February 23rd, 2023 | 16:17 CET
First Majestic Silver, Blackrock Silver, American Lithium - Long-term opportunity
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"[...] In our experience, the local communities are supportive and friendly. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
Blackrock Silver - Triple opportunity
Compared to gold, silver offers a twofold opportunity for significant appreciation. On the one hand, like its big brother, it serves as a hedge against inflation and crises. On the other hand, the gray metal is increasingly in demand from industry due to the energy transition and digitalization. In addition to direct investment in coins and bars, investors have many options at their disposal, for example, ETFs that track the price one-to-one. Investments in exploration companies, such as Blackrock Silver, offer unique leverage. The fact that the Canadian company's properties contain not only the precious metals gold and silver but also lithium, an essential raw material for electromobility, lends the Company, which is valued at CAD 75.66 million, additional fantasy.
Blackrock Silver focuses on developing silver and gold projects in the US state of Nevada, which enjoys worldwide renown as the "Silver State." In doing so, Blackrock's flagship Tonopah West project consolidates the western half of the famed silver district within the Walker Lane trend. Known as the "Queen of the Silver Camps," the Tonopah Silver District historically produced over 174 million ounces of silver and 1.8 million ounces of gold, making it one of North America's most significant silver districts. As the first group to reactivate historic mining areas on the property since production ceased nearly 100 years ago, Blackrock has completed more than 150,000m of exploration drilling since 2020, making this the most active silver exploration project in North America. Tonopah West has a maiden mineral resource estimate of 2.97Mt at a block diluted grade of 208g/t silver and 2.5g/t gold for a total inferred mineral resource of 19,902,000 ounces Ag and 238,000 ounces Au or 446g/t silver equivalent for 42.6Moz, making Tonopah West one of the highest-grade undeveloped silver projects in the world.
High-grade discoveries at Silver Cloud
In addition to Tonopah West, Blackrock Silver controls Silver Cloud, another high-grade property measuring more than 45 sq km. The project is located 20km south of the Midas mine and just 3km from the Hollister mine along the prolific Northern Nevada Rift in northern Nevada. Late last year, the Company announced results from a three-hole program. The results showed discoveries of 52.62 g/t gold and 606 g/t silver over 1.5 meters, indicating that Silver Cloud has similar veins to the Midas mine. In addition, there has been little past drilling at Silver Cloud, making the deposit one of Nevada's largest unexplored volcanic epithermal gold and silver districts.
High-grade Lithium discoveries
Blackrock Silver hit the jackpot last year when it staked 20 sq km of claims adjacent to Tonopah in search of gold and silver and conducted a 9,300-meter drill program in 20 holes. Broad lithium zones were identified. Beginning near surface, drilling encountered grades of up to 1,217 ppm lithium in a 3km wide strip up to 56.4m thick, extending to 8m at surface. Another interesting aspect is that Tonopah North is directly adjacent to American Lithium's TLC deposit. An initial pre-feasibility study yielded an after-tax net present value (8%) of USD 3.26 billion and an after-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 27.5%.
A joint venture with Tearlach Resources to develop the lithium project was announced in January. Drilling has now commenced. The first phase of core drilling was designed to confirm the discovered lithium mineralization. Tearlach plans a bulk sample of 1 to 2t for the second quarter of 2023. The objective is to accelerate the design of the pilot plant. Material from the mineralized intercepts will also be used concurrently for initial metallurgical testing.
Andrew Pollard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blackrock, commented, "Tonopah is widely known as one of North America's great silver districts but is rapidly gaining prominence as a world-renowned district in the lithium sector following the release of American Lithium's first PEA for its TLC project, which describes a very robust, low-cost operation, and the announcement of our recent lithium discovery nearby."
Blackrock Silver already owns two high-grade silver and gold deposits in addition to its flagship Tonopah West project and Silver Cloud. Tonopah North, which is adjacent to American Lithium's deposit, also added another project with high lithium grades. The Company, with prominent shareholders such as First Majestic Silver and Eric Sprott, could thus become an outperformer if the price of precious metals rises in the long term. Due to the increasing demand for lithium, the Canadians also benefit from the transformation in the transport sector.
Conflict of interest
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