Nine Mile Metals (CSE: NINE)(OTC: VMSXF) Director Patrick Cruickshank on Deploying New Tech to Zero In on High Copper Grades in Canada

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the very happy director of Nine Mile Metals — Mr. Patrick Cruickshank. Patrick, great to have you on. Congratulations on some very, very impressive drill intercepts at your flagship project. Let me read some of the highlight numbers, briefly, from the last couple of releases. 

You just announced certified drill results of 10.12% copper over 15 meters. That included 1% zinc, 1.41% lead, 91.47 g/t silver, and 0.84 g/t gold. It wasn't just a one off. You had a release prior to that release where it was 10.45 meters of 6.92% copper, 5.6% zinc, 2.52% lead, 179.28 g/t silver, and 1.33 g/t gold. 

It's impressive to me, one, that you've outperformed your peers. We started chatting when the stock was near the C$0.09 level, and here you are near the C$0.30 level. And you're doing that in a very challenging summer market.

The other thing that's impressive to me is that you're doing it in a very non-traditional way. And I actually not only wanted to congratulate you on the results and chat about that but I wanted to talk about the approach because it's a pretty unconventional approach to exploration that, so far, is yielding a lot of success for you. 

I'd love for you to provide the context on all of that, sir.

Patrick Cruickshank: Yes, thank you for having me again, Gerardo. It's a pleasure to be here. Yeah, we're very excited and proud of our technical analysis and the way that we approach our exploration programs at Nine Mile Metals. This is a mature mining camp — Bathurst, New Brunswick — and a world-class ​​volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) environment with some of the highest producing mines that have been in production for VMS in the world. 

Historically, from the 1950s up until today, there's like 40 or 45 deposits. But every 20 years or so, there's a breakthrough in technology, whether it's mag and gravity surveys or it's airborne VTEM technology. Well, there's been a lull for about 20 years, and we're at that cusp again. And we've created a model with a fantastic technical group with EarthEx Geo Solutions, ourselves, some very, very experienced professional geologists, and so on.

So we have our own model. And just to quickly tell you a little bit about it, we reprocess all public and private data on any project before we step foot on the ground. So they reprocess it with proprietary algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) and all of this stuff that's happening. And then, we'll get our first-stage targets. And it gets very technical because they're looking at conductive signatures because hard minerals are conductive, right, lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold. 

And it'll come back and give us these targets based on the strength of the conductor; strong, medium, or weak. And then, we'll go ground-proof them. And then, we'll do our work and economic dollar-spending on those targets rather than on the whole project; you don't have targets covering your entire project, right?

So economic exploration is a new thing that I like to utilize. We are using new technology — airborne drones with LiDAR built in — and these micrometers that can shoot down 8,000 to 9,000 meters now. And we'll fly them at 25-meter spacing… not the helicopters at 200 or 400 meter spacing… so we'll get high-definition analysis that goes deep. 

And we convert it all into 3D images, and then EarthEx will apply their proprietary technology and processing. And also, they'll come out and utilize their drone technology on the project… and then, we really get some specific focused targeting. And that — I believe personally, and our team does — is going to bring a lot of breakthroughs not just to our project but other projects around the world. It is groundbreaking.

Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the initial results. You had X-ray fluorescence (XRF) drill results back in June. And even then, you can sense that the market was starting to catch on to the fact that you had something that could be pretty significant. And I always like to caution with the XRF drill results that there's going to be a variance in grades and in widths. 

And luckily, or not so luckily, the actual certified drill results ended up being pretty spot-on as far as grade. There wasn't a substantial drop off. There was an increase in some instances; same with the widths. You have to be excited about that.

Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, we're excited. We utilize the XRF as a tool. And I know it has not had much support from some in the market. But we've been taught to use it more like a lab process where we don't just take it out in the field and take the gun and look at a vein and aim the lasers at the vein when there's 99% of the rock that has no mineralization, right? 

So it's been used in some other instances that are not so scientific. But the way we do it, we'll cut the core… and we did publish the pictures of the core so everyone saw what we were doing… and those are actually the samples that went to ALS Global. 

But there were two things happening. We use it as a process, internally, as a tool. We do it as technically as we can. So it's blind; the gun is underneath the chamber shooting up. You open the chamber, you put your drill core down, and you do a 40-second laser scramble weight per inch. So we're doing 30 to 40 data points per meter, right? And then, the computer does the weighted averaging and so on and processes it. So it's time consuming. 

But the other reason we do it is because last year was really poor because we were taking up to five months to get certified assays back from the labs. There was a global shortage of fire assay crucibles coming from China, etc. Well, we can't stop exploring and stop our process just waiting for lab results. So we utilized this. And a really good gentleman, P.Geo., Ph.D., showed us how to do this out of Memorial University in Newfoundland… and it's been really, really close. 

We published it, one, not knowing we were going to be able to rush the samples. So I didn't want to have shareholders and our program and everything come to a standstill for four or five months. We couldn't do that. So we do it internally, and we decided to reveal that to our shareholders. And because, visually, we knew, and we do have a pretty confident process on how we use the XRF machine. And we published it, obviously, so people can compare. 

And we're already into the next phase. We're moving forward full steam ahead. And we were lucky enough to get the assays processed quickly and confirmed, obviously. But we're not ‘unexpecting’ these types of results. This is a very high-grade target, obviously, and unique for the Bathurst Mining Camp. There is not another deposit out there with that leading copper and silver.

Gerardo Del Real: The grades are phenomenal, Patrick. Talk to me a bit about the potential scale or the scale that you're confident that you have there thus far. And then, how do you expand on that?

Patrick Cruickshank: Well, phase one was drilling our target. And then, we drilled five holes. We still have two more to announce [of the mineral targets] once we receive them; they're in process right now. Then, we drilled two bore hole targets for electromagnetics (EM). 

And we weren't looking to try and hit mineralization; we were actually trying not to and be far enough away from the subsurface body that we do the down-hole pulse EM survey, and it gives us an unobstructed, uninterrupted magnetic 3D image in 720 degrees. 

So we did one about 25 meters away from the Target-1 that we drilled and had these phenomenal results. And then, we did another one 250 meters away from that just for the survey. And it's overlapping and it covers about 600 to 700 meters in all directions. 

So if we drill a 230-meter hole, we do the survey down that, and it gives you another, roughly the same, 230 meters of the survey from the probe in all directions. So really, it's 230 back up to surface, 230 below what we drilled… so we're getting about a 460-meter depth from that.

And back to economic exploration… instead of just going and drilling 400-meter holes — very expensive, right, and you're trying to de-risk your exploration program technically and financially and getting the best return for your shareholders in both components — we're going to have a phenomenal 800-meter-type strike. 

And we have a very good relationship with the New Brunswick Department of Energy & Mines. We actually just had them over looking at all of the core this morning and had a great technical discussion on how this was created because it is special. And they aren't by themselves; most of the deposits have two or three of these. 

They cluster or string of pearls or — as they call them — lenses. And they're not just ‘here's one big deposit.’ They are multiples because there's so much folding going on from the way the tectonic plates moved that a lot of these got snapped. But they're never alone. But ours is very unique. We're very excited!

Gerardo Del Real: Patrick, you still have a market cap… it's sub-C$20 million… I think it might be even sub-C$15 million if I'm not mistaken. Is that accurate?

Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, we’ve come a long way. It's been, like you said, a difficult market right now in the summer. So we're roughly around C$0.30 a share at about a C$13 million market cap. So obviously, we think we're doing quite well with swimming upstream, if you want to call it that, but we're creating a lot of liquidity. We have a very strong shareholder base, and we believe in our project.

Gerardo Del Real: It's great to see the market rewarding exploration success. It's great to see it have this outcome this early on with such an unconventional way. And I really do think that you're onto something as it relates to more efficient and targeted drilling in terms of results, in terms of defining those targets, and in terms of the actual spend on the targets. 

So congrats on all of those fronts. I'm looking forward to further updates and results, and, hopefully, we're having this conversation here in the next week or two again.

Patrick Cruickshank: Yeah, we sure will. Our bore hole team is mobilizing, and we will be doing those two down-hole surveys. And just to let you know, this is only one target that we're talking about. We have multiple targets on this; I can't wait to share and update everyone with the EarthEx data on that. But again, very pro-technology. 

So there's something we just did, and it was in our press release: so now that we have the core and this high-grade core… and just listen a minute, it’s very fascinating… we actually cut samples of our drill core holes and sent them to EarthEx. They have a physical properties lab. 

Now, they're the ones that are using all of the new high-tech, and analyzing, and reprocessing, and using algorithms and all of that; they're a big leader that we believe in. And so they're going to take that core — the ‘real’ core, right — that had these wonderful, high-grade results. They also asked for the core below; so the sediments, the non-mineralized core… so, ‘what is this sitting in?’ 

And they’re actually going to get a digital conductive signature of our drill core because copper has a certain signature; lead, zinc, and everything. So you get this formula or this image of ‘this is what your core is… here's what it looks like… and here's what it's sitting in.’

So if you know those two things — remember, because they've reprocessed and they have all of this data on our entire property, not just where we drilled — they are now going to go back and put it into our 3D model and look for matching signatures in the same host rock for those other multiple bodies. 

So this is groundbreaking new technology. We're very excited… we're overworked but we're enjoying ourselves a lot!

Gerardo Del Real: It's great to see the work generating these kinds of results. Patrick, congratulations again and thank you again for your time.

Patrick Cruickshank: Thank you and look forward to meeting you again soon.