Heliostar Metals (TSX-V: HSTR)(OTC: HSTXF) CEO Charles Funk on Latest High-Grade Gold Intercepts from Alaska Plus Update on Mexican Gold Portfolio
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Heliostar Metals — Mr. Charles Funk. Charles, how are you today?
Charles Funk: I'm very well, Gerardo. Thank you for having me.
Gerardo Del Real: It's good to have you back on. The last time you and I chatted, we spoke about the quality of the projects and the exploration upside at – not just the Alaska projects – but the Mexican portfolio as well. There's a project there I'm excited about. You've had news recently on both and I wanted to go over each bit of news.
The very first bit of news was announced on March 1st. And let me read the headline and I'll let you provide the context. The headline reads:
Heliostar finds vein beneath the historic Apollo-Sitka Mine and drills 5.1 grams per tonne (g/t) gold equivalent over 1.95 meters.
Now, you also intersected multiple sub-parallel veins. You announced 4 of the 7 holes. And the other three, I understand, are still at the lab. But I would love for you to provide a bit of context on this release because I think it may have not been as appreciated as it should be because there's some consequential implications as it relates to exploration in the future, right?
Charles Funk: Yeah, you're exactly right. We chose a terrible timing in the market to put out our news. But that happens. I think when we last talked, we were saying how we had so many quality targets. We talked about the SH-1 resource. We talked about the equivalent discovery. And now we've put the first results out from Apollo.
It was Alaska's first underground gold mine on Unga Island in the Aleutians. And the old-timers had blocked out these zones of mineralization. But because they had base metals, they couldn't economically recover those at the time.
But it's a huge opportunity for us because they sunk these shafts, dug these tunnels, estimated the grade in a couple of instances of this material between 8 and 10 grams gold equivalent. And despite them doing all of that work and telling you where it was, no one had ever drilled underneath those workings until we did the program last year. And that's what we cover with that Apollo news.
The old section was a bit of a cartoon so you were never quite sure exactly how accurate it was. And so for the first time now, we can say we know where the vein is underneath the old workings. We know that it's got some very good gold grades in it.
We just want to step out upon those this year, and we think we've got a really exciting high-probability target here.
Gerardo Del Real: This comes on the heels of excellent news you put out on the 23rd, right, where the first hole at Aquila returned 5.56 g/t gold over 5.75 meters within a wider, shallower intercept at the project.
So it's clear by the last couple of releases that you have high-priority targets to follow up on, Charles. What does that look like here moving forward?
Charles Funk: Yeah, as we talked on the fact that now we have three separate targets on one property that are all open intersections — that's incredibly rare. And so we're going back; we're mobilizing at the end of the month. And we're going to start with two RC drill rigs and one diamond rig. And our plan there is to get a lot of meters very quickly into these key targets.
We can grow Aquila along strike at-depth. We've got the clear plan for Apollo-Sitka. And then, we've got the extensions from SH-1. We believe we can get to a million high-grade ounces with some very high-probability targets. And we're going to be very aggressive in our drill program for that — starting in as little as three or four weeks.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot of news flow from Alaska. You also just announced that you've commenced your Mexican exploration, which includes drilling at La Lola. It's a project in Sonora, Mexico. Can you go over that project because I'm looking forward to results from that one as well?
Charles Funk: Yeah, we talked about Unga is clearly our flagship project; it's very advanced with those high-probability targets. But we have a very nice portfolio in Sonora. It's very close to mines like Santa Elena and Mercedes; close to the Las Chispas development project — and even El Tigre that's been in the news.
So we know this part of the world as a team extremely well. And we picked up three projects that we think all have the potential to be standalone discoveries.
La Lola is a project that we staked when I was the VP for a previous company. It's got a vein that gets up to 40 meters wide and was extensively mined for fluorite on-surface. But we looked at it and we recognized that you're shallow in the system… as in you're at the part of the system where you're going to see vein but not much gold or silver. And so the sampling that we did returned some pretty good grades up to 58 grams gold; up to 424 grams silver; but not consistent. And what that told us was that we're at a shallow level in the system. But there's evidence of very good mineralization.
So our geologists tell us that if we go deeper in the system… that's where you're going to get the sweet spot. And if you listen to the jargon — it's the boiling zone. And that sweet spot is where the mineralization will deposit.
And so we're drilling 1,500 meters to test down underneath that big, wide vein just to see if we can hit that target, which would be the core of the system. La Lola has never been drilled before. That's the kind of opportunity that exists in this part of Mexico.
Gerardo Del Real: These gold-silver epithermal projects can be very high-grade and can be very, very big. I understand that the initial program is a 1,500 meter drill program at La Lola.
Charles Funk: Yes, so two parts of that. I've been lucky enough to be involved in multiple discoveries in Mexico; involved in the Ermitaño discovery, which will go into production with First Majestic this year. And then, last year, led the Panuco discovery for Vizsla.
They can be very big systems. They can be extremely high-grade. You've just got to understand the recipe. And once you've seen it a few times, it gives you a lot more confidence to apply it in new areas. And that's exactly what we're doing. It's a starting program just to test that the vein evolves into the favorable horizon.
And if we can demonstrate that success, then we have a 5 km long vein and a whole heap of other parallel structures to step along to show how big it could become. But we want to walk before we can run… and the first step is going deeper to see whether we can find that sweet spot.
Gerardo Del Real: Charles, that's a lot of news flow for the rest of the year. I know that we're coming out of a consolidation in the precious metals space. It seems like gold is finding its legs right at that $1,700 level; silver between $25 and $26.
I believe by year end we will look back not just at the silver and gold price but at Heliostar's share price and chuckle at the current prices because I think there's a lot of upside. You have some quality projects, a quality team, good jurisdictions, a lot of news flow coming up. Anything else to add to that, Charles?
Charles Funk: No, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I suspect that you have some very astute listeners who recognize that the current pullback is an opportunity for precious metals.
And so to buy the exposure to precious metals with the talk of high-probability, high-grade targets I think makes Heliostar a very attractive opportunity. And I do think we'll smile at the end of summer about what an opportunity this call was today.
Gerardo Del Real: Agreed. Charles, thank you so much for your time; a pleasure having you back on.
Charles Funk: Perfect. Thank you, Gerardo. Have a good day.
Gerardo Del Real: You as well.