"This is one of the largest exploration opportunities for a precious metal system that I have seen in my 21 years in this business in terms of abundance of high grade, scale identified through geophysics and proximity to world-class deposits on a major mining trend."
Can you introduce Tier One Silver (TSLV) and provide an overview of the company’s portfolio?
Tier One Silver (TSLV) is a new exploration company that just started trading on the TSXV. It was spun out of Auryn Resources in October 2020. We raised and spent over C$100 million in Auryn looking for world-class precious and base metal discoveries. We succeeded in identifying significant projects in both Canada and Peru, including three flagship opportunities, and now Tier One Silver has one of them — the Curibaya project. This project has been getting a lot of attention due to the incredible high-grade silver that’s been sampled on surface and the large-scale geophysical targets situated directly below that high-grade. We have also identified two additional high potential projects – Hurricane Silver and Emilia. Hurricane Silver is an underexplored region of Peru with exceptional silver grades and outcropping veins identified in early sampling work. Emilia, which sits next to Tía María, could be described as an analogue to Cerro Verde – a massive porphyry system outcropping along the coast of Peru that has seen limited exploration work.
Why did you decide to spin out Auryn to create three separate companies?
Our thesis is that you cannot get full value as an exploration company when you have multiple metal focuses in multiple jurisdictions in one company. Once we had we identified at least three separate flagships projects, we decided to align one company to silver (Tier One Silver), one company to gold (Fury Gold Mines) and one company to copper-gold (Sombrero Resources) in order to unlock shareholder value and create commodity focused companies. We were fortunate to find incredible personnel in South America and Canada to support all three companies. This includes Tier One Silver’s president and CEO, Peter Dembicki, who brings a wealth of experience in the capital markets, to complement our technical team, who have backgrounds with major mining companies such as Newmont, BHP and Barrick.
What type of mineralization do you have at Tier One’s flagship Curibaya property?
Curibaya is an 11,000-hectare property located in a copper porphyry belt that hosts some of Peru’s largest deposits, including Cerro Verde, Toquepala and Quellaveco. It is a fully preserved precious metal target, the first major epithermal occurrence on this belt, on top of a what may potentially be a large porphyry intrusion, which we’ve identified through magnetics. Of consequence, the highlights include 80 samples on surface that run over 500 gram silver up to to 298 kilo silver, over a 20 km2 alteration system, as well as about 60 samples that run over 2 g/t gold up to 934 g/t gold.
We recently completed geophysics, and identified 750 meters (m) of veins and breccia structures, as well as a massive mineralized target that’s about 400m in diameter. This could potentially be the nucleus that these metals emanate from, situated above a porphyry target that would start about 500m from surface. This is one of the largest exploration opportunities for a precious metal system that I have seen in my 21 years in this business in terms of abundance of high grade, scale identified through geophysics and proximity to world-class deposits on a major mining trend. It is remarkable that the entire precious metal system has been preserved whereas at mines nearby, it appears to have eroded off.
On February 11th, TSLV announced it would undertake a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of up to C$10 million. Where will this money be directed?
The capital will take us to the end of the year, allowing Tier One Silver to fund the approximately 10,000m of drilling at Curibaya, where we will target the precious metal system as well as the potential porphyry targets below. It will also cover initial targeting work at our newly acquired Hurricane and Emilia projects to bring them to a drill-ready stage as well.
Peru’s geological endowment is undisputed, but cumbersome permitting has caused investment in exploration to decrease. Have you noticed an improvement in the climate for juniors in Peru recently?
A year or two ago, I would have complained about the length of time it takes to obtain permits, however, there has certainly been a shift since Covid. I believe Peru understands the importance of expediting project development so Peruvians can benefit from the wealth created by large-scale mining operations. One of the most important adjustments the ministry made was allowing companies to trench without a drill permit, supporting early-stage exploration. For Curibaya, we obtained our FTA permit in a period of about five months, receiving it on December 28th during the impeachment and during Covid limitations.
Silver has been in the headlines in 2021, in part due to the short squeeze phenomenon that started on Reddit. What are your feelings regarding the uptick in silver-focused juniors?
Silver is the best performing equity for an exploration company during a bull market. We all saw the Reddit and GameStop event, and as this developed it really brought the world’s attention toward silver and its incredible potential as an investment and for industrial uses. Silver has a history of outperforming all precious metals. I would not want to see silver shoot up too sharply overnight, as this could be short-lived, and we do not need inflated prices to make our project work.
A lot of new silver companies have appeared suddenly, but most have small-scale projects, and there are very few with world-class potential on the level of what we are seeing at Curibaya. These opportunities of size and scale are extremely rare.