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Bravo Mining (TSX-V: BRVO)(OTC: BRVMF) Director Stephen Quin on Exploring & Developing PGM+Au+Ni Luanga Deposit & Potential Game Changing Discovery
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the director for Bravo Mining, Mr. Stephen Quin. Stephen, it's been quite a bit since we spoke publicly, anyhow. How have you been?
Stephen Quin: It's been good. It's been a big change, but a lot of interesting things that I'm involved in, and pretty exciting.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get right into the one that I am most biased about, right? There is a company that I am a shareholder of, called Bravo Mining. Again, I am biased; I'm a shareholder. But you were involved with a company, Chalice Mining. You are a director at Chalice, and it's interesting to me, when you and I chatted about Bravo and we chatted about the Luanga Project, because I saw a lot of similarities. And this is my biased mind speaking now, but I actually like Luanga a little bit more for the exploration upside, and because I think it'll have less permitting hurdles.
Now, that's a big statement for me to make, because the share price of Chalice, the market cap there, just to get there, we would need a fivefold return from current levels on Bravo. So I wanted to have you on, just to get your take about why you decided to lend your expertise and your name to Bravo and the Luanga Project, because I know you don't do that very easily.
Stephen Quin: Yeah certainly happy to, Gerardo. Yeah, I was on the board of Chalice Mining for just over 10 years, and we spent eight years in purgatory, being an exploration company and having some modest successes and challenging markets and things like that. But ultimately, about three years ago, we drilled a discovery hole into a new nickel-copper PGM deposit, which happened to be 70 kilometers from Perth in Western Australia. I mean, it's almost downtown. You can drive it in 45 minutes from the center of Perth, one of the biggest exploration cities in the world, and there it was sitting.
And it obviously led to a spectacular success, and Chalice's market cap went up to over four billion, at one point, Australian, and is still around two billion or over two billion dollars, Australian, based on having found a pretty spectacular PGM nickel deposit. And then unfortunately/fortunately, there's always a silver lining, Australia has fairly strict rules on board tenure, so I had been over 10 years on the board, and it was time for me to step off, because after 10 years, they consider you non-independent.
So I stepped down from the board, and I did very well out of it, because the stock went from 20 cents to nine dollars. And not complaining, but that created an opportunity, that shortly after that, I got a call from Nikki Adshead-Bell, who was just getting involved in a new startup company called Bravo Mining. And the reason she called me was because they were working on a nickel PGM deposit, very similar to what Chalice had found in Western Australia. And would I be interested? And obviously, I'd just come off with a lot of experience on drilling off and proving up a very significant deposit there, so it appealed to me, and I got involved, and it's been pretty exciting.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I have to say: One of the first things, after the share structure, that I look at with a company, is insider holdings and just how much skin in the game management has. Let me go down the list here. The chairman and the CEO has 52.2 million shares, the last time I looked. Fully reporting, by the way, and that's critical for anybody that's maybe newer to the space. You can own 52 million shares and maybe report on five million shares, and then trade in and out of your position, without having to disclose it with the other remaining shares. That clearly is not the case here; all of these shares are reporting. You mentioned Nikki; she owns over a million shares. I believe you own over a million shares. Tony, Stuart, they own over a million shares.
So even the CFO and the VP of Exploration, they own nearly a million shares, so shareholder interest is directly aligned with making this a success. And so let's talk about the merits of the project and why you like the project and again, just why you're lending your name to it.
Stephen Quin: Sure absolutely, and I think it's a situation where we've all been able to bring our collective experience to the table and create the ideal company from all perspectives: from shareholder perspective, from investor perspective, from employees and directors' perspective. So what we try to do is create a structure where, as you say, there is that strong alignment of interest. And full marks to Luis Azevedo, the CEO. He could have taken it all. He could have sold the project for a lot of money through other companies, but he's been ensuring that all of his directors and all of his senior staff are aligned and have the same interest to the shareholders, by having a significant vested interest.
And why I was willing to step into it is I hadn't heard about the project. It had been buried in the bowels of Vale, which is one of the world's biggest mining companies, second-biggest iron ore miner in the world, and had been buried there for over 20 years. And when Nikki called me, she introduced me to Luis, and I said, "Well, send me some information; what's it about?" And I start looking at it, and I think, "Wow, this just looks like Chalice." But what Chalice has discovered, it's very similar kinds of grades and thicknesses. It outcrops on surface the same as Chalice does, things like that.
But it doesn't come with the exploration risk we had at Chalice when we first found it, and when we first drilled the first hole, we didn't know how big it was going to be and where it was going to go, and obviously, there's a lot of risk in exploration. As you keep drilling, hopefully, you find more. But here, Vale drilled off 250 holes, 50,000 meters of drilling, and proved up a historical resource of pretty significant tonnage and grade.
So we didn't have exploration risk. We were getting in as though it was a discovery, for very low cost, but it was already drilled to say that there was a large good-grade deposit there. And they'd also done the metallurgy, to say that "Yeah, you could make a recoverable, economic-looking concentrate." Obviously, a lot more work to be done on that, still, but it looks good; the fatal flaw has been addressed.
And it's also in an area which is easily one of the best places, if not the best place in the world, to mine. The Carajás District in Brazil is one of the leading, if not the leading, mining center in the world. It's the second-biggest iron ore mining district in the world. It's got some of the best copper-gold deposits in the world. It's got nickel deposits and things like that. Never had PGMs, though, of any significance, and this was a new type of deposit and quite different. But you're in an area which has infrastructure. One of the biggest power lines in the world runs across the edge of the property. We have paved highway that's about 15 kilometers away, but the road that goes to the site is almost as good a quality as paved, and it's going to be paved in the next year or so by Vale, because it was one of their commitments to one of the communities. So you've got power, you've got road, you've got port and rail infrastructure, and we have an agreement with Vale. We can use their rail, which is a significant benefit.
So you have all of this infrastructure and facilities in place, and yet it's not really habitated. There's a few very large-scale farms, which we have entered agreements with on the property, but there's almost nobody living there, and you're a long way from any big city. And unfortunately, big cities tend to have a reputation of being difficult to deal with on permitting new mines that are close by. And I don't know what's going to happen in Perth with Chalice, but it's good being 70 kilometers from Perth. In some ways, it's going to be more challenging. But here, we don't have to deal with that, because you're in a mining area, and there are no big towns or communities, and the ones that are there are all involved in mining anyway.
So I just saw a lot of the similarities and a lot of the advantages that Chalice had, but none of the disadvantages. And back to a comment you just made, Brazil has a very structured, well-defined permitting process, that if you know what you're doing, and Luis Azevedo, as CEO, has done it 13 times already, so he knows what he's doing. You can get through in two or three years, and then on top of that, they've just introduced a critical minerals strategy. And our project has been declared one of 20 strategic minerals projects in Brazil, which should result in expedited – doesn’t mean short-circuited – just get-done-more-efficiently permitting. And so we should get permitted very quickly and efficiently, as long as we do our job.
So there's a lot of wins, in respect to Bravo, and I just think it's not just one of the best projects I've been involved in, in my career, but one of the best-structured companies and one of the best management groups. And that combination of having all of those attributes at the same time is pretty rare.
Gerardo Del Real: I had someone that I'm close with, that I have all of the time in the world for, that's a mentor to me, who said, "Gerardo, if this project and this company, which is so well-structured, doesn't work, I'm leaving the resource business." And it was the first time in my 14, 15 years of knowing him that I had ever heard him as confident about something working. And obviously, that's based on the fact that there's already a historical estimate that's robust. The share structure is excellent. The infrastructure is fantastic. The wealth of knowledge, not just the technical team, but the capital markets experience, is world-class. And to add to all of that, you have a ton of core that's being re-assayed from when Vale drilled this out. And I believe some 80% of it is coming back, returning actually higher grades than what was initially recorded, which typically, when we get into this exercise, we end up seeing the opposite. We end up seeing that the data maybe was compromised or the QA/QC wasn't what it was supposed to be. And here, we're actually getting the bonus of seeing the correlation to our favor.
And now we add this copper-nickel massive sulfide discovery that I know, as the team, I'm very, very excited, that you just reported on here a month or two ago. That's being followed up on now, and it seems like the perfect combination of factors to make for a successful company.
Now, you mentioned Luis and his doing the permitting cycle 13 times. I believe he's got over 30 years' experience. He's monetized several, several assets in Brazil for half a billion dollars, right around give or take a few million bucks. So clearly, the experience is there. Tell me about this copper-nickel massive sulfide discovery. I know it's early; I know you're one hole in, but I know the team is excited about it, and the potential there is pretty incredible.
Stephen Quin: Yeah, no, this deposit is classic, very similar to Chalice and others of similar nature. And it's a layered ultramafic. Not to get into geology, but it's just a certain type of deposit where you get layers like layers in a cake. And the cream in the layer cake is what you really want. That's where all the PGMs are, in the nickel. And so these horizons are well-defined. They stretch over at least seven-and-a-half kilometers, based on drilling, and down 200, 300 meters, based on drilling that's been done to date. So these layers are very uniform. They're very extensive, and they're predictable, and that's what you want.
The obvious question is: "Well, where did all this stuff come from?" It doesn't just appear in this layer. There's something that's feeding this system. And what you often find in these types of deposits are there are massive sulfide feeders that feed up into these systems, and they tend to be very high grade. They're not necessarily huge in tonnage, but grade more than offsets. And Vale, even though they drilled 252 holes, based on everything that we've seen to date, and we've looked at a lot of their historic core, which is still being shipped back, but we've looked at a lot of it, and all their drill logs and all their assays. They never saw a massive sulfide feeder system or type of geology that could be a feeder system.
And so we're about a third of the way through our phase one drill program, and we stepped in between two relatively wide-spaced Vale holes that were a couple hundred meters apart. And we're infill drilling, so we stepped halfway in between and drilled into some massive sulfides that's almost solid sulfides and is high nickel, high copper. And we're still waiting for the PGMs. Fingers crossed they're going to be high PGMs, as well. But even just looking at the nickel and copper we've got to date: very, very attractive grades. And obviously now, the question: "Is there any size to this feeder, and which direction does it go?"
And there're a bit like a river feeding a lake. You find the river, but you don't know which way it meanders and which way it goes, so they can be hard to drill for. So we're doing down-hole geophysics, which is basically a glorified metal detector, and it can detect metal. And so what we're trying to do with that is determine which way it's going, from the thick intersect we had. Is it going east? Is it going west? Is it going steeply down, shallowly down? Different questions like that. And then we'll be able to step out and chase this down. And ultimately, if you are successful and you go from the fantastic to the ridiculous, does it feed into the original feeding chamber, which can be spectacularly high grade?
And probably the best example in the world in recent years of that was Voisey Bay. They discovered high grade near surface. They found a feeder zone, and they chased the feeder zone down, and they discovered what's called the Ovoid Deposit, which was world-class. Don't know; that's all speculation at this time, but it's like the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake. We don't know, but it's worth chasing, because if you find something like that, it could be pretty spectacular.
But we shouldn't let that overshadow that we've got a seven-and-a-half-kilometer-long deposit that goes down 200 meters that based on historic work, is a multimillion-ounce, good-grade PGM nickel deposit.
Gerardo Del Real: You have, last I looked, roughly 45 million dollars in cash, Canadian. You went public amidst one of the toughest markets in recent memory in the resource space, and the overall indices, if we're being frank. The balance sheet is there, the team is there, the infrastructure of the project. You have a new, potentially very, very significant discovery that you're chasing, and there's a historic resource there that's already robust. Checks a lot of boxes. Stephen, anything to add to that?
Stephen Quin: No, I just think it's one of the cleanest, best-structured projects that is also an outstanding project with tremendous exploration upside. So I'm pretty excited. I'm really enjoying being involved. It's a great team, lots of expertise, and everybody's got their shoulder to the wheel, and their interests are aligned with shareholders and investors.
Gerardo Del Real: Six rigs turning. I expect a lot of assays here over the coming months and years. Thank you.
Stephen Quin: Absolutely.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much, Stephen. Appreciate your time, and let's do this more often. One last question while I have you: What else are you involved with? I know for a while, you were running and steering the ship there at what's now called Perpetua, but Midas Gold. And you got involved with Bravo; I loved seeing your name there. What else are you doing out there?
Stephen Quin: Yeah, so I'm on a couple of technical committees. One that's also very exciting, that I'm a shareholder of, is called Reunion Gold. Made a spectacular discovery in Latin America, a gold discovery, in this case. I'm on the technical committee of that, and so providing technical advice, so that's a pretty exciting one. Some pretty spectacular grades and thicknesses, hitting 50 meters of three-gram gold near surface pretty regularly is pretty unusual, so that one is pretty interesting.
I'm also a technical advisor to a company called TDG Gold, and it's got a pretty exciting gold package up in central British Columbia, right next to a company called Benchmark, which had a couple of years of really aggressive drilling, and has drilled off a four or five-million-ounce resource right next door. TDG has essentially what is probably the source and heat driver for the entire area. It's a big porphyry system, and it has a gold deposit on the other side of the porphyry from where Benchmark is. So potentially, what you usually find with these gold deposits around porphyries is they encircle it. So we have potentially the heat driver and a gold discovery there, so that's pretty interesting, as well.
I'm also on a technical committee for a company called Highland Copper, which has a US-based copper project. It's advancing towards feasibility and potentially a production decision, and it's an old copper mine called Copper Range and an adjacent property that was historically in production and has a lot of infrastructure still in place. So again, has that locational infrastructure advantage.
So I've been doing a lot of that, putting my technical experience, 40 years of lessons learned, to the table. And then lastly, I'm on the board of a company called Kutcho Copper, that I think you're familiar with, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: One of the best values in the space right now. Not to cut you off, but I have to add that. It's ridiculous what the market cap is right now.
Stephen Quin: Yeah, no, it's absolutely crazy. I mean, it's a feasibility-level, almost-permitted, high-grade copper-zinc, silver-gold deposit, sitting in BC, right in the mining area, and people just not paying attention at this point in time, in this market. So pretty beaten up. I mean, it was almost a dollar earlier this year, and it's down at whatever, 15 cents now. It's crazy, but it's a fabulous project. And I have a history with it, because I bought it for Sherwood Copper, which then became Capstone, and then Capstone decided to sell it after I left.
And I helped Kutcho buy it, so obviously, I'm a long-term believer in the project, and Vince Sorace, the CEO, has done a great job of advancing, despite awful markets and cash being hard to come by. But I think again, it's one of those value opportunities in this market. Extremely low risk and higher reward, once it's permitted in the next year or two. Be hugely revalued.
Gerardo Del Real: Couldn't agree more. That was a lot. That was fantastic. It's so good to catch up with you, Stephen. Again, let's do this more often, please.
Stephen Quin: Sounds good, Gerardo, and thanks for calling.
Gerardo Del Real: All right. Chat soon.
Stephen Quin: Okay. Take care.