Aldebaran Resources (TSX-V: ALDE) CEO John Black on Extending High Grade Zones & New Resource Estimate at Altar Copper-Gold Project
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Aldebaran Resources, one of my favorite names in the junior space because I pronounce it differently every time I read it, in my head, anyway, Mr. John Black. John, how are you?
John Black: I'm doing very well, Gerardo. It's great to catch up with you.
Gerardo Del Real: It's great to have you back. You announced the commencement of drilling at your Altar copper-gold project. Several, several exciting targets, high priority targets. I'd love for you to provide some context.
John Black: Yes, great. We're very pleased to say that we have the drilling underway. Like many parts of the world, Argentina has been experiencing a second wave in COVID, but as an essential industry, we're allowed to work and we anticipate that we'll get a fairly normal field season. We have two rigs that have just been mobilized up to site, drilling commenced a few days ago and we look forward to the next several months. Our field season runs through April and we'll get as much drilling done as we can during that period of time.
Gerardo Del Real: You just underwent a massive, massive data collection and data modeling exercise for a good portion of, at the very least, 2020 and likely beforehand. Walk me through a bit the target generation, because these are high priority targets that everyone is expecting you to do well at.
John Black: Yes, the Altar Project is a well-known porphyry system that has been extensively explored by predecessor companies. So when we acquired the option to earn up to an 80% interest from Sibanye, the current owner of the project, we inherited a lot of drill data. The previous work had been executed very well in terms of data collection but there hadn't been a lot of detailed geological work done with that information. It was really a calculation of a resource by brute force with a large of amount of drill holes. Our group prides itself in putting a lot of work into the geologic detail of a project. We believe that's where mines are really made.
And so over the last two years, the first two years we've been on the project, we spent a lot of our time re-logging all of that core, producing the first real geologic map of the surface of the project, collecting extensive soil samples over the area and a lot of geophysical data. And that's allowed us to produce a much better geologic model of the mineralization styles. We're doing that because although the project offers the opportunity for a very, very large depositat a lower copper-gold grade,within that, we see distinct zones of notably higher grade. We think that those are going to be the key pathway towards economic development of the district -getting those starting points, those points where you can see an earlier, more economically viable recovery of your investment to develop the project. And so we were focusing on those higher grades zones. There are about four that we have identified to date with good potential of some additional ones. The more data we collect, the more targets we're generating.
What we'll be focusing on this year is these areas where we know there's higher grade mineralization. In many cases, that high-grade mineralization remains open. It's not cut off with the drilling right now. We'll be doing additional drilling, trying to expand those zones, as well as sneaking in a couple of tests on some of the additional news zones that we've identified with geologic analysis. We're trying to increase the resources in the district, but with emphasis on increasing the size and the understanding of these zones of much higher grades within the overall deposit.
Gerardo Del Real: You're also targeting an updated resource estimate to be released by the end of Q1. And it's February, so I assume that we're weeks away. Right, John?
John Black: Yes. It'll be February or March, maybe leaning a little closer to March right now when that's done. The group that's conducting the independent estimate got hit a little bit by COVID whichslowed things down slightly, but we're well on track by the end of Q1 to have this out. And as I mentioned, we currently have an existing resource, but it was one that was done with a strategy to make the deposit as large as possible. Over two and a half billion tonnes of mineralization between inferred and indicated and measured, with much of that as measured and indicated. Almost 80% of that mineralization is measured and indicated. But what it didn't allow us to do was to show what these zones of better grade mineralization look like. And so with an improved geologic model we think we can better present that information when the updated resource is ready.
As we're preparing the geologic model that forms the backbone of that resource calculation and we're beginning to see how the group is working on that resource calculation, that helps us realize which of these zones are really open. Despite a large amount of drilling, there's mineralization that's wide open in several areas on this project.
Gerardo Del Real: How much drilling do you anticipate executing on with this specific campaign?
John Black: With this campaign, we have two rigs going right now. We get an average of about 1,000 meters a rig per month of drilling, so that's 2,000 meters per month of drilling. We can drill generally through the end of April, which put us in the 5,000 to 6,000 meter range of drilling. We do have the possibility of bringing in additional rigs and that's dependent on a little bit how the COVID protocols go, as we have some limitations on the number of people we can have in camp. We'll evaluate that over the course of the next month or so to see if we increase the size of the program as we move forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. John, I'm looking forward to the results. A lot going on. Anything else that you'd like to add there?
John Black: No, just that despite increased concerns on COVID, we are able to operate almost normally in the field. There is also one additional key piece of information that we'll be collecting this summer. We're waiting for the importation of some specialized geophysical gear that will allow us to do a deep-looking IP survey. We hope to have that commence in the next 15 days or so as we get the gear in and the specialists coming in from Chile to work on the project, and that'll help us image these zones that we see of potentially higher grade mineralization. We'll continue to refine those targets as we get that additional data in during the yearand that will probably determine if we increase the drill program size based on what we see in that data as it comes in. So looking forward to seeing this project get on the map. It's a great time to be producing drill results and there are very few extremely large porphyry systems like this that are in the hands of junior companies. So this is a good one for people to keep their eyes on.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said. John, thank you as always for your time.
John Black: Okay, great. Thanks, Gerardo. Take care.
Gerardo Del Real: You as well.