"If you're not drilling, you can't make a discovery," says chief executive Brad Peters.
It seems so obvious a statement about mining exploration, you wonder what the point of making it is, but his company - British Columbia-focused Pacific Empire Minerals Corp (TSX-V:PEMC) (OTCQB:PEMSF) - has built its whole business case around that simple truth.
And so far ... it's been working very well.
The company is a prospect generator focused on copper-gold deposits, and more than that, it also owns and operates its own drill.
This means the company has a large number of projects in its portfolio and can test whether they are worth pursuing or not under its own steam (rather than contract work out) using its own RC (reverse circulation) drill.
"Our key advantage is the ability to drill early and often," Peters tells Proactive.
"That gives shareholders and investors a very unique exposure to discovery. I think that's what gets them (investors) excited and I think that we've come up with a unique solution to increase our chances of making a discovery."
So far this drilling season, the firm has sunk 41 holes for around 2,500 meters at five of its projects using its own track-mounted rig, and Peters reckons, now that the company has addressed some technical issues, that number of meters drilled will be higher still next summer.
Being able to use its own drill (and have its own experienced technical crew) is also highly cost-effective, since hiring a contractor would cost around four times what the firm pays ($2,500 a day) and also it can cover more ground more speedily.
"There aren't a lot of RC drill contractors in British Columbia. There are a couple but generally speaking, they are booked up," says Peters.
Prospect generator model
For the uninitiated, the idea behind the model, is that the firm uses the RC drill, a cheaper drill method to test multiple projects, in a bid to attract, at an early stage, larger companies - preferably copper majors, who will come in and advance the projects further with the more expensive diamond drilling.
Pacific Empire aims to retain the largest possible interest in the property for as long as possible, and having its own successful drill results allows it to potentially cut better deals with partners.
Having started as a private firm in 2013, it has since 2014, been successful in having partner-funded diamond drill programs each year.
The group went public in March this year and bought an RC drill rig and all support equipment for about $500,000 all in.
British Columbia is well known for being mining friendly. It's politically safe with good infrastructure, cheap power and an experienced workforce.
It's also good for finding gold and copper porphyry type deposits, which Pacific Empire is after and what the majors appear to be looking for at this time.
The medium and long-term outlook for copper as a commodity is good not least due to its use in electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure, which powers the green energy sector.
A large portfolio
Pacific Empire has the Stars property, where diamond drilling is being partner-funded by ML Gold Corp, the Kitimat property, the Copper King property, the Moffat property, the Nub East property, the Bulkley initiative and the Wildcat property, and the Pinnacle Reef property – all of which have been identified for their prospectivity and where the aim is to attract a good partner.
At Stars, ML Gold has completed almost 6,500 meters of drilling in 16 holes, while the highlight recently has been the firm's work at Copper King, which shows the potential for a buried porphyry system, which is exactly what the company is after at this location.
Four holes for 459 metres were sunk at Copper King with the group's in-house track-mounted RC drill and highlight intercepts included 64 metres (m) at 0.17% copper in hole RC18COP003 and 4.6 metres (m) at 0.40% copper in hole RC18COP004.
As with all its projects, the firm hopes to bring in a partner for Copper King, an area, which has until now really not seen any drilling.
All in all, Pacific Empire has a lot of potential to offer - an unusual business model, which gives it efficiency and speed, a great location and a strong, experienced management.
This could well be a company to look out for over forthcoming years.