Sun Metals (TSX-V: SUNM) CEO Steve Robertson Talks Challenges, Opportunities and What to Expect in 2020 at the Stardust Copper-Gold Project in BC
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Sun Metals (TSX-V: SUNM)(OTC: SMTTF), Mr. Steve Robertson. Steve, how are you today?
Steve Robertson: I'm doing well, Gerardo. Thanks very much for calling.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much for taking the time. I know that you're in Vancouver for the multiple conferences that are going on. I'd love to get a brief overview there on your take of the environment, the energy and the interest level compared to past years.
Steve Robertson: Oh, it's a good environment right now. We're actually quite positive. The attendance is up at Roundup over last year. And of course, in Canadian dollars the gold price is at a record high and I think that a lot of people are feeling that the base metal markets are really turning around to the positive. The fundamentals are just fantastic for the base metals side of things. So a lot of people that are excited about a lot of these projects.
Gerardo Del Real: That's good news. Let's talk about what's dominated the chat boards here in the past few days. Let's just get it out of the way. There was a news release that was quote-unquote accidentally leaked. The contents of it weren't very well received by the market to say the least. I want to get that out of the way. You've always shot straight with me, Steve. I've always appreciated it and I just want to address the elephant in the room before we talk about 2020 and provide a brief review of 2019.
Steve Robertson: Yeah absolutely, Gerardo. Well, it certainly is an unfortunate incident. We had a contractor who was setting up for a news release that we were anticipating to come on Monday morning.
He had some draft documents and was establishing all the hyperlinks. It takes about two hours to get everything ready for a news release. We do it with draft documents in advance so that when we get the final copy everything can be substituted in and then made viewable and we're ready to go in a few minutes instead of two hours.
The unfortunate accident was that the contractor made the draft documents viewable and it was viewed by a few people on Friday. The stock was down half a cent on Friday. So I don't think that there was much effect on the market. It wasn't viewed until late in the day. We took it down as soon as we were aware that this was the case. Certainly we're doing a full investigation into exactly what the contractor was doing and where he went wrong.
We'll be making sure that we, first of all, hold people accountable that were responsible for it. And secondly, we'll make sure that this can't happen again. The other thing I can comment on was we made sure that we got the real news out on Monday morning, January the 20th, pre-market so that there was no additional trading that took place without that proper news release out there.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the opportunity now, because obviously the stock sold off on both the leak and the actual news once it was put out on Monday morning. You reported some assays, you provided a good overview and review of 2019 and you talked 2020.
So that brings me to the opportunity at hand, right? Anytime you see the market cap of a company shaved off and the company is; A, still cashed up, B, still exploring and C, still with at least a couple of quarters of continuous news flow coming up. I'd love to highlight what the opportunity is there, if there is one.
Let's go in order. Let's talk about 2019 and the program and everything that was accomplished there.
Steve Robertson: Absolutely. Well, it's been a great year from our perspective. We went from being a one-hole discovery in late 2018 to now we've got 15 pierce points into this zone. We've extended it to a plunge length of 325 meters. The average mineralized intercept from 2019 was 34 meters long. The arithmetic average of the grades that were in those mineralized intercepts was 3.1% copper equivalent. So very high-value material in a potentially a bulk mineable thickness.
So when you're talking about 34 meters mineralized length, that is sort of leading one to think, well this could be a long-hole stope target. The average mining costs for that in Canada would be about $50 per tonne. And at 3.1% copper equivalent. We're talking about $200 per tonne gross metal value in that material.
So very high-margin material that we're starting to block out here. And with the 325 meter plunge length, it's really shaping up to be quite a substantial zone and we're getting closer to actually having a mine on our hands, I believe.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the results that didn't yield anything of significance. I know the implication there was that there was a faulted down drop in the area. Is that correct?
Steve Robertson: Yeah. On the north end where we thought we were going to be drilling into the target, we kept on hitting hanging wall stratigraphy. So obviously there's been a significant down drop. It doesn't kill things to the north though, which is unfortunately the perception.
It's just getting deeper there. We feel at this point that rather than chasing that zone from surface, and especially in consideration of the fact that we had a nice hit on the south end, we want to now take the time to reevaluate and perhaps refocus the exploration on the south end.
Gerardo Del Real: I mentioned off top that you didn't have to go back to the market right away – or that might've been off the record, but I know you don't have to. Can we talk about the treasury, where that is and what to look forward to here in 2020?
Steve Robertson: Yeah. We've got $3.8 million in flow-through dollars left at the end of the 2019 season. So that'll have to be spent before the end of the 2020 season. So that'll be earmarked for work on the ground at Stardust in 2020. So that'll be a substantial program that we'll be able to undertake with that.
I think that we're going to have lots of opportunities available to us. As I said, the zone is still open in several areas and so we're definitely going to have a lot of targets that we're going to need to follow up on in the coming season.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Steve, anything else that you'd like to add?
Steve Robertson: No. I know that there's been a negative reaction to this news release and I hope that people will actually take the opportunity to take a look at the value that we've created on this project over the last year.
I really think that this is a tremendous opportunity. At the levels the stock is trading at right now this is a real value proposition. So we're hoping that we can turn around the sentiment in the next few months and get things heading back in the right direction.
Gerardo Del Real: I know you said the team is getting back together and reviewing all the data. When do you plan to have an outline and a detailed news release on what the next step is, in regards to drilling? I know obviously everybody's looking forward, right?
Steve Robertson: Yeah. We're going to have our next major conference, the PDAC, which is in Toronto the first weekend in March, and I would certainly like to have news out before PDAC to talk about the direction that the company is going to be taken in 2020.
Gerardo Del Real: Steve, pleasure as always. Appreciate the transparency and obviously I always appreciate the time. Thank you so much.
Steve Robertson: All right. Thanks, Gerardo.