Chakana Copper (TSX-V: PERU)(OTC: CHKKF) CEO David Kelley on Latest High-Grade Copper-Gold-Silver Drill Intercepts from Flagship Soledad Project, Peru

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Chakana Copper — Mr. David Kelley. Dave, how are you?

David Kelley: I'm doing great, Gerardo. How are you doing?

Gerardo Del Real: I am well. We were overdue for a catch-up. I know there was a lull in news there for a couple of weeks. A couple of releases that I want to touch on. You had a bit of a departure at the board level and an addition… so we'll talk about that. 

But again, I’ve got to congratulate you on the high-grade intercepts that you just reported. Let me go through the headline numbers. It's: 

125 meters of 0.63 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, 0.54% copper, and 55.7 g/t silver, including 15 meters of 2.29 g/t gold, 1.27% copper, and a 248.6 g/t silver (or 4.89% copper equivalent) at Huancarama. 

Those are phenomenal numbers! Congrats on that front. I'd love for you to provide some context, and then we'll get into Peru and politics. But congrats on these numbers, Dave, good work as always.

David Kelley: Yeah, thank you, Gerardo! And it was a little bit of a delay from the last news release. But we wanted to put out a meaningful news release that gave you an update not only on resource drilling — which we're heavily into now — but also some of the other exploration drilling that we've been doing. So it's going really well.

We've got two rigs turning. Our production is about 3,200 meters a month. That's really phenomenal production out of two rigs. And we're managing COVID to the best of our abilities. It's still going well with keeping everyone healthy on the project and healthy in the communities around us.

So that's our primary concern is to continue to execute and deliver. We know the results are going to be good; they always have been good. This project has got such a bright future ahead of it, and we just continue to prove that as we go through with our drilling. So I don't expect anything to change. I think we're going to continue to produce good results, and it's great to get on the air with you and share those results with you.

Gerardo Del Real: It's great to have you back on. As far as the approach, I know that you're multi-pronged right now, right? You have an exploration focus, and then, of course, the focus on the resource estimate. How is that resource estimate coming along?

David Kelley: It's coming along really well. What we're doing is we're designing resource definition drilling. We go in and we execute that phase. And that's all based on prior information and modeling and having all of the assays in place. 

And we get enough of that phase done; we get the samples into the lab. And, really, the best way to plan additional infill drilling beyond that is to get those results back and come back in and then drill off of that. So that's what we're trying to do. 

And we're dealing with the laboratory delays that everyone is experiencing right now. But for us, we've got these exploration targets that we can go off and test, right? So that's the other part of it is going off and testing on the exploration front. 

So we go back and forth. And that's what we're going to continue to do to bridge the gap between waiting on the assays and then doing more resource definition drilling.

Gerardo Del Real: I have to ask you, because I've been getting a lot of questions: how is everything in the field, first and foremost, as it relates to COVID… and, secondly, what are things like right now for Chakana given the presidential election backdrop and the potential for the left-leaning Castillo and potentially the very pro-business, pro-mining, right-leaning candidate in Ms. Fujimori? 

How has that affected the company if at all? And I'd love to get your thoughts on just what your approach is here with the June elections coming up.

David Kelley: Yeah, so on the COVID front, things are going well. It's very difficult in Peru right now, obviously. The pandemic is wreaking havoc on a lot of the Andean communities, and we've seen spikes in COVID cases. 

We're still following the same protocols that we put in place with testing everyone before they go to site; a quarantine period involved. Then, we know that people going on to the project are healthy. We also test everyone on the project when they're coming off for their break so that when they go back to their families, we know that they're healthy.

So that and maintaining a stand-alone camp on the project has worked very well for us. And we're going to continue to be vigilant. We're still working closely with the communities and donating supplies, and masks, and test kits, and gloves, and cleaning supplies — and those types of things. 

We will continue that program as long as we need to. So that all is going really well. And that's really our main focus is to continue to produce in the drill program and keep everyone healthy.

On the election, obviously, we're watching that very closely. My view, I've been in and out of Peru for 20 years now, and I've seen these elections a number of times. And it's not uncommon for the left-leaning platform to start off strong. Usually their support maxes out — and then, usually, you end up with a pro-business, pro-mining platform that's in the presidency. 

That's the makeup of the Congress. And Congress was just elected, right? The Congress is very much pro-business, pro-mining. And the president, if they wanted to not be in that direction… they would have a very, very hard time. 

So even if Castillo does get elected president, he's not going to be able to go in there and throw out the constitution and nationalize mining assets. He doesn't have the support to do that.

So the best result for us would be if Fujimori is elected because she is a conservative, center-right platform, pro-business, pro-mining. If Castillo gets in, he may want to do things that aren't in direct support of the mining industry. But he's not going to have the support to do that. 

And just like what we saw with Humala when he came in; he also had a non-mining or anti-mining platform. And that soon changed after he got into office because he didn't have the support. And he also saw the impact and benefit that mining brings to the country. 

It's the second largest copper producer in the world. And the momentum there that's been developed over decades with the world's largest mining companies being in Peru  — I'm very confident that it's going to continue business-as-usual after the election.

Gerardo Del Real: Well said. I have to ask, because any time there is an appointment to the board and someone stepping down — in this case Mr. Doug Kirwin stepped down and Chakana announced the appointment of Doug Silver to the board of directors, (which a phenomenal appointment by the way) — but any time there's a shift in the board of directors, of course, there's speculation, there's opinion… is there a change in direction for the company? 

Can you speak to that a bit and what motivated the change there and where things stand with Doug [Kirwin]. And is Chakana pivoting into a different direction as far as exploration and resource and the narrative, right?

David Kelley: No, there's absolutely no change in our strategy. It's focused on the breccia pipes. It's to get a first maiden resource out this year and demonstrate what the economic potential of these breccia pipes are all about. 

It's to be aggressive in finding more mineralized breccia pipes; staying super aggressive on the exploration side. But at the same time, having somebody like Doug Silver on the board will allow us to start pushing the economic viability of the resource and the expansion of that resource in that direction towards creating a meaningful resource that's properly valued in the company's share price. 

So that's a great segue into Doug Kirwin who's just a phenomenal exploration geologist; very successful; made a very, very important contribution to our company in bringing his knowledge of tourmaline breccia systems to the forefront. And then handing off to Doug Silver. 

And I can tell you that Doug Kirwin is leaving under the best of circumstances. He's super excited about Chakana as an investment; he's a big shareholder. He's in there for the long-term. He loves the fact that we're coming upon US$4.50 [per pound] copper, and we're putting out these copper grades that are really spectacular. 

At the same time, we're moving in the direction of a resource. So Doug has left under the absolute best of circumstances. He's super supportive. He's only a phone call away. And he's still part of our team no matter what. 

It's an open door policy with Doug in terms of staying up-to-date on what we're doing and where we're going. He's been a super strong supporter of the company, and I know he always will be.

Gerardo Del Real: Dave, that's a thorough update. Thank you so much for your time. Look forward to having you back on here soon.

David Kelley: Absolutely, Gerardo. Thank you so much. Take care.

Gerardo Del Real: You as well.