General Base Metals
General Precious Metals
Vizsla Copper Corp. (TSX-V: VCU)(OTC: VCUFF) Executive Chairman Craig Parry on Drilling Multiple Copper-Gold Projects in One of Canada’s Richest Mining Camps
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the executive chairman of Vizsla Copper — Mr. Craig Parry. Craig, great to have you on. How are you today?
Craig Parry: Gerardo, really good, thank you. And great to be on for the first time with you.
Gerardo Del Real: Listen, I'll be very honest… I saw you at Beaver Creek last year at the Precious Metals Summit. And at that time, I was kicking myself a little bit because I like to be early to quality stories. And I mentioned to you off air that I missed the Vizsla Silver story, which, of course, was one of the better performing silver plays of the past couple of years. You've done a brilliant job executing there.
So you and your team are one of those groups that I just follow in general to see what you're involved with and what you're doing. So when I had the opportunity to look at Vizsla Copper and I saw the announcement early this morning, I thought, you know what, this is a great opportunity to get Craig on the phone and just talk a bit about Vizsla Copper.
Before we get into that, I would love for you to give us a brief primer on your background for those that may be new to the space and maybe aren't as familiar with you as others.
Craig Parry: Sure, Gerardo. Happy to do that. Our Inventa Group here, we've got a number of companies now, and I think we're sort of the new kids on the block, if you like, but we're fast building up a track record of both discovery and development success.
Of course, that doesn't come without some experience. And I've been in the industry for 25 years now. I started out as a geologist with Rio Tinto; worked for Rio for eight years in various different roles around the world. A lot of that time was spent exploring for iron ore, porphyry copper, and uranium.
I then joined Owen Hegarty at Oxiana, briefly. And Owen, of course, had taken Oxiana from a US$6 million market cap to a US$6 billion market cap. Owen, Tony Manini, and I left to start the Tigers Realm group of companies. And out of that stable, we co-founded, or I co-founded NexGen Energy. We also founded EMR Capital, which is now one of the larger private equity firms in the resource space. I'm still a general partner there at EMR and a number of other companies.
But probably the biggest exploration success we had was NexGen. And NextGen, we discovered the Arrow Deposit in the Athabasca Basin. It's now a C$3 billion company all driven from exploration and development work; good work there by the team at NexGen. I then moved my family to Canada in 2016 to start IsoEnergy, and we made another discovery there at IsoEnergy — the Hurricane Deposit. And that's now a C$500 million company having started at a sort of C$5 million valuation.
And then, Mike Konnert and I teamed up and we've built a number of companies together. We sold our cobalt one four years ago, taking that from a few hundred thousand dollars invested to selling that for nearly C$20 million four years ago. And then, in recent times, Vizsla Silver and Vizsla Copper.
We've got Vida Carbon; we just announced a deal with Lewis Hamilton to partner with his racing team on his clean energy initiatives, and a number of other companies we've done. We've been very busy in recent times, building quality resource explorers and developers.
Gerardo Del Real: It's always interesting to me how the people that are successful in this business tend to repeat that success. And I don't think it's a coincidence that you continue to make discoveries, you continue to monetize assets, you continue to take companies and investments from very early stages to much higher valuations in relatively short order.
And so with that, I'd love to talk about Vizsla Copper. You just announced a transformational transaction this morning. Tell me a bit about the vision for Vizsla Copper.
Craig Parry: Yeah, we actually started Vizsla Resources with some copper exploration ground in central British Columbia in Canada. And then by chance came across the opportunity to look at silver in Sinaloa. And we took an option over the Panuco project — where Mike Konnert is the CEO at Vizsla Silver — and made a serious silver discovery down there. And I think it's going to prove to be one of the world's great silver deposits and gives us the opportunity to potentially build the biggest silver mine in the world. So that went very well.
But we had these other properties in British Columbia. We love copper. We are very bullish on copper. I think it is the metal of the future, of course, and we wanted to do something. We think that British Columbia has the opportunity over the coming couple of decades to become the new Chile, if you like, in terms of copper production because of its endowment in these very large porphyry copper deposits.
So we started looking around for projects here in this neck of the woods. We acquired a small VMS project called Carruthers Pass last year, and we're exploring that as we speak. But we've been working away on this deal with Consolidated Woodjam for a couple of years now and very happy to announce the transaction today.
It's a great transaction for our shareholders; great transaction for the Consolidated Woodjam shareholders as well. We're acquiring the company. The shareholders of Woodjam will own 65% of the company. And what it gives us access to is one of the richest terrains, richest camps in terms of porphyry copper mineralization in all of Canada and, dare I say, all of the world. We've acquired for less than C$10 million, in effect, 1.7 billion pounds of copper and nearly a million ounces of gold in historic resources.
But the most exciting thing about the project is the fact that, in the past five years, there's been drilling that has intersected some incredibly high-grade mineralization. And this is really quite new to the market. The previous operators of the company and the projects really didn't do a very good job of explaining what they had or getting that out to the market and improving the market's understanding of what we've got.
And we can go into some of the details on the projects, but suffice to say, when you see a drill hole of 110 meters at 2.5 grams per tonne gold and 0.5% copper from the surface, you know you're onto something big. So to acquire these sorts of projects, that resource space, for under C$10 million is a phenomenal outcome for our shareholders. So we're very excited about what we've got here.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I have to say with the market cap where it's at right now, the capital markets experience that you and your team provide, and the technical expertise that comes along with that team, 1.7 billion pounds of copper and nearly a million ounces of gold is a heck of a head start, Craig.
Craig Parry: Heck of a start, absolutely! Really, really good start. I've just been reading an article on copper and the copper outlook by S&P Global. And the interesting thing is that the average head grade of copper produced around the world today is about 0.42% copper. So grades have come down tremendously. So our resources sit around those sorts of grades.
But the very important thing is that there are a number of zones that have these very, very high-grade intercepts that have never been effectively followed up. They're wide open. Those high-grade drill hits in recent years haven't been incorporated into any resource model yet.
We'll do that over time but not until we've drilled about and around and along strike of those very, very high-grade zones. I think this is a project, really, that the time and the market forgot about. And I think that the news flow we’ll have out of these projects over the next couple of years is going to be nothing short of spectacular.
Gerardo Del Real: It's a district-scale land package; the exploration upside is phenomenal. How is the infrastructure?
Craig Parry: Really good infrastructure. We're very, very close to some existing large-scale mines. Mount Polley is just north of us; very large copper mine owned by Imperial Metals. The HDI/Taseko-owned Gibraltar mine is just up the road from us. We're only 30 to 35 km away from the major center of Williams Lake and the highways and power grids that go through there.
And very importantly, for a project in Canada, we're at a fairly low level and you can operate year round. And of course that's all important for investors to keep the news flow up, keep drilling, and keep the market abreast of what you're doing. Being able to do that year round is, of course, so very, very important. We can do that here.
So we're in great shape. It's mining country. Mining is well accepted and well established in this part of the world. And so we're in a perfect position to expand on the discoveries that are being made and move projects into development.
Gerardo Del Real: You have the team, you have the capital markets experience, you have a great jurisdiction. I mentioned that you have a heck of a start. What comes next, Craig?
Craig Parry: Yeah, Gerardo, you're right. I've been very, very fortunate to have been involved in some major discoveries. And some of that is, of course, luck. But doing the right things to get yourself in a position to make those discoveries is all important. And you just touched on the team. I think the thing that I've been most fortunate in my career so far is discovering good people, and I'm surrounded by a team of brilliant people.
Keith Bodnarchuk who led this deal, our VP of corporate development, has done a tremendous job here. We actually announced a deal that Keith led on in our Archer Exploration a month ago to acquire all of Wallbridge's nickel projects, which gave us the third biggest land position in the Sudbury Camp. So that was a tremendous transaction. And our managing partner here, Mike Konnert, is, of course, driving Vizsla Silver.
So the team is all important. We've got a great group of people; both explorers and developers around us. And what comes next for us? So Steve Blower, our VP of exploration and our group’s chief geologist, is pointing us into the direction of the fact that there are a huge number of porphyry targets here that haven't been tested. And with those sorts of grades, you're talking about a couple of hundred meters at north of 2.0 grams gold and 0.5% copper. These things are worth exploring for.
Firstly, there’s been a lot of data developed over the project over time. So coming to an understanding there and refining our geological and exploration model is the immediate next step. But that'll happen very, very quickly. We'll probably fly a VTEM survey over the whole of the property or the bulk of the property because geophysics here seem to light up these higher grade zones and these porphyry copper targets very well. So we've got that to go.
But in the meantime, we'll be following up some of these drill results that have never effectively been followed up. And some of those I mentioned early on. We've also got, for example, another project, another target in the southeast zone; a drill hit of 130 meters at 0.7% copper and 0.26 grams per tonne gold. So very, very good intercepts there to immediately get out and follow up.
So here at Inventa Capital and Vizsla Copper, what we like to do is put as much of our investors’ money into drill holes. I think across the group at the moment we've got about 23 rigs turning around the world; 9 or 10 of those down at Vizsla Silver's Panuco project. But we'll look forward to having a couple of drill rigs out there in the pretty near-term.
We're well funded for this work as well, I should say, and following up some of those high-grade zones that are completely open and have never been followed up before. So I think the chances of success by following up some of those spectacular drill results is very, very strong.
I expect that once we get going on the ground here in the not too distant future, you'll see really strong news flow out of the company. And as you say upfront, a combined valuation of less than C$25 million with a million ounces of gold in the ground and 1.7 billion pounds of copper — it's very, very cheap at the moment. So investors are getting in at the ground floor right now.
Gerardo Del Real: We love being early. I love being able to help tell the story at this earliest stage. Craig, I'm looking forward to more conversations. Thank you so much, and hopefully we’ll see you soon.
Craig Parry: Yeah, Gerardo. A real pleasure to chat as always… and we'll see you very soon.
Gerardo Del Real: Cheers!
Craig Parry: Good on you, mate! Thank you.Click here to see more from Vizsla Copper