Aztec Minerals (TSX-V: AZT) CEO Simon Dyakowski on Gold, Copper, Silver & Zinc Exposure in U.S. & Mexico
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Aztec Minerals, Mr. Simon Dyakowski. Simon, how are you this afternoon?
Simon Dyakowski: Doing great, Gerardo. Thank you for having me on once again.
Gerardo Del Real: Thanks for coming back on, on short notice. You had some news today on plans for a two-phase, $1.1 million exploration program at a property that I really like, a discovery, actually, that I think the market missed because we were in the midst of a bear market when you made it and that's the Cervantes gold-copper project in Sonora, Mexico. I would love for you to provide an overview on your plans at Cervantes, because I think it's really going to catch the market's attention this go round.
Simon Dyakowski: Yeah, thanks for the opportunity to discuss it. And you're correct. Aztec acquired an option to earn a 65% interest in this project back around the time of Aztec's initial public offering in 2017. The use of proceeds from that offering were largely directed towards drilling the Cervantes project in Sonora, Mexico. And Aztec, during that Phase 1 drill campaign, successfully made a gold discovery, oxide gold on a 360-hectare property that is a very prospective gold-copper porphyry project with multiple targets.
So the first target that was drilled, known as the California zone, returned 14 holes that hit very prospective grades with a highlight hole of up to 0.77 grams per tonne gold over 160 meters. So a very significant discovery that, as you pointed out, was perhaps forgotten by the market in a very different market environment for junior exploration companies. So we are very excited to today announce that last week, with our joint venture partner in our newly formed joint venture, 65/35 with Kootenay Silver, Inc., the management committee of the joint venture has agreed to a $1.1 million 2021 exploration program that is going to be split into two phases over the year.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned the California zone and it's important to note that you've done prelim met work already. And I believe the tests there, the oxide gold recoveries in bottle roll tests came back and it was right in the range between 75% and 87%? Nearly 90%?
Simon Dyakowski: Yeah, that's right. So the initial met work was very positive, so obviously that's a key component, especially when you're looking at a gold-copper porphyry system. So we can see quite clearly in the main California zone that a lot of the copper has leached out and there's an oxide cap that looks to be up to 150 meters in vertical depth. So we plan in the fall or after the rainy season in the summer to drill about 5,000 meters, 2,800 meters of those are budgeted for the California zone for infill, step-out drilling to get the drill spacings along that initial discovery up to something that might give us the confidence to start looking at an initial resource estimate. So that's very exciting, just on the basis of the California zone alone. I think investors have good exposure there to potentially defining an open-pit heap leach gold deposit.
And then we've got some meterage budgeted for some other targets on the property. And I should note that the Phase 1 of the program, which we'll kick off in the first quarter, is really going to be critical to defining some further targets. So although Aztec has done quite a bit of work on the property since acquiring the option in 2017, there still are some sampling gaps. And this time of year is a perfect time when the vegetation is low to going in with geological crews to take additional samples and to complete some mapping, just to make sure that we have the best possible targets for when we're in a position to drill. And I'll note that we will expect to start drilling after the rainy season, which is from about June to August in that part of Mexico. So a little bit of legwork left to do, but we thought it would be great to start the new year off right here with an update on Cervantes and what the joint venture is planning to do.
So, like I mentioned, 2,800 meters in the main California zone. We'll also plan to drill a hole in the California north zone, so exploration upside there. There's a very strong target known as Purisima in the southeast of the property or, sorry, rather, the southwest. Forgive me. That's another target for about four to six drill holes and Jacobo, as well, will be drill tested. So those are all shallow gold oxide targets and being a porphyry copper-gold target, we have some deeper porphyry copper targets that we intend to test as well. So we have two 500-meter holes plan to test those deeper porphyry targets. So all in all, a solid program where we'll have developments we're drilling leading up to potentially a look at a resource and as well as testing numerous targets that represent pure exploration upside.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it. In other portfolio news, how are things coming along with Tombstone, which, the last time we chatted, was the focus of our conversation?
Simon Dyakowski: They're coming along very well. Last time we chatted, we were summarizing the 30,000 meter Phase 1 RC drill program that we completed over the fall of 2020. We're busy now working up a Phase 2 drill program. We're also busy working up our joint venture agreement. So we've now spent enough money to form a 75/25 joint venture on the project and we're working through some administrative items to formalize that relationship with our new partners. And we expect to be announcing details on Phase 2 drilling to the market within the next four to six weeks, and we should have a drill secured, ready to start going again at tombstone within that time frame as well. So we will have no gaps in news flow and we're just as excited about Cervantes as we are at Tombstone. And we will continue to press on with our exploration and grid drilling there. So we'll have a program designed really with resource estimation in mind at Tombstone as well. So it'll be a busy first quarter for us and a very busy end of the summer getting ready for things at Cervantes.
Gerardo Del Real: You're cashed up. You provide excellent exposure to copper, silver, gold, lead, zinc. And the bottom line is you're in great jurisdictions, both in Sonora, Mexico and in Arizona. A lot to like.
Simon Dyakowski: Yeah, great jurisdictions, private land, exposure to polymetallic discoveries and a good head start with recent drilling of oxide gold. So we're happy. We're well-positioned. We're financed to continue drilling at Tombstone and yeah, a lot to look forward to for us. And thanks a lot for having me on to talking about Cervantes today.
Gerardo Del Real: No, thank you for coming back on Simon. We'll be chatting soon.
Simon Dyakowski: Sounds good, Gerardo. Have a great day.
Gerardo Del Real: All right, you as well.