Tier One Silver (TSXV:TSLV – OTC:TSLVF) recently expanded the footprint of their flagship Curibaya silver project after discovering more high grade silver veins at surface. Channel sample highlights include 2 metres (m) of 6,278 g/t silver equivalent (AgEq), 2 m of 1,256 g/t AgEq, 6 m of 398 g/t AgEq, 12 m of 203 g/t AgEq and 17 m of 71 g/t AgEq. These results demonstrate both high-grade vein and disseminated styles of mineralization within the 4 kilometre (km) by 5 km alteration system that currently defines the mineralized system at the project. In addition, selective rock sampling from newly identified veins on surface has yielded 11 samples over 1,000 g/t silver with a peak assay of 9,910 g/t silver. Gold values from the sampled veins yielded 13 samples above 1 g/t with a peak value of 8.79 g/t.
Tier One Silver is focused on creating significant value for shareholders through the exploration and potential discovery of world-class silver, gold and copper deposits in southwest Peru. Tier One Silver’s main focus currently is the 100% owned Curibaya project, which consists of approximately 11,000 hectares and is located approximately 48 km north-northeast of the provincial capital, Tacna, accessible by road. Rock grab sampling at the Curibaya project has returned grades of up to 298,000 g/t silver and 934 g/t gold, with samples spread across a 4 x 5 km alteration system. In this interview CEO Peter Dembicki and Chairman Ivan Bebek provides an update on Tier One Silver’s progress, upcoming developments and overall investment value proposition.
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1:32 Peter’s recent trip to visit Curibaya project
5:14 Recent surface sample results & expanded footprint
6:27 When to expect initial core drill results?
8:19 Ivan’s feedback from TSLV geologists
14:42 “We will be drilling this [project] for a long time”
15:43 Drill permit allows for 40 holes
16:35 Philosophy of monetizing geological success
Bill: Thanks for tuning in to Mining Stock Education. I’m your host, Bill Powers, and in today’s show we’re going to be getting an update from Tier One Silver. If you’ve been following this show, you know that they’re engaged in a core drilling program at their Curibaya Project in Peru. The surface samples have shown multi-kilo high grade silver, and now the company is testing and verifying what is underneath. So the drills are turning, but in the meantime, there’s been some more sampling. So, Peter, Ivan, welcome back to the show. Peter, if you could give us an update, you’ve been down there. So what is the vibe like at site and what can you tell us from your experience, just getting back from Peru?
Peter: Yeah, thanks for having me, Bill. It was a mind blowing sight to behold. Going down to Lima, heading down to Tacna, making the hour and a half drive out of Tacna into the drill site and the camp…It was just the scale and the vastness was just incredible to behold in-person, finally having boots on the ground. As you know, I started with Tier One on January 1st, so this is my first opportunity to really get in there, and what the company has done, what the operations have done on the ground down there is just incredible. From the quality of the camp, to being able to get the drill rig up to certain locations, it’s been amazing. And I think talking to the geologists on the ground, it really does seem like they’re a bunch of kids in a toy store. They really don’t know…like it’s just what aisle do we go down? Because every aisle we go down is something greater than before, and so their eyes are all like saucers. They’re incredibly excited, and at every turn it seems like there’s more opportunity.
So it was a really special trip, and really to get a sense of what could happen if something bigger were to happen with Curibaya. Down the road, if this turns into a mine, you’ve really got to look at all the infrastructure in place, how easy is it to get to…the elevation is low to sea level. So there were all the boxes that we spoke of. I finally got a chance to live, and to really check off all the boxes and say, “this is really accessible; it’s in a great area with a huge support from the local community.” So it was a real treat for me.
Bill: How did you access it as the CEO when you went out there? What form of transportation got you up there?
Peter: So when you leave Tacna, which is the city of about 300,000 people, you take about a 45 minute, 50 minute drive down the Pan-American Highway–which is an incredibly well, high quality highway. Better than some we in Canada, for sure. And then you take your exit off into the foothills of the Andes and leading up to Curibaya, another 50 minute drive. But probably one of the most impressive things is the road construction that we built to get into the site. We’ve done over about 45 to 50 kilometers of road heading up to the camp site and into the drill area. So, very impressive. And to be able to be that remote, and how easily we got there by a pickup truck was really great to see.
Bill: And the elevation was about 3000 feet, if I recall–is that right?
Peter: Yeah, you’re testing my metric versus imperial, but about 1400 meters. So just under what you had experienced in Denver. So really, as geologists put it, there is no elevation…as far as me climbing up a ridge, I was huffing and puffing a bit, but that could be my own fitness. But it was very easily done; you don’t have to do any sort of altitude training to get up to site at all, and it’s beautiful. The climate was perfect. As far as Celsius concerned, mid-twenties. Fahrenheit’s probably mid-seventies. You got to be careful of that sun in South America, because it can be really, really strong with the lack of protection out there. But great, great conditions all around to be working in.
Bill: So Peter, as you know, everybody is anticipating the core results, the initial core results. But in the meantime, last week you put out some more surface sample results. Talk us through this. What’s the significance, and how does this relate into your drilling thesis that you’re operating with right now?
Peter: Yeah, absolutely. So, like I mentioned before, every time we turn another corner or find another zone, there’s high grade to scream from the rooftops. And this was another example of how we really are–I hate this analogy–but scratching the surface on this project. You look at our presentation, how we’re really focused on one third of Curibaya. And that third just…is just expanding and expanding, and getting bigger and greater. So this was just another testament to the high grade, and we got to follow the grade at the end of the day. We’re not going to follow a narrative because we want it to happen and the grade isn’t there. We’re chasing after it. And so it’s another example of another zone to extend to. And as we see more and more of this, you’re going to see the plan expanding as well. So it’s very intriguing to see, and being down there on site to see it all in person was second to none.
Bill: When we spoke about two months ago, we were kind of expecting drill results by now, but we’re still waiting. So can you give us an update on timing please?
Peter: Sure thing. So, we’re at the mercy of the labs, of course, and they’ve seen a huge influx of samples and cores that they’re analyzing. So again, I’m not going to give dates, because we’ve been through this and we were leading up to listing and it doesn’t service too well when we have estimated times of arrival. But we’re hoping over the next few weeks, we get our first results back from hole number one. We’re through hole one; we’re through hole two. We are, I would say, a hundred or so meters into hole number three already. So we’re going to have steady news flow coming out as the labs start churning out our results.
Bill: So we’re waiting on the assay labs, but has there been anything logistically that has slowed you down drilling, that you weren’t expecting?
Peter: You know what, just the quality of the rock. Again, this is something that’s never before been drilled. So we never really had an indication of what we were going to run into. We can do all the geophysics and the mapping that we can, but until that drill hits the ground and the rock, we learn more about each zone as we pass through it–as we go further and further down underground. And so the biggest thing for us was our access to water. And when you hit certain formations underground, sometimes you lose water; sometimes you’re able to recirculate it. So that’s got to be the biggest learning curve and the biggest one that we’ve run into, but it’s getting better and we’re becoming more efficient with every meter that we’re drilling, and that’s going to continue. And that’s important for us, right, to keep costs down and to keep everything efficient. And for shareholders sake, we need to keep the news flow coming, and have the results coming as well.
Bill: Ivan, I know from talking to you both on recording and off recording that you’re in close contact with all your geologists in Friedland-esque fashion. Can you give us a sense of what you’re getting from your geologists and what are you seeing technically right now; even though you don’t have the core back, what more update can you give us?
Ivan: Sure. Peter’s done a great job of…the most important word that he mentioned in his visit to the site is the scale– the vast size of it, right? And having seen a lot of discoveries over time, back in Kegan’s, we were three and a half kilometers of strike length, and the deposit ended up being five million ounces, and you could do the early math. In the case here, because we’re on the address of some of those monster deposits, like Toquepala or mines next to Quellaveco, it really comes down to footprint. What kind of footprint can you identify as you are drilling? And two things about our footprint, which you’ve all seen, is the fertile nature of it: the grade is outstanding. There’s Bonanza-grade everywhere. We really don’t know if we’re in the best spot with the first three holes or in peripheral to something better, but that’s the perfect problem to have when you’re drilling something.
So to answer your question, what the geologists think…they think they’ve got it, and in many ways, shape, or form, but they just don’t know what they have yet until they get the assays back. We expect two types of results from the first few holes. And either we’re going to get Bonanza-grade all over the place, or we’re going to get some smoke that tells us we’re right next to Bonanza-grade, or we’re going to get both. Those are three things; there’s some factors there we don’t know, but the rock looks good enough in the drill hole for us to speculate and be excited–no question. On the actual scale footprint, we put out those channel sample results, which is the closest thing we could actually do to a trench here. A lot of the system is not day lighting on surface. Thin veins are, but when you drill down, where obviously we’re seeing more than just a few thin narrow veins, we’re seeing a lot more. The same channels of a couple of meters of six kilo silver, I mean…there’s very few places in the world that you see that, and that would become, in drill holes, something we’d consider a Bonanza-zone or Bonanza-section if we drill that.
I think what, to really get excited about from us here in the next month or so, or a few weeks…you’re going to see this footprint get bigger again. And it’s really pushing that world-class scale and it’s fertile throughout. So I just think that my eyes have definitely gotten bigger from when we started. All of the geologists have a level of confidence that’s really high. We think we’re going to see silver and gold, and plus some other metals in the core of what we drilled. We’ll obviously see some base metals–it would not be uncommon not to see those. But I can tell you right now, our theme internally is we’d like to add more drills to kind of speed up the possibility for news. In other companies I’m involved in, the only way to really mitigate your slow assay labs has been by adding drills, which is a catch 22, because you want to do it on the back of some big holes and price movement, and a proper funding. I think Peter and the team-
Bill: And also the knowledge you get from the holes too, right Ivan?
Ivan: The knowledge is paramount. I think the knowledge is going to be a good insight to what, but I’ve said to a lot of people before we went out on Curibaya that, “One hole to make it, and a lot of holes to kill it.” One hole to start it is probably more accurate. Because one hole, no matter how good this hole is, or isn’t, it will not determine the proper scale of what’s here. It’s going to take a lot more drilling if it’s there for us and all our geologists to turn to the market, say, “hey, it’s this big, or it’s that big,” you know? And that’s a good problem to have when you get on any project and you see the kind of grade we’re seeing.
One last thing there from my end is just Peter and the team have really done a lot of forward-looking on getting additional permits to drill more holes and expand the footprint of our drill. Like they’re really forward-looking with this project, and we will be actionary once we get that first result, and we will make decisions that imply what our confidence is like. But so far, yes, it’s a really good shot. It’s gotten better. The assay lab delay…it’s the theme of this industry. It really has to do with how COVID has impacted assay labs. First off, they laid off a lot of people because they didn’t know if people would be drilling during COVID and they have to protect their businesses. Second of all, when they re-staffed their labs, then…they have a lot new protocol. If you asked Peter about how many safety precautions and trainings he goes to just to get to our site, there’s several layers of safety that’s brought in, not just physical safety, but COVID safety. So in a controlled environment like an assay lab with people that are interacting with crushing cores and doing that–they’re also being faced by this thing. And what we have done–that surprised all assay labs as mining exploration companies–we’ve gone out there and flooded the labs with results. We’re pumping out the results or the rocks to be sampled.
So, it’s tough to wait, Bill, and like Peter, I don’t want to give dates sooner than later. If you start getting into really high grade, there’s different metrics that you do; you have to rerun your results, which takes more time. I’m not saying we’re doing that yet. I won’t comment if we are doing that–all I’m going to say is that we hope to have results at the end of this month. And if it takes a bit longer, it’s nothing to be worried about, concerned about…and just be excited that whole three will be drilled and in the lab probably by the end of the month, and we’ll be on hole four.
And so to Peter’s point earlier, we’re going to have a pipeline of news to come. And when you look at high grade, like six, nine kilo silver is renouncing, or 10, or 20, or 300 kilo silver on surface…you’re going to hit that in some places, and you might miss it entirely in others, but you have to think holistically, and the way to do that is to think, “Well, okay, wait a minute. There’s high grade here. How big is the area that could host a high grade?” So look forward to more news from us on that footprint getting bigger, and just be excited about so many different areas that could really deliver that grade. And we’ve advertised this to be a world beater–that this could really be it. And it definitely has gone in that direction since the last time we’ve said that, in terms of what we’re seeing from surface. So geologists are really pumped. We’re really pumped. We’re really excited. And can’t wait to get those first assays out so we can put some reality here, and I’m ready for both ends of the spectrum–smoke or the big hit. And we’ll see what happens, but it’s exciting.
Bill: And Ivan, you said it needs about 30 holes to really test this thesis. Is that right?
Ivan: Well, you know what, because the footprint’s getting bigger than our drill area-
Bill: Via sampling? Is that how it’s getting bigger–via sampling?
Ivan: Well, if you look at our last press release, we talked about this big outcropping area of veins. We found about 80 meters of outcropping veins on surface. That’s the biggest width of veins we’ve seen an outcrop. Waiting for those or the next results to come out is: do they run or not? We think they do because they look like the other veins we’ve been sampling, but that’s going to expand that footprint more, and all I just want to say on that note is that if the polygon is like this for a big discovery and you have so much grade on it, and you have to increase your drill polygon to that, it’s going to take a lot of holes. We will be drilling this for a long time before we know how big this project really is…and that is an absolute dream as an investor to be part of something like that. If it’s there, how big can it be? The longer that takes to answer, the bigger it’s going to be, so just remember those words; those are very important.
Bill: Peter, how many drill permits do you have as you progress with more drills? Is it like 30 or 40 drill permits you already have approved?
Peter: We have one drill permit that’s called an FTA that allows us to have 20 drill pads, and you’re allowed to have two drills per pad, so 40 holes. And working in the background to see what it’s going to take to increase that if we expand our property–expand the drill program. Of course, we’re always looking to see what’s available to us. So that’s what we have right now, which gives us a great spot and a great amount of learning holes, I would say. And we’re going to learn a ton in the next..over six or seven holes. We’re going to have a great idea of this first section of what we have, or don’t have, or how great it is. So it’s a great spot to be in for right now.
Bill: Ivan, a question came in from a listener since we last spoke, and it deals with, assuming you have geological success with Curibaya, you also have several other silver projects. Can you talk a little bit about your philosophy of how you plan to monetize this project, but perhaps not sell the whole company?
Ivan: It’s a great question, and it comes down to what we did with Orin, right? We had three different key assets in one company. We weren’t getting paid for all three, and so we separated it. We built out teams during COVID, which has been very challenging to do so, but we found incredible people to drive these forward. So when we look at our model as explorers, we kind of really…we’re not trying to do something new than what somebody legendary has done in front of us being Ross Beaty, and I have all the respect for him in the world with his Lumina Copper days. And he delivered four or five sales out of one company. And I think in the case of Tier One Silver, you’re going to see a sequence of assets that we’re going to try to keep and sell again and again. So if we can take one share of yours, and sell it three or four times, then we’ve really hit it out of the park. And that’s a very shareholder minded kind of thought process or business plan.
Now what we’re not going to do with Curibaya or with Tier One is we’re not going to split the company or spin out two of the assets into their own entities and try to find new management teams. We’re at capacity there. We’re managing it just fine, but we’d rather spin out and sell these assets one at a time. So you get a dividend per sale, and that’s the avenue we would take if more of these assets really come together for us. And what I think you’re also going to hear about, and I’m sure Peter has some views on it too, is Hurricane Silver was the backup silver asset to Curibaya before we knew 80% of what we know about Curibaya today. And it is flagship worthy on the silver side. It is a very under explored, very robust district, plus kilo silver. It has 14 meter wide veins that are roughly of 100 grams silver. Those are widths to go with some high grade, and it’s a project that would carry Tier One’s excitement the way Curibaya is just by itself.
We need some work on it to get there, to go and do that, but I believe we’re getting access here shortly, Peter, to go do that. And so I think you’re going to see a very, very significant silver portfolio from us, and you’re going to see a potential pipeline of where we might be able to dividend more than one sale in the company. And that would be the strategy here.
Capital is really strong. Our treasury still closer to $11 million. So we’re spending at a very good rate to give ourselves a ton of optionality, a ton of results, and a lot of performance before we do the next funding. And that includes getting Hurricane Silver down the road towards that drill ready stage on the backside, and as well as Emilia and the Coastal Batholith.
So we’re in a really, really strong position with this company. And I know the markets are volatile. We’ve all seen, and as I’ve tweeted today, I love to see volatility before a big gold move. I haven’t declared up or down for the precious metals, but I think we’re overdue for a really good bounce in the metals. And I think what’s more important…and this totally relates, right, to Tier One–is this industry needs big discoveries. It doesn’t have them from a supply and demand growth perspective, and we’ve put ourselves at the front of the list on the precious metal side, predominately silver, to go answer that big question. But when there hasn’t been big discoveries in a long time, industry is hungry. You get way better premiums if you haven’t, and you weather really tough volatility until you get there. So it’s been really exciting; can’t wait for the results here in the next coming weeks. And that’s where we sit from a corporate perspective.
Bill: Excellent. Well, we’ll call that an interview. Peter Dembicki, president and CEO: thank you for joining me. Ivan Bebek, the chair: thank you for joining me. Tier One Silver, website is tieronesilver.com. Trades as TSLV in Canada and TSLVF in the states. Thanks for tuning in.