Interview with Silver Viper
Interview with Silver Viper: Future price drivers and takeover fantasy
time to read: 7 minutes | The interview was conducted by Nico Popp on April 6th, 2021 in Vancouver (CAN).
President, CEO and Director | Silver Viper
1055 W Hastings St Suite 1130, V6E 2E9 Vancouver (CAN)
Table of contents:
Operating environment in Mexico
news|financial: "You are active in Mexico and are pushing ahead with your La Virginia project there. What general conditions does Mexico offer for raw material companies?"
"[...] In our experience, the local communities are supportive and friendly. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
We have worked on several projects in Mexico over the past twenty years. In our opinion, the country is one of the best regions for precious metals exploration. It is the leading silver producer and has a rich mining history. In our experience, the local communities are supportive and friendly. Mining is engrained in the country's history, and to that end, the people understand its importance.
Historical and new findings from La Virginia
news|financial: "On the one hand, your work is based on historical databases with results from around ten years ago. On the other hand, you have already drilled yourself successfully and achieved results of 19.3m 21.2 g/t Au and 363 g/t Ag, for example. What is the picture of the data from the La Virginia project so far?"
"[...] The El Rubi area offers potential for both open pit and underground mining. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
The historical data results from four years of exploration work by the previous operators and the geological information it contains is a valuable part of the La Virginia project. That being said, our focus is on our discoveries at El Rubi, which is 4 to 5 km north of the main historical work area. Based on the results of our exploration work, this appears to be a significant zone. The El Rubi area offers potential for both open pit and underground mining. It has also produced by far the most significant assays. Drill hole LV21-289 highlighted the potential for both mining methods, with a long section of low grade material and an additional high grade zone corresponding to the EL Rubi structure at depth. This hole intersected a long run of 130m of around 1 g/t gold equivalent and then, deeper, 19.3 m of 21.2 g/t Au and 363 g/t Ag. This hole has attracted the attention of the market and we are currently working to extend this intercept.
Roadmap for 2021
news|financial: "You emphasize the great potential. What are your plans for 2021? Can you provide a roadmap for 2021?"
With any investment, the potential is always important to consider. There are several aspects we work on referring to potential, the first of which is the maiden resource, which we expect to release in the next couple of weeks. A maiden resource is an important milestone for any project, but it is important to note the maiden resource is only the beginning. The El Rubi zone remains open along strike and at depth, so we expect to expand the resource with further drilling. The other important potential catalyst for our development is new discoveries. We have multiple untested targets on the project that will be part of the reconnaissance drill program in 2021. These elements will provide a steady news flow and lots of potential for further development.
Silver or gold?
news|financial: "La Virginia has gold and silver. Your Company has silver in its name. Are you focusing more on the latter precious metal?"
Silver Viper focuses on both gold and silver. They are both important when it comes to the economics of a potential mine on the project. Currently, I think the market is more focused on silver for two reasons. First, the attention that the Silver Squeeze has generated, and two, where we are in the precious metals cycle. There is a lot of talk about silver outperforming gold on the way up in the cycle. That, combined with falling global production, offers a lot of potential for silver prices to skyrocket. I am certainly interested to see how metal prices perform over the next few years, as I believe we are just at the beginning of a long bull market in precious metals.
Rising demand provides a tailwind
news|financial: "What role does the greater importance of silver as an industrial metal in the automotive industry or around renewable energies play in your project's economic framework?"
"[...] Our model is to advance the project to a point at which one of the major mining companies wants to buy us out. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
The most important part of increased demand is the effect it should have on the price of silver. The higher the metal price rises, the more our project is worth. Our model is to advance the project to a point at which one of the major mining companies wants to buy us out. The higher the metals price, the more we will get in a takeover. I believe the Company is well-positioned to take advantage of where we are in the cycle. We have done a great job showing why we are one of the best precious metals companies in the junior space.
news|financial: "Silver Viper's market capitalization is CAD 50.4 million and you have about CAD 2 million cash on hand. How far can the cash balance carry you? What is the role of the outstanding subscription rights at CAD 0.50?"
"[...] One of the alternative options for financing is a strategic investment from a mining company. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
Financially we are in a good position right now, but we will try to strengthen the balance sheet as soon as it makes sense from a strategic point of view. With the maiden resource estimate and the ongoing drill results, we see several catalysts for the future. One of the alternative options for financing is a strategic investment from a mining company. If the right offer presents itself, I think this is the direction I would like to go. The CAD 0.50 warrants from the last placement do not expire until June 2022, but as the share price moves up, we may start to see some of those warrants get exercised early. Potentially, this could bring in an additional CAD 3.5 million.
news|financial: "Silver Viper's shareholder structure includes about 60% institutional investors, with another 23% of shares in the hands of management. Recently, however, private investors from the USA have also been buying your shares. How do you see your shareholder structure?"
"[...] We have focused on increasing our retail marketing, and it seems we are succeeding on that front. [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
I am very happy with the current structure of the Company. After the last financing, we had about 20 different funds holding the stock in their portfolios. For a company of our size, that is an incredibly strong ownership relative to our peers. The high percentage of management ownership is a characteristic of all companies within the Belcarra Group. We believe the best place to invest is in ourselves! We buy in the open market, support the companies in the financings, and always want to make sure our interests are aligned with our shareholders. Recently, I have been very pleased with the increase in buying by retail investors, particularly in our OTCQB listing in the US. We have seen a dramatic increase in volume over the last month due to recent announcements. We have focused on increasing our retail marketing, and it seems we are succeeding on that front.
Lead and tin and some well-intentioned advice
news|financial: "You recently announced outstanding drill results. What do these results mean for the overall picture and how do your institutional partners interpret the situation?"
"[...] A number of the funds recognize where we are positioned in the market, and their advice has been, "Do not sell the company too cheap." [...]" Steve Cope, President, CEO and Director, Silver Viper
The results you refer to are from an area in the southern part of El Rubi. They are the deepest, broadest and highest grade results to date. What is unique about this one extremely high-grade assay is the presence of base metals. We had almost 14% lead and zinc combined, while the rest of the project had hardly any anomalous values. We encountered the highest-grade sample we have ever drilled in the same section: 738 g/t Au and 10,681 g/t Ag. One of our working hypotheses is that we are probably very close to one of the feeders for mineralization in this section. We are currently drilling above and below this intercept to further understand the mineralized zone's orientation and mineral distribution. Unfortunately, hole 284, which was designed to show the broad, elongated mineralization in our western El Rubi zone directly from the surface, was lost. Regardless, investors are excited about the development and feedback is generally very positive. A number of the funds recognize where we are positioned in the market, and their advice has been, "Do not sell the company too cheap."
news|financial: "Thank you very much for talking to us."