If you’re looking for silver, go looking around an old mine where they didn't have the technology to see the true value.
It’s an approach which has been perfected and championed by many industry veterans over the years – most notably by mining mogul Rob McEwen.
It’s also a method newly listed Arizona Silver Exploration Inc (TSX:AZS) is putting to the test two hours west of Phoenix at the Ramsey mine.
Remnants still visible...
Rusty remnants are still visible at the site in La Paz County, just off Interstate 10, which was active throughout the 1920s. Operations ceased the following decade and the mine was abandoned.
“There aren’t many historical production records available but it seems around 12,000 tons of material was mined back in the day, averaging close to 40 ounces of silver per ton,” said Greg Hahn, AZS’s chief executive, told Proactive Investors.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Hahn became aware of the Ramsey site when an acquaintance handed him data from the Arizona Geological Survey Archives.
It turns out that in 1968 a new owner mined another 1,700 tons of rock averaging 530 grams of silver per ton before turning focus to drilling, successfully defining an historic resource of 2 million tons grading 70 to 90 grams per ton.
Intrigued by data...
“Forty one holes around the periphery of the Ramsey mine intercepted mineralization. I was intrigued by the data. I wanted to see what else was out there,” said Hahn, who has three-and-a-half decades of experience in exploration and mine development.
In November of 2016, AZS executives made the decision to go public and became listed on the TSX Venture Exchange through a capital pool company. Soon after listing on the TSX Venture, the firm raised $900,000 through a private placement of 10 cents a share – no warrants.
The funds allowed the firm to kick off an initial drilling program with the second batch of findings confirming a large open mineral system to the north.
A further $1.5m was raised in less than four days via a private placement again with no warrants.
An induced polarization (IP) survey then confirmed the suspected continuation to the north of the Ramsey mine.
It also identified a new and large anomaly and area of potential mineralization, stronger and deeper to the west.
Drilling scheduled for second quarter..
The firm now holds around 1,000 acres of land.
A drilling program is now scheduled for the second quarter, potentially as early as late April, to test the large anomaly north of the old mine.
Meanwhile, a recently submitted notice of intent to drill has already been approved by the US Bureau of Land Management. “AZS has a compelling target, a tight share structure, drilling will start again soon and the silver price going up,” small cap mining specialist Vince Marciano said in a recent Stateside Report Podcast.
“In my view, the company is the best silver exploration play on a risk/reward basis I can find on the TSX Venture Exchange.”
Gwen Preston, who chronicles her own buys and sells in the exploration and mining sector for Resource Maven, is also an early supporter.
“AZS is still a fairly new story but word is getting out. The company now has $1.7m. That’s more than enough to fund the planned drill program.
“I am moving on the stock now for two reasons. The price is settled in a trading range but there is not much stock available for sale. A bit of exploration success could move the needle quickly.
“Drill results won’t come out until early June but I would guess AZS would find a way to let the market know if the cuttings look really good, and that would happen in May."
Meanwhile, Preston reckons Greg Hahn, is the perfect guy to lead this charge.
Living and breathing it..
“He is careful, methodical, and experienced. He lives in Arizona and breathes this project.
"He did not dive into the Ramsey project headfirst; instead, he gained confidence through two years of due diligence, groundwork, drilling, and geophysics. He is now very excited to test the northern anomaly.”
At the moment only 16.8 million shares are trading: 2.9 million are escrowed by management and insiders) and another 9 million were issued in a financing that closed last month and will come free trading in mid-July.
“Those escrowed shares are one notable indication of this team’s dedication,” added Preston.
“Another is that a good chunk of management’s options are set above the market (management and the chairman, for example, took $0.30 options when the stock was trading at $0.19).
“I like skin in the game; I especially like skin in the game when the gamers actually paid a reasonable price.”
The company currently has a market cap of $10.3mln and shares are trading on the TSX-V for $0.33. It also plans to list on the US OTC market, opening up this new opportunity to a wider base of stock pickers.