Under its new name, TriMetals is bringing forth projects in North and South America with a focus on copper in Chile.
What was the motivation behind transitioning from South American Silver to TriMetals Mining?
South American Silver began in 2007 with two flagship projects; the Malku Khota silver project in Bolivia, and the Escalones porphyry copper project in Chile. Malku Khota was on its way to becoming a world-class mine but was nationalized by the Bolivian government. In December 2013, the company merged with High Desert Gold and took over its Gold Springs project on the Nevada-Utah border. At that point, we were in both North and South America with gold and copper projects, so the name of the company no longer made sense. TriMetals Mining better represents the current focus of the company.
What are the company’s plans with its current assets?
We recently completed a $3.85 million financing. The majority of these funds will be used to advance Gold Springs, which is the major focus of company activities. With Escalones, we have been waiting for an improvement in the copper market and believe now is a good time to look for a partner or an alternative way to monetize this important asset. One of the ideas we are exploring is to spin out the asset as a new company with new funds to allow for a more aggressive exploration program on the property and maybe acquire additional properties in Chile, Peru, or Argentina in the long-term. We have already published a 43-101 resource for Escalones, and we have the permits to begin the next phase of drilling, which is a 20,000 meter program. This program will likely start by mid-2018 and then take us into a pre-feasibility study. At the moment, Escalones, which is located near El Teniente, has 6.5 billion pounds of copper equivalent at a grade of 0.38%. Our aim is to take the project through the development process, likely with an equity partner or as a joint venture, if it makes the most sense at the time.
How is TriMetals Mining perceived in the public marketplace?
The public market seems to have a good perception of TriMetals Mining and this shows in our recent fundraising for Gold Springs, which was done through BMO. We have a team that has made multiple successful discoveries, which is recognized in the marketplace. Our market cap and share price are relatively strong now, but we expect both metrics to improve as the mining industry recovers. Gold Springs and Escalones both have a lot of potential. The deposits are already quite large and we have so far only explored 10% and 15%, respectively, of each project.
Have you had any issues with water accessibility or local community engagement at Escalones?
There is water in the area and we have approval from the authorities and local tenants to use it. We expect there to be enough water for the foreseeable future. We are also only nine kilometers from Argentina and can find some water there. Our engagement with the local community has thus far been very positive. We are more than 40 kilometers away from the nearest town, so the community impact will be relatively small. That said, we are in constant contact with representatives from the town and have their support. We typically try to hire as many employees as we can from local towns.
What is TriMetals Mining’s long-term vision for Chile?
While we are considering additional projects in Peru and Argentina, porphyry copper projects in Chile remain our top priority. Chile is very stable and has favorable mining policies. We are optimistic about exploration in Chile. In my opinion, exploration is always plausible, and many projects that are seemingly at a dead end just need to be rethought. Most of the obvious mineralization in Chile has already been discovered, but there is plenty of potential if explorers get creative. Projects are not found, they are created.