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Sterling Metals (TSX-V: SAG)(OTCQB: SAGGF) CEO Mathew Wilson on Drilling for Voisey’s Bay Scale Discoveries in 2023
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO, the very busy CEO of Sterling Metals, Mr. Mathew Wilson. Mat, it's great to have you back on. How are you?
Mathew Wilson: I'm great. An absolute pleasure to be here, as always. Thanks a lot for having me.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, we're overdue for a catch-up. You have been very, very busy behind the scenes and we're starting to see some of that behind the scenes work actually make it to the forefront, so I wanted to catch up. We can talk Adeline, we can talk other projects, we can talk new projects. You just went ahead and closed a private placement that in a tough market was an upsized private placement financing. So, a lot going on. I'll let you provide the context.
Mathew Wilson: Yeah. I think that it's always tough in exploration, you got to balance dilution and upside. And we went out and we acquired this project, the Adeline Project, which we'll get into. But this thing, the scale is second to none. We're really excited about it. We obviously are still pushing forward on Sail Pond, we're going to have news that comes out on that soon. We're going to drill that in June. But these things take money to be able to operate properly. So when we went out to the market, we did it with PI who brokered the deal. The stock took a hit. That kind of sucked, but at the same time, the interest was fantastic. It was 80% institutional interest, institutional participation. We had lots of new players come in who are long-term holders. We had people who just really liked the idea of you have these two assets. I think our enterprise value was $7, $8 million at the time. And so, now we've got $8 million in the bank, these two projects to drill this summer, and both of them being pretty exciting things.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's start with Sail Pond, and then I definitely want to touch on Adeline and give it the attention it deserves because I think it's a pretty unique project with the kind of scale that I like to see when I hear that you're going to be drilling a project. Oftentimes in the junior space, I see companies that go out and raise a couple of million bucks and I look at the targets and where they're spending that money, and the chances for a significant discovery are next to none. Not the case with Adeline. So, we'll get into Adeline in just a bit, but let's talk Sail Pond. How are things coming along on that front?
Mathew Wilson: Yeah. So Sail Pond is going great, actually. That has been the behind the scenes sort of thing. We started the kind of work that the market never cares about but is really important to get drilling going, which we did this 3D geophysical survey, we started it in February, working in 10 feet of snow to cut lines. The results are coming back. We should have news on that soon. The idea of that is to find, basically we've spent the last two years drilling across this 12 kilometer long strike, trying to identify where the best place is to go. We've discovered the Heimdall Zone. It's this one kilometer long footprint of all these high grade veins and these different kinds of high grade veins. You have these massive sulfides and quartz veins where you get big copper, zinc and silver, and then you have these new veins, these sulfosalt veins, which are the 8.5% copper and 1,600 gram silver.
So what you're seeing is these two different kinds of pulses of mineralization, which is really important when you're dealing with big systems because the more pulses of mineralization, the more likely you're going to have something that's very significant feeding it. So the theory was let's do some IP, let's see this in 3D, map the structures, map the chargeability anomalies that go underneath it to try and find something that is the source of it all, because you can chase these veins down and that is going to take you a little while for drilling. And there's of course trend lines and we could do that, but our thought was instead of drilling with $500,000, let's spend some money and spend some time doing some real science. And I think the results of that are going to be pretty exciting.
And then from that, we're going to drill these targets in June. And ideally what you're finding is that first pearl. So if this is a string of pearls, it's obviously not a continuous 12 kilometer long area of mineralization, but you're trying to find the source of this one kilometer footprint, which in itself is quite large. And so the idea for this drill program is to find that source to drill through it. And ideally what you're finding, it's not a CRD project, but you're finding that five to 20 meter zone of mineralization that carries these sulfides. And with those grades, it's going to get really exciting really fast.
Gerardo Del Real: June comes really quick. I love near term catalysts. We have to talk Adeline. It's a district scale, drill ready target, all the words and all the things I like to see when I hear a company's going out and acquiring a project. Let's talk about the commodity mix there and the potential at Adeline.
Mathew Wilson: Yeah. So Adeline has a great story to it, as the advisor that we brought on, Dr. Neil O'Brien, he was the SVP of exploration for Lundin for 20 years, spent 10 years as a senior geologist, basically running Cominco North America's base metals project. He was the guy Lukas Lundin brought out of retirement in 2018. When he retired from Lundin, he brought him back to be the expert on the Vicuna Mining District to where Filo and NGEX and Josemaria are, probably the best copper address in the world. Neil lives in Guelph, about an hour outside of Toronto and actually has the discovery hole from Adeline, which was eight meters of 1.76% copper and 56 gram silver, in his shed here and is a huge fan of this project. We've spent nine months looking at this thing and he was really the one that took me through it and made me understand why this is so significant.
And I mean, when we talk about district, we all like to throw out the word district. We all like to talk about district scale potential, things like that. This is a 44 kilometer sedimentary-hosted copper basin with over 250 copper showings across the basin, up to 30% in native copper. And grab samples are one thing, it's more just the frequency of the samples and of the grade of the samples. And so you just know that you're into a really big system. And what I've really started to learn is just understanding big rocks, big macro theories. When you're looking at things to chase, what do you want to do? What do you want to spend your time on? And you want to spend your time on big ideas. And where we are is the intersection of these three geological provinces where you have these big crustal breaks. You have Labrador being Voisey Bay and the big iron mines.
So you have these big systems that are in Labrador, but not a lot of other things that have been found in Labrador. And so Neil was actually the one that wanted to really focus on Labrador because he thinks it's one of the places left in the world that is underexplored but has these big rocks. And Adeline is one of those big systems in the big macro rock area, on the crustal break where you want to be. And then to be able to narrow it down into this one basin is pretty exciting. And so you've got this giant scale kind of thing. The comparables that we're using are the Udokan mine in Russia, which is 1.2 billion tonnes of 2% copper, the third-largest copper mine in the world. So it's the same scale, same kind of size.
And what you're looking for is all open pit, near surface kind of clusters of these 50 to 100 million tonne kind of near surface ore bodies. From the work that's been done, which is sporadic over the last 60 years, we think that we have a fairly good shot at our first target, which is where that discovery hole is. That discovery hole is on the edge of this IP anomaly, literally right on the edge of it. The IP anomaly is 600 x 200 x 150. And what makes that so exciting is there's only two things that can be that chargeable in the area, one being pyrite and the other being this chalcocite sulfide, which is the copper. It's not pyrite because we have that discovery drill hole, and so we know that that's not it. So a lot of excitement for this first target, which is great because with not very much drilling, we can already prove the concept and then we show that we have four or five and many, many more different targets to come. So the scale of this can get recognized really fast from not very many drill holes.
Gerardo Del Real: I understand you are permitting for the drilling as we speak. Is that correct?
Mathew Wilson: We are getting into it right now. Labrador is a new thing for us, so we're working on that as we speak. Sail Pond is first for drilling. The target for Adeline, drilling is mid to the end of August. So we are on to the permitting process for that. Sail Pond, the permits are in. We don't really anticipate any issues there. The great thing is Adeline was drilled in 2011, so you're not going to find out that there's some scary thing there that you can't do. It's not one of those projects where no one's been able to access it. So once we get into that system, it should be pretty smooth going. And so that's top of our list at the moment.
Gerardo Del Real: Mat, a lot to like. Anything to add to that? It sounds like you and I will be having more frequent conversations here in the near term.
Mathew Wilson: No. I think we have the money in the bank to do some really exciting exploration and two projects to make this work. And again, like you said, the scale of Adeline is something that you don't find very often. When you look at the world of copper, really, you're getting into the Filos of the world when you talk about the scale that we're going after. And Sail Pond has had so much work and advancement and I'm really excited to see what we can pull out of the ground in June.
Gerardo Del Real: I know the share price pulled back a bit. Where's the market cap right now?
Mathew Wilson: I think the market cap right now is something like $14 or $15 million, which means that our enterprise value is about $7 million. So really frustrating when you're running it. But again, because we are financed, I'm hoping that the catalyst will make that a fun thing to look back on as we push forward into the fall.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. Absolutely. Mat, pleasure to have you on. Thank you for your time.
Mathew Wilson: Thanks a lot, Gerardo. Absolute pleasure.
Gerardo Del Real: All right, chat soon.