Almaden Minerals (TSX: AMM) CEO Morgan Poliquin on Successful Advance of Community Water Project

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Almaden Minerals, Mr. Morgan Poliquin. Morgan, how are you this morning?

Morgan Poliquin: I'm doing really well. Thank you, Gerardo. And you?

Gerardo Del Real: I am well also, thank you for asking. You had some news yesterday that I wanted to speak with you about. You reported the successful advance of the Community Water Project. I've long supported Almaden in large part, not just because of the robust resource on the property, but the way that the company has gone about its social license and community relations. And we're talking over a decade now of leading by example. And I think that this latest release speaks really well to that. I understand that you were invited for a celebration by the locals that you are supposedly at odds with.

Morgan Poliquin: Well, thanks for the opportunity to speak to this. Yeah, it's social license. You mentioned that word and that's something that no one can can guarantee. This is a relationship with your local stakeholders when you're finding and developing resources, and we take it very seriously. We have tried to make sure that people really understand what we're trying to do. We have an enormous consultation effort that we've undertaken. We're a small group and we're very concerned about our legacy and our footprint and what we do as individuals. And so that's been our focus, is a really strong community engagement program.

And I'd love to tell you more about that, but in this particular instance, obviously we are engaged with the communities, and we have a social investment plan that will evolve with the project as it moves forward. But in this case, this particular community asked us if we would like to help and invest in a really important water infrastructure project, nothing to do with the mine plan and the water infrastructure that's in our permit application for the mine. But a program that can have an effect right away right now.

And I hope people have the opportunity to look at the video link we provided in this news so that people can see the impact that these kinds of investments and engagement with communities can bring about, even in the short-term, even during the pre-production exploration years. So I think it's something that we're really pleased, feel very fortunate that we can contribute to. And I hope our shareholders and other stakeholders feel the same way.

Gerardo Del Real: And we should be clear. I want to provide some details because the project isn't... Or better phrased, is very consequential. I mean, this is providing fresh water and local irrigation capacity that's leading to crops being grown and food for a community that, like all communities, can benefit from it, right?

Morgan Poliquin: Absolutely. Access to fresh water, I think, numerous international organizations, including the United Nations has recognized for developing areas of the world, is the most critical, one of the most critical matters. And this mine project proposal that we currently submitted a permit on, we have even broader plans to address those and enhance community access to water. But this is obviously a project, as you say, extremely meaningful to this community, but isn't even part of the... It's something that we could do right away. And we've always tried to see what are the meaningful projects. And you find that out through engagement and you find that out through dialogue. And it's not always what you think. It's what they think that matters. And so really opening that dialogue and listening. And this is what evolved through that discussion.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Let's pivot to exploration on the actual project. How is the data collection and next steps coming along?

Morgan Poliquin: Yeah, thanks for asking. Well, obviously we've been focused on the Ixtaca resource and project, and we've submitted our permits and that sort of thing. And, everyone, I think knows that focus. So it was time for us to go back to the desktop. That's what I do, obviously. I lead the geologic efforts and I'm the technical person in charge of that. And I was really excited to get back to the desktop and start to look at the geology again. And basically, epithermal systems are big. They have big alteration zones that are associated with them, but very often there are these kind of sheet-like features that are called veins that are fairly discreet relative to the alteration footprint.

So we got very lucky and found the Ixtaca deposit with the first hole that targeted the alteration zone there. And the same alteration zone that's above the Ixtaca deposit, extends for some distance away. And, this clay alteration kind of looks all the same when you're looking at it with a rock in hand, but there's different minerals there that are hard to discern with the eye. And the satellite work that we've been able to do has defined some minerals that we think focus our attention.

So, we've reported our work there, our sampling there, and right now we're just putting all that data together. As you can imagine, we're closing in on Christmas and we've collected new data that we've announced, and we're putting it all together to come up with a plan on first pass drilling.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. And in the meantime, we continue to await word from SEMARNAT on the permitting process, correct?

Morgan Poliquin: That's exactly right. It's a complicated subject, it would appear. But basically SEMARNAT put our permit review on hold a little over a year ago, on the basis of a matter that recently a court has said that they didn't need to use that reason, that they have to resolve the permit application now, independent of that concern that they had. So, that's described extremely fully in all our documentation, and we're really hopeful that when SEMARNAT receives this notification, whenever they do that they'll get back to their review process.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Excellent. Well, obviously, as you can imagine, a decade in the making and in the waiting. Exciting times for the company. Morgan, if I don't chat with you before the New Year's, have a great holiday, have a great Christmas, have a great new year. Though I suspect we may chat once or twice before then.

Morgan Poliquin: I hope so, but to all your listeners and subscribers, thank you Gerardo. And to all of them, a happy Christmas as well. And hope for a much better 2021. This has been a challenging year for everyone I know.

Gerardo Del Real: Agreed. Agreed. Thanks, Morgan. Appreciate the update.

Morgan Poliquin: Thank you.