Featured Companies: Alianza Minerals Ltd.
Alianza Minerals (TSX-V: ANZ)(OTC: TARSF) CEO Jason Weber on New US Copper-Project Alliance & Drilling Update from 100%-Owned Haldane Silver Project in Canada’s Yukon Territory
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Alianza Minerals — Mr. Jason Weber. Jason, how are you today?
Jason Weber: Very well, Gerardo. How are you?
Gerardo Del Real: I'm well. Thank you for asking. It was great to see the news, and let me read the headline just for a little bit of context:
Imperial X and Alianza Minerals form Southern US Copper Exploration Alliance.
The market, obviously, has reacted well to the news. We, of course, know that you're in the midst of a very important drilling program where silver is the target. Copper, despite the recent pullback; it's still at US$4.30 a pound. And I suspect this pullback is just that.
Talk to me about this alliance and what it entails and what inspired it.
Jason Weber: Well, the inspiration is actually the really neat part, I think, in all of this. It sounds maybe corny to say it, but we have, as you're aware, our Twin Canyon project in Colorado, which is kind of a different gold exploration target. And the fellow who brought that project to our attention also had knowledge of different copper opportunities throughout the Southwest.
And we started chatting about them and we soon realized that the scope of what was needed on these things probably was a little bit much for us to bite-off by ourselves. And so we started talking to the Imperial X crew. We've known Kyler and Rory, who were involved with that, for a long, long time, and about these ideas and just how we might move them forward.
And they were very interested and actually had some people they thought would potentially be partners down the road on this. So we kind of just said, Well, why don't we work together on these… we can move as many of these copper ideas forward as we can…
And with the two groups working together on it, we thought we could just cycle through more of them; do a quick evaluation. If they are what we thought they were, bring in a partner to move them forward and then move onto the next batch of ideas.
And I think that's the really interesting part in all of this is there's quite a stream of ideas. We've been through eight or nine. There's probably four that we're really quite keen on and we've been looking at these for almost a year now. So it's been a process that is just sort of culminating now. But it's been — as the copper market has been strengthening — we've been quite eager to get going on these.
So this is great for us. And I think it will be really interesting going forward as we'll have partners to come in and take the projects on from the alliance. So we'll work them up together and then jointly vend them to a partner who will move them forward.
Gerardo Del Real: It sounds like — and please correct me if I'm wrong, Jason — but it sounds like the focus will be here in the states. It's Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah-based projects is what's outlined in the release. Is that accurate?
Jason Weber: Yep, that's the area where we've sort of — I don't want to say ‘focused’ — but we've kind of focused our efforts for now. I think the other aspect to this is that, for now, these projects have sort of come in from the Alianza side. But I really see the Imperial X crew building on some of the ideas they have, too, and funneling their ideas into the alliance as well.
So it really will be a joint effort. And they're a good technical group as well so that makes it really easy to work with them. But I don't think we've ruled out working elsewhere together. But for right now — it's focused on those four states.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! And how soon… how active do you plan on being? I like that you mentioned that you were vetting these projects a year ago. It's not like copper shot to new all-time highs and all of a sudden you wanted to pivot and have a US copper exploration alliance, right? This is something that's been in the works because of the strength, technically, of both groups.
Walk me through how quick you think we'll start hearing some details on what these projects will look like, if you can. And if you can't, walk me through the criteria for vetting the projects. What specifically are you looking for?
Jason Weber: Well, one of the keys is acquiring ground. So in some cases, it's a mixture of staking claims and then talking to existing claim owners. In some cases, it's just going out and staking the ground.
Some of these are occurrences that have been worked in the past — some dating back to the early-1900s — and so, really, at this stage, it's about acquiring the ground without tipping our cap too much. So we're in that phase right now.
We've had a crew — if they're not staking today, they've just finished up — and so as we get these claims registered, we'll start to announce those properties. And when we're comfortable with our land position, we'll start to announce properties that have come into the alliance. I think that could happen fairly shortly; maybe in the next three weeks to a month we'll be down that road.
I think at the first stage for the evaluation, we've had some geos out on the ground just ground-truthing these ideas to say… Yup, they fit what we think they are… at least in a very short site visit. The next stage on a couple of them would be kind of a 10-day field program to just get a better handle on what they are and sort of set the stage for what the next phase of exploration would be.
And in some cases, we would be looking for that next phase to be carried on by an incoming partner. So it'll just depend on which targets we're looking at; how much work we're going to do on it as an alliance.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! How is drilling coming along? Let's pivot and get back to silver, right, which has held up remarkably well despite the recent gold pullback. We've seen gold attempt to break US$1,920 [per ounce]. It's failed to do so a couple of times; still at a healthy US$1,856. But silver has held in pretty well. How's drilling coming along, Jason?
Jason Weber: Yeah, so we're on our fourth hole. It's safe to say it's going slow but steady, which is not totally surprising. We know the ground is difficult to drill here. And for us, recovery of the zone is so very important. So we have to make sure, one, the drillers aren't pushing too hard because you can run into problems and you actually lose the hole.
And of course, for us, when we don't make it to target-depth, the hole is essentially useless. It doesn't matter how fast you're drilling; the meters really don't count. And then, once you're into the zone, recovering the mineralization is really key for us. And it can be fairly technical for these guys because you're dealing with a mixture of very hard and very soft material. And that's a real challenge for the drillers to effectively recover it.
So they're doing a good job on that; being really careful with it. And then, of course, we just are in the process of finishing up a raise to expand the program a little longer. We wanted to do that just because we know it's going to be difficult to get a drill rig back to the property later this summer. It's just so challenging for drill availability in the Yukon this year. So we thought it would be best to just keep going now and get some more drilling in.
And if the results warrant, we can raise some more money and come back. Maybe we can come back in the fall and, depending on the size of the program, attract a contractor back to the property. But it's just so competitive this year.
Normally, we would do some drilling, take a break, have the drill come back a month later, say, and keep going. But this year, you just can't do that. If that drill leaves the property, it may not come back. There's so much demand for them.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I always joke that when a program is expanded, it's never to not find more of what you're looking for. So, hopefully, that means that you've, at the very least, looked at and seen some good looking rock. And we know that can mean nothing when the assays come back… but I'd rather have it than not, right?
Jason Weber: Well, yeah. And that's always the challenge for us. I think I've said it before, when we had that beautiful intersection in hole No. 19 last year — 311 grams silver over 8.72 meters with some higher grade intersections over some still nice four meter plus widths — we weren't visually all that impressed with the intersection.
Subtle is not the right word. But because it gets all weathered and broken up, it's not as flashy as some other deposit types like a VMS, for example, where you just get meters of massive sulfide. This stuff isn't the same. So you can say… Yeah, that's the kind of material that could run. But until we get more holes into it, sort of predicting how well it's going to run is still a challenge for us.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I'm looking forward to those assays. I'm looking forward to results. Anything else you want to get off your chest here before I let you go, Jason? I know you have a busy day ahead of you.
Jason Weber: No, you touched on it already. I think the resilience in the silver market has been fantastic. And we are excited to get this copper news out and get these projects moving forward because I do think there is going to be a demand for copper projects for companies.
So I think it's just another great piece to add to the Alianza story and just helps build that news flow and exposure and discovery opportunities as we go forward.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot of news flow in the pipeline. Looking forward to having you back on. Thanks for your time today, Jason.
Jason Weber: Thanks, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Chat soon.
Jason Weber: Thank you.Click here to see more from Alianza Minerals Ltd.