General Base Metals
Aldebaran Resources (TSX-V: ALDE)(OTC: ADBRF) CEO John Black on Positioning for a Copper Bull Market in Red Hot Argentina
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Aldebaran Resources, Mr. John Black. John, it's great to have you back on. How are you?
John Black: I'm doing well. How are you doing, Gerardo?
Gerardo Del Real: I am well. I am looking forward to catching up in person next week at Beaver Creek. I encourage everyone that is there and is attending to stop by and say hello. But look, I reached out because you just reported the remaining holes from the 2021-2022 drill program at the Altar Project. And so it was a pretty lengthy news release. And I thought that the context was important because it's very easy to look at a headline number like 1,034.5 meters of 0.39% copper equivalent from 207 meters depth, and just focus on that aspect of it.
But there were some high-grade gold hits in new parts of the property. There's a resource estimate that you're looking to wrap up here shortly. And from the sounds of it, it looks like you're planning a pretty aggressive follow-up drill program. So I figured I'd get you on the line here and let you summarize it for us.
John Black: Yes. This release was the summary of all the remaining holes from the project. So now everything's fully reported from last field season and the real highlights are that we had four lengthy holes into the Radio porphyry on the west side. Keep in mind, this is the porphyry center that we currently don't report a resource from. And we continue to add long runs of mineralization with the exception of hole 50 which we stopped short right at the end of the season, just as it was getting into the mineralization zone when the snow hit. So we'll go back into that hole as soon as we can get back into the project in a few months, but we continue to report on the order of 600-1000 meters of copper-gold mineralization in each holeas long runs of low to moderate grade mineralization. But within those zones, we see higher grade portions and the important thing is that zone is definitely showing some volume. We will be working up over the next couple of months a new resource estimate for the Radio zone to incorporate into the larger resource we already reported on the main part of the system.
And then there are also several shorter holes into the QDM gold zone. That's where we had a really nice high-grade gold hit last year, and in the holes reported now we tended to get longer runs of more moderate grade, but we're certainly showing that there's probably an extension to the already reported gold mineralization at QDM.
So pretty excited to have all that data out. And now we're very actively planning the upcoming drill season. We anticipate we'll be getting into the camp in October and drilling just as quickly as we can and have a much more lengthy and extensive field season coming up in 2022-23.
Gerardo Del Real: This part of Argentina is a region that is seeing surging investment in capital from, not just juniors or explorers, but from majors, the BHPs of the world, the South32's of the world. Can you speak to the activity there and what it's like working in Argentina right now which has emerged as a great attractive mining jurisdiction given the relative instability of some of your neighbors?
John Black: It's pretty exciting right now and also challenging in many ways. We're trying to lock down drill rigs at the moment and make sure we get all of our best personnel back to work and all of our neighbors are ramping up at the same time. So it's fun. And it's very, very active right now.
A lot of that is due to the geology. We have a number of exciting copper deposits emerging around us as well as our own assets as well. And we're getting good support from the government. Not only are they providing an environment that allows us to work, they're actually taking steps to encourage foreign investment and they're asking us questions about what do they need to do to make it easier for us to work, which is a wonderful setting compared to some parts of the world right now. So very active in that sense. And I think there's no better way to demonstrate that than to just look at some of the investment by the major mining companies into projects like ours in San Juan.
We've announced a new partnership with South32, providing us with funding and setting us up well for this year. So we now have Sibanye Stillwater and South32 as major partners on our project going forward. We've also seen BHP come in with a very large investment into Filo for an exciting project that they're working to the north of us. And just recently last week, we've seen Rio Tinto announce an alliance with McEwen Copper for the nearby Los Azules. So we're seeing three or four of the major copper companies in the world placing bets on the activity in San Juan right now. And I don't think there's a spot in the earth right now that has more investment activity and more exploration drilling going on than where we're at in San Juan.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot to like, a lot of news flow. I'm excited to see rigs turning again. I'm excited to see a resource update for Radio when, and if that happens, right? I know that you mentioned in the release that you were pondering and contemplating whether additional drilling will be required to get that resource update out to the market. And so hopefully that is something that we see soon. Anything else to add to that, John?
John Black: No, just to touch on that last point is as we look at it right now, it's clear we still have mineralization open in a couple directions. So we may elect to get a couple of additional early holes into that area this next season and then do a data cutoff at the end of the year, but we still anticipate we'd be putting out an updated resource in the early part of next year for the QDM Radio part of the system. One of the things in projects like this due to the seasonality of projects in this part of the Andes is we sometimes get a big gap in news flow. There might be concern that we've just cleared the decks with all the data from last year, and it will be a while before we see more news, but within the next month or so we'll be able to announce what our plans are going forward and we'll be able to get drilling much more quickly this year. So it won't be long before we're back to producing more drill results again. So we hope to smooth out the data flow on the project as we move forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it. I just read a report calling for $6 copper here within the next several years. I know you've gone on the record publicly and stated that if copper just stays at current levels, given the resource that you have already developed and given the upside potential, as far as exploration goes, I think it bodes well for the direction of the share price here in the not too distant future. Any thoughts on the copper space before I let you go, John?
John Black: No. I agree with you and the report that you just read. We seem to be in a beaten up in the sector just a little bit right now, but when we see inflation under control worldwide and get markets back pointed in the right direction, I think we'll see an explosion in the copper price. As an industry, we're just not delivering the projects that are necessary to keep up with what will be a clearly increasing demand for copper. So the majors are already positioning themselves to acquire these types of projects and now continue to do so. I think we're going to be in a very exciting space in the next couple of years.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, you and the team have a history of monetizing assets like this, and it's at much higher valuations than Aldebaran's current market cap. So looking forward to it. John, pleasure as always. See you in Beaver Creek.
John Black: See you next week, take care.