Almaden Minerals (TSX: AMM) CEO Morgan Poliquin on Multiple Veins and Targets at the Ixtaca Project
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Almaden Minerals, Dr. Morgan Poliquin. Morgan, how are you today?
Morgan Poliquin: I'm great, thank you very much. And you?
Gerardo Del Real: I'm well. Thank you for asking. Listen, amongst the election chaos here in the U.S and the coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of cases around the world, you had some pretty important news a week or so ago that I wanted to go over with you. Me being a non-geologist, I can absolutely still appreciate the exceptional exploration potential at the Ixtaca property.
And so the main Ixtaca zone, obviously, is a robust project in its own, equal parts gold and silver, great economics tied to it. But the exploration potential often is one, misunderstood and two, definitely not talked about the way it deserves to be. I was encouraged to see that you have outlined a deep exploration target beneath the Ixtaca zone and I was hoping that you could provide an overview of that target for the audience and for myself. I've been to the property I'm familiar with it, but I know this is a target that you've long been excited about. Can you tell us why?
Morgan Poliquin: Thank you very much. Well, just to start off with... We've not been focused on expiration really since the discovery in 2010. This is an area where historically there hasn't been the kind of mining you see in other parts of Mexico. It's what we call a new discovery. It's a new area where these vein systems have a habit of being fairly extensive in different parts of Mexico, and obviously we're hoping that this vein system that we found here is part of something larger.
So the focus since the discovery was on getting to feasibility level on the Ixtaca deposit and now we're looking at these targets again. And you're right, they are exciting. We provided an image with the news release you referenced. Obviously, there's holes that demonstrate that the structure continues beneath the feasibility level pit and that structure, we're really hopeful, represents a deeper drill target. There's different times of epithermal vein systems, there are some that you have very limited vertical extent, and we see those in Nevada, and we see those in New Zealand and different places like that associated with often different kinds of volcanic rocks.
In Mexico, we see a lot of vein systems that have a silver, lead, zinc, at depth and more gold and silver near the surface. And so we're hopeful that we're more like those typical Mexican systems and that this target is something that we can test soon. So it really is exciting to dust off the opportunities that the Ixtaca project represent.
Gerardo Del Real: Can you explain the importance of the swarm veins that you mentioned in the release?
Morgan Poliquin: Yeah, the main Ixtaca zone which is really the focus of the known deposit is hosted in a limestone unit. It was a very brittle rock, we think. It's not a single vein, it's a zone of veining. The zone, we think is very readily defined, but the zone is comprised of a whole bunch of veins that branch and reconnect and are hosted in that limestone. What we've noticed in the unit that would be the geologic unit that would be beneath that is this more shaley unit, in which elsewhere on the project we see more discreet-focused veining. So while a vein swarm is wide and good if it's near surface, I think the potential for lower cost open-pit mining, at depth you want to see more focused fading. So that's kind of the idea here of our targeting.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Morgan, obviously the $64 million question. When do you anticipate being able to test the target that we're so excited about?
Morgan Poliquin: Well, as we mentioned in an earlier news release, we're looking at other targets on the project as well. And we'd like to get a whole bunch of targets together and define during the course of this year and obviously there's a lot of variables in place. I hesitate to give a timeline right now, but we're doing everything we can to update people. We'd like to get all our targets defined before we start drilling.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, it's a good problem to have, there's many many targets on the property. I'm excited as I mentioned to see them tested. I know we're awaiting permitting news and hoping that we hear something soon on that front. So a lot to look forward to here as we close out the year, right?
Morgan Poliquin: Well, thank you very much. We are really excited about getting back to the exploration game on the project, as I tried to explain, yes we have a deposit that we're in the midst of permitting on which we've got a feasibility study, but we also have kind of an expiration program that was sort of, I think it's fair to say cut short because of our requirement to focus on developing the Ixtaca zone and the Ixtaca deposit. So it really is exciting to open one's mind again to the possibilities. And we look forward to updating people as soon as we have something to report.
Gerardo Del Real: Morgan, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
Morgan Poliquin: Thank you very much.