Gaia Metals (TSX-V: GMC) VP of Exploration Darren Smith on Advancing the Corvette-FCI & Freeman Creek Projects

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the vice president of exploration for Gaia Metals — Mr. Darren Smith. Darren, how are you today?

Darren Smith: Good. How are you?

Gerardo Del Real: I'm well, I'm well. Thank you so much for taking the time today. Gaia had some news today, and let me read the headline and then we can get into the details. The headline reaDarren Smith:

Gaia Metals and O3 Mining Amend Option Agreement Terms for the FCI Property in Quebec. 

I want to get into the property and the merits of it. But before that, I'd love for you to explain a bit about your background because it's relevant specific to some of the portfolio that Gaia has been able to develop during a tough market, right?

Darren Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Well, myself, I'm a professional geologist; graduated from Carleton in late-2005 and I've been in the mineral exploration industry since this time. So I’ve had quite a wide exposure of the commodities and the cycles throughout the last 15 years or so. 

And I made my way to Gaia Metals and I really like our portfolio and the team involved. And the FCI property, in specific, is a property that is one of my favorites that I've worked on over the years. So I'm pretty excited to see it advance and to get drilling and going on it further.

Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the property. It's rare that you have a property that has the potential for gold, silver, copper, and lithium, right? It seems like all the key hot-words that companies tend to hit on when they're promoting a project. But there's a lot to the property that I know has the team excited. I'd love for you to articulate that for us.

Darren Smith: Yeah, so it's in the James Bay region of Quebec which is a very interesting area; very underexplored. They say it's like the Abitibi a hundred years ago. And basically, there's good infrastructure running through the area… power lines and so on. 

And it's parallel to a greenstone belt. And this greenstone belt has some pretty decent numbers that have been discovered along it in terms of gold and base and precious metals and so on. And within these greenstone belts, you can have shear-hosted gold deposits. You can also have, potentially, Archean porphyries that have been discovered in the region as well as VMS types of deposits. And what not a lot of people recognize often is that you can also get lithium pegmatites in these environments and these amphibolites and so on. 

And so this is something that we've come across and it looks quite expansive. And there's a very long trend that's only been partially explored. So we're quite excited to advance it further.

Gerardo Del Real: Gaia has the option to acquire up to a 75% interest with the potential for the commodities that I just outlined. How do you prioritize the targets moving forward?

Darren Smith: That's a good question. I'm quite excited by all of them. I'm probably most excited about the copper potential and 10 km-long trend that is the Maven Trend as we haven't drilled it at all. We made some significant discoveries in 2019 on some very high-grade copper with gold and silver there over this trend. 

And it was initially identified, briefly, several decades ago by Virginia Mines; a very, very smart group later acquired by Osisko. And they focused on the gold to the north in the Golden Gap. And they drilled a few holes and hit some good grades; 10 grams over 7 meters and so on. 

And so that's a very interesting target that remains to be followed up on. Our interpretation shows that they followed a certain trend, and you’d think it's actually following a different trend. So we're very excited to go up there and further that drilling and may even, to the south, put in some initial drill holes, as well, to test that target.

And then, of course, there's the lithium. And lithium is actually what the property was initially acquired for. We really liked the lithium potential. This was basically acquired based on a word in a report that described a spodumene crystal. And often, back in the day, people were exploring and they weren't looking for spodumene; it wasn't that interesting, the market wasn't that hot. And not a lot of people really knew what the mineral was so they would just put shiny green mineral.

And we basically went up there and found a whole outcrop with it and basically staked the property and did the deal with Osisko at the time; later spun out to O3 Mining. And basically we found a couple kilometer trend of this stuff. 

And then, basically, the market of lithium sort of fell out. But we were always very interested in it and we never got to drill it. But when we were exploring for the copper and the gold, we discovered a lot more of it. And there seems to be over a 25 kilometer trend here where we haven't even really looked, and we keep finding spodumene pegmatite. So the potential there is quite extraordinary and we're really excited to test this further; test it at depth.

Gerardo Del Real: Gaia's flagship asset is, of course, the Freeman Creek Gold Property in Idaho. What do you expect in terms of exploration for the FCI-Corvette property?

Darren Smith: For the FCI-Corvette property, the next step is to refine drill targets to the next level specifically for the Maven copper-gold-silver trend. So we're going to look at doing an IP survey here in the spring-summer period. And this we'll basically follow it up with some on-ground prospecting to fill in the gaps. 

And then with that data, we'll be able to plot our initial set of drill holes. And at the same time, we'll outline the initial set of drill holes we want to do for the lithium trend. And of course, we'll go up there and do the same thing for the gold. So it's really going to be a lot of drill planning and basically finalizing and refining our targets for a substantive drill program to follow at Corvette-FCI. 

At Freeman Creek, it's a very great project as well. And we're quite happy with the drill results. We know what's there. We have a good idea of where things are trending. And so we're going to look at potentially doing some IP at the Gold Lake prospect. 

But I'm also quite excited about the Carmen Creek prospect that's located on the Freeman Creek property as well. And we're going to do an IP survey on that this spring. And then, basically, permit for drilling and be in a position to drill that never-been-before-drilled and plot some holes in there in the summer here.

Gerardo Del Real: That's a lot to like for a company with a market cap of approximately C$3 million, Darren!

Darren Smith: Yeah! There's significant upside and there's significant torque to the upside. We have a very tight share structure and we're very cognizant of that. 

And we think that we have tremendous properties; these two in particular. Each could be a flagship of its own; Corvette-FCI or Freeman Creek. They're both in very strong jurisdictions; especially in Quebec, Corvette-FCI. And Idaho is obviously a great jurisdiction; a lot of activity for gold exploration. 

And so we feel we're very well-positioned to basically capitalize on these properties and basically make discoveries and expand shareholder value to that.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, it's not going to take much! I'm looking forward to it. Thank you so much for your time. I'm looking forward to having you back, Darren.

Darren Smith: Great. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Gerardo Del Real: Alright, have a good one. Thank you.

Darren Smith: Thank you.