General Base Metals
Aguila Copper Corp. (TSX-V: AGL)(OTCQB: AGLAF) CEO Mark Saxon on Advancing Multiple Drill Ready Copper Projects in U.S.
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Aguila Copper, the very busy Mr. Mark Saxon. Mark, a lot going on. How are you?
Mark Saxon: Gerardo, good afternoon. Great to talk to you again.
Gerardo Del Real: It's great to have you on. You had some news here a few days ago, and then you had some news a week ago, and then you had some news three to four weeks ago. It's all on different projects. A lot of geo work going on, a lot of quality exploration work on the ground. Walk me through the latest bit of news.
And then for people that may not be familiar with Aguila Copper, give me a brief overview of the company and the approach, because I think Aguila stands to benefit from an excellent share structure, an excellent team, and you're putting together quite an impressive portfolio of projects for a company that has a tiny, tiny market cap.
We've seen similar success with a friend of ours and a director on Aguila Copper, Blair Way with Patriot Battery Metals, where the company languished between 16 cents and 30 cents. And they had a great portfolio of projects, they had a solid share structure after a consolidation, and all of a sudden, they hit with the drill bit. Now it's off to the races from 16 cents, where I wrote an initial check, to a high of 1.50 just yesterday, right?
Mark Saxon: Yeah, big question there, and I'll touch on all those pieces as we talk, Gerardo. I guess let's talk a little about Aguila and how we got here and some of the history and what we're doing in the future, I suppose, I think is a good way to break that down.
So Aguila was an old company. I took it over as CEO, let's say 18 months ago, mid-COVID. It all gets a bit blurry now, the COVID story bit. So when I came in as CEO, we were looking for, I guess, to do something a little bit different, and to take a big vision on discovery. And so we started off on a gold project in Oregon, and really large land holding, really interesting project and lots of alteration. It turned out not to be the one, but the land holding was great, and it really taught us about the things that are important in operating inside the US.
And so, we changed the name of the company, as you saw, so we went from gold into copper, and we really beefed up our strategy in project generation and looking at new ideas in copper.
I suppose we started that process by looking at other people's projects, looking at the projects that were available, and compared the portfolios. I must say it was a little bit disappointing. Those number, three, four, five projects that are in someone's back pocket, didn't look right to us. They were almost all in outcrop that had lots of work on them. A few drill holes were interesting, but the momentum had run out on that project.
So we stepped away from that and we said, "All right, let's go and do our own work and have a look under shallow cover, near some of those really interesting projects." That's the approach we've applied to put together a really good portfolio in the US, and I think that's the focus for us on this conversation. And at the end, we can touch on what we're doing in Manitoba.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Let's talk US-based projects. I mentioned that you're putting together a pretty impressive portfolio of US-based projects, one in Arizona, you just had some news on. Can we speak to that a bit?
Mark Saxon: Yeah, absolutely. The project in Arizona, which is called Cora, so Cora was our first acquisition on open ground within the US. And so that took a bit of learning on the pegging process and making sure we were doing that correctly. Yeah. We now understand that really well, and we've got the team to go ahead and repeat this as our model, I guess.
So we looked in that southern Arizona area, and we were looking at, I guess, all of the major projects, and we were looking for a small project that looked like one of the major projects, I guess. We had looked at some competitor projects and they were all sitting in the outcrop areas. And in those outcropping areas, if you've got a little indication of copper, then it's probably had a hundred years of claims sitting on top of it. It's got really complex claim histories, really hard to get a good position.
So that's where we dug back into the geological survey data, Arizona geological survey, and started to look at places where people had drilled up to a hundred years ago, up to 70 years ago, with a bit of an indication of copper. That's where Cora came from. In fact, we really lucked out with that one. There's a drill hole on our ground there that was drilled, let's say, 70 years ago, and that was 220 meters of almost 0.3% copper, 0.29% copper, and it starts at 50 meters and continues to the end of the hole. And so that was drilled in the 1950s and to all intents that we have found in the data records, it was never followed up. So we jumped on that, and then we built a good land position around that drill hole and that set of drill holes, and that became the Cora project.
I guess the real reason that it's caught my eye this week and it's really come up as a talking point, is I shared a map on LinkedIn and on Twitter about all of the major projects that are sitting around this Cora project. And so half of the copper in the US is sitting within 50 or 60 kilometers of this project. We're talking to the south, we've got Silver Bell, we've got Oracle Ridge, we've got Ray, we've got Christmas, all of these major porphyry projects. Sitting in the middle is Cora, and that's a really exciting place to be, and just under shallow cover and very explorable.
So we've just announced and we're flying an aeromagnetic survey and that aeromag survey will be the way to see the signature of a porphyry that's under shallow cover, and that's a really effective exploration tool at very economical cost.
Gerardo Del Real: Correct me if I'm wrong, but the plan is once you identify some drill targets at Cora, the plan is to drill this project later this year, right?
Mark Saxon: Correct. That's our plan for this year, and really as soon as we can. So we'll be seeing the data very soon from the aeromag survey. We combine that with the past drilling data and we can call ourselves drill-ready immediately. The land is reasonably flat because it's got what's called the pediment. It's flat cover, easy driving access and we can have a rig on there as soon as a rig's available. I guess that's the pinch point at the moment in exploration.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned that intercept of 225 meters of just under 0.3% copper. That was all oxide copper mineralization, right?
Mark Saxon: That's correct. The whole intersection and it's 70 years ago and it was drilled by, obviously, independent third parties, a major company of the day. We believe it's good data. Yeah, we're talking oxide copper for more than 200 meters which was stunning to see when we found those results.
We've seen description of the logs. We've seen other drill holes in the area. The numbers hold up, it makes good sense, it's consistent. Really looks like an exciting target sitting under shallow cover.
Gerardo Del Real: Tell me a bit about the activity elsewhere in the portfolio.
Mark Saxon: Yeah, for sure, and let's jump north into Nevada with the Lida project. And again, the Lida we picked up on the Walker Lane, which is a very well known feature that holds a lot of major deposits within in the Western US. Again, we were picking our way along the Walker Lane belt, trying to look for unusual deposits, things with slightly different signatures, things associated with magnetic highs in the public data, things that had smaller occurrence that hadn't been followed up on.
As we ticked our way along, we'd noticed that Rio Tinto was working on a project there called New York Canyon, and so Kennecott in the US. So we tried to look for something that looks a little bit similar to what they're doing, and find some of the analogs. And we came off to the south looking at prospects and there was Lida. And we really expected that most of Lida would be undercover and certainly that's what the historic maps were showing. But we get onsite there and there's a huge area of copper oxide mineralization, and we've shared some good photos of that on the website. Beautiful green rocks. We're getting lots of samples above 2% copper with some really surprising high-grade silvers as well, 400 grams per tonne of silver in some of those samples.
We have no record of drilling on this project that's gone beneath a very shallow cap. We have found some records of an IP survey, which shows an IP anomaly, a broad anomaly, well below any historic sampling or drilling or shaft. That's really the key target for us, this buried fat line target. That looks really exciting for a porphyry or skarn target in that region and something that, again, it's getting close to drill-ready. We'll be doing an IP survey as soon as the crew becomes available. We've got that contract and, again, very drillable in the short and medium term.
Gerardo Del Real: Got to touch on Manitoba?
Mark Saxon: And, yeah, the one minute on Manitoba, which is our flagship project in the Sherridon district, and we've managed to put together a super portfolio there with multiple resource projects, with $30 million or something that's been spent in the past on exploration. It's got more than 500 drill holes. It was a major VHMS camp that produced from the 1930s to the mid-1950s, really exciting project and a company making project alone, sitting there in Manitoba.
Gerardo Del Real: And yet the market cap is sub-$7 million Canadian? Did I get that right?
Mark Saxon: It is. Yes. Yeah. We're at the starting gates. And so yeah, there's tremendous upside in Aguila, and we've put together a great portfolio in a down market, and this is one of the ones I believe, that'll have a great run once the markets pick up and we get noticed. And yeah, that's my job. I'm working hard on it.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned in your presentation and in the news release, that Aguila has focused on copper, nickel and lithium acquisition, exploration and development. I haven't seen nickel and lithium in the portfolio. Did I miss that or is that something that is still in the cards?
Mark Saxon: That's still in the cards for us, but I guess, when we look at our exploration strategies, they're the places that we're focusing our work on. Obviously we've made big inroads into copper and we're really pleased with our copper portfolio.
When you look at Manitoba, though, Manitoba has a number of very good lithium explorers and it's got a hundred-year history in nickel production. And so, obviously we're mindful of the opportunities in Manitoba, but elsewhere as well. We're keeping our ears to the ground, let's say, on those other commodities.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot to like, a lot to look forward to, especially this early on. We've known each other for over a decade now, Mark. I love being early to stuff. It often requires a bit of patience, but man, when we get it right, boy, does it pay off. And again, with a market cap just under $7 million Canadian, just one project, right, has seen over $30 million spent on it. It's a past producing company making project. For the stock to be where it's at today, I think is a phenomenal opportunity, and I'm looking forward to an exciting 2022. Anything to add to that?
Mark Saxon: No, I think that's a great story and we're excited about what we're doing, and having a lot of fun, and working with good people, which makes a big difference, and we're going to make a major discovery this year. I'm sure. We're excited about that.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it. As always, thanks for your time, Mark.
Mark Saxon: Thanks, Gerardo. All right, chat soon. Cheers.
Gerardo Del Real: All right, bye, now.