Intrepid Metals (TSX-V: INTR)(OTCQB: IMTCF) CEO Ken Brophy on Advancing Three High-Potential Arizona-Based Copper Projects via the Drill-Bit in Southeastern Arizona, USA


Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Intrepid Metals — Mr. Ken Brophy. Ken, it's great to have you on. You’re a first-time guest, and this is the first time we get to tell the Intrepid Metals story. 

Let me start by saying, I believe your timing is impeccable. I’m a huge copper bull, and I am very selective with the companies I look at. And I make sure that jurisdiction is top-notch whenever possible. And in this case, you check both of those boxes.

I wanted to have you on to tell the Intrepid story. The timing’s great… so thanks for coming on!

Ken Brophy: Gerardo, thank you for having me. I'm very pleased to hear your bullish outlook, certainly, on the commodity in this space. And I certainly think we've been able to pull together a great asset base, and I look forward to talking to you more about it and certainly your listeners.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's talk about it. You have three projects. They're all located in Arizona. I was in Arizona a few months back, and I can tell you there's a resurging base metals, specifically copper, market that's developing there with several companies doing really great work on the path to development and production. 

The jurisdiction absolutely checks the box for me, and, again, I thought we'd have you on to tell us a little bit about the projects and why the focus on Arizona.

Ken Brophy: Sure, and just taking a little step back… we’re a relatively new company that came to market in 2022 with the intent of building out an Arizona-based portfolio of drill-ready projects. So hearing you talk about the Tier-1 jurisdiction of Arizona is music to our ears because we really believe that as well.

Upon coming to market, we raised about C$3 million in our initial raise. And from 2022 to about year-end 2023, we really focused more on M&A and trying to build out our asset base. And throughout that time, we've been able to add three really exciting projects.

The first project we brought across the line was Tombstone South. And Tombstone South is just south of the town of Tombstone, and it's a Hermosa or South32 Taylor-deposit type of analog where we have a lot of shallow, high-grade silver that's caught up in manganese. 

None of the historical drilling in that area ever went deep enough. And that's how the Taylor deposit was really discovered. So we're really excited about that project as well. I'll talk a little bit more about it in a bit.

Then, we have our Mesa Well project, which is a little bit further north in Graham County. It's a Laramide-type porphyry target surrounded by massive deposits along trend of Faraday Copper’s Copper Creek project.

And then lastly, yet probably most importantly, is our Corral Copper project. And Corral Copper is located only about 25 miles from the town of Tombstone; both our Tombstone South and Corral Copper projects are located in Cochise County. I named it Corral Copper primarily because we had to “corral” a whole bunch of fragmented land ownership. 

We've completed four different property transactions to piece this jurisdiction together. While there has been previous mining — I think there was nearly 50 million pounds of copper extracted back in the 1900s — it was fragmented throughout these different patented mining claims.

It's important to note that what we’ve been able to piece together at Corral Copper now spans over 9,600 acres with 1,800 acres of that being patented mining claims and private surface rights. We’re able to simplify that and call it private land; it’s essentially our backyard. 

Piecing all of that together has been a significant undertaking. And while other people have tried in the past, we've succeeded where others have failed in being able to pull the project together. And just based on the historical drill data that we have, there's almost 50,000 meters of drill data that we've been able to pull together from Corral Copper. What that provides us is a strategic advantage of knowing where to point the drill rigs.

All of the historical drilling is great, and we have that data, but there's no drill core. So we had to go out and drill it to get it to modern 43-101-compliant data. But we have that strategic advantage whereas many other exploration companies are simply taking their best shot. 

We know where to point the drill rigs, and we have a strong degree of confidence that we're going to have some good results come back from it.

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Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned the historical mining, and you mentioned the fact that nobody had been able to put this dominant land position together. I know there's quite a colorful history that contributed to the lack of cooperation in terms of being able to put it all together. 

I think it's worth mentioning that the historical mining had grades up to 9.2% copper. So just to be absolutely clear, you're looking at kilometers and kilometers of trend with definitely blue sky potential for high-grade copper, correct?

Ken Brophy: Yes, and we have this 3-km-long trend, which all falls within our private lands. So once again, there are all kinds of strategic advantages that come along with private lands and patented mining claims.

Within that 3-km-long trend, we have 36,000 meters of drill data throughout that area. And what's interesting is that, within that 36,000 meters, it's been done by nine different companies. Some companies were only looking for gold; some were only looking for copper. 

And what makes this one area really unique compared to some of the other Arizona stories — and there are a lot of great Arizona stories out there — is the amount of gold we've been able to see within our system as well. The mineralization we're seeing is more Jurassic versus many other area projects, which are more Laramide-type. 

In terms of that 50 million pounds of historical copper, the average grade was 1.57%. So it’s a lot of high-grade and it’s shallow. Most of the drilling within that 3-km-long trend doesn't go past 300 meters… so this is a really shallow carbonate replacement deposit type of mineralization. 

The source of all of that mineralization has yet to really be discovered. And as you touched upon, some of the historical data that we have is fantastic. We currently have a 5,000-meter drill program going at Corral Copper.

And taking a step back, because of what we've been able to pull together from a project standpoint, we’ve been able to raise C$6.6 million to start the year, and we're already drilling. 

And the first phase is a 5,000-meter drill program with the aim of confirming a lot of the historical data. The historical data was done by various different drill companies so it's important that we validate a lot of the historical data that we have.

Gerardo Del Real: What comes next? We're anticipating assays. You mentioned three projects, and you touched upon a couple. Set the table for me and give me an idea of the layout here for the next several quarters.

Ken Brophy: We’re certainly going to stay focused on drilling Corral Copper at this stage, and we'll certainly have results coming in the weeks ahead. I think we’ll just say ‘four-to-six weeks’ to provide a bit of a buffer because it’s important that we have a good representation of various drill holes versus just one.

Tombstone South is a really exciting project that we'd like to be able to drill later this year as well. And I'll touch on Hercules Silver Corporation as a 2023 success story. It had a lot of historical mining and historical data, and it led to a new discovery. And that's a single asset company that now has a market cap north of C$200 million, whereas ours is only around C$25 million at this stage.

If we hit what we hope to hit at Tombstone South, then, all of a sudden, between Corral Copper and Tombstone South, we have two massive types of projects to be able to create value with. And that creates a potential spinout opportunity as well. 

We'd like to be able to drill Tombstone South and really get an understanding of that project. When we first acquired it, we did a large IP survey, and we identified a large and strong chargeability anomaly similar in many ways to the Hercules Silver story where they drilled a blind chargeability anomaly. So we want to drill that… and it could be a home run, certainly, for the company and for all of our shareholders. 

We'd like to drill that a little bit later in the year, and we have the strategic advantage of being able to drill Corral Copper and Tombstone South at the same time because they're so close… only about 25 miles apart.

Gerardo Del Real: Exciting times! I love that you hit the ground running with the drill-bit. I love that you have tons of historical data. You're in a great jurisdiction. I think you're hitting the sweet-spot of the copper market… and I think it's off-to-the-races there as well.

Ken, I want to thank you for your time today, and I'm looking forward to having you back and seeing what the drill-bit turns up.

Ken Brophy: Thanks, Gerardo. And again, yes, we’re very bullish on copper. Obviously, copper has been hitting yearly highs of late. You’re seeing the major banks like BMO and Morgan Stanley being very bullish on copper for 2024 and certainly beyond. You’re seeing some of the big mining moguls like Frank Giustra making big bets into it. Sprott is starting a copper ETF.

And just adding to a point you touched upon earlier… I think we've got a lot of wind in our sails right now. We're hitting 52-week highs, and we're only just getting going. We’re certainly looking forward to an exciting year ahead for our great team and for our shareholders.

Gerardo Del Real: Good stuff! Ken, thanks again for the time. Have a great week and we'll chat soon.

Ken Brophy: Looking forward to it! All the best, sir.

Gerardo Del Real: Cheers.