that does indeed materialize. Thank you so much for your time today and please, please be safe out there.
Jason Weber: Yeah, thanks a lot and you too.