Interview with Tocvan Ventures
Interview with Tocvan Ventures: "High gold content and low costs have convinced professional investors despite the crisis”.
time to read: 9 minutes | The interview was conducted by Nico Popp on July 12th, 2022 in Vancouver (CAN).
CEO | Tocvan Ventures
820 – 1130 West Pender St, V6E 4A4 Vancouver (CAN)
+ 1 403 829 9877
Table of contents:
Two hot irons in the fire
news|financial: "Your focus is on gold and silver in Mexico. With Pilar and El Picacho, you have two promising projects in the pipeline. Please briefly outline what both projects are about and at what stage they are?"
"[...] One focus will be on deposits near the surface. These would be good arguments for a quick production decision using the low-cost heap leaching method. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
Pilar is a project in an advanced exploration stage. We have already drilled over 20,000 meters there. It is located about 2.5 hours from Hermosillo, the capital of the Mexican state of Sonora, and is integrated into an intact infrastructure. Our focus is on gold and silver. Over the past two years, we have been looking more closely at the area we call the Main Zone. Since summer, we have been searching for new zones of mineralization. We have already had a first partial success by drilling indications of deposits outside the Main Zone a few weeks ago. Our goal now is to drill as much as possible to confirm the potential and clearly show the project's prospects. One focus will be on deposits near the surface. These would be good arguments for a quick production decision using the low-cost heap leaching method.
El Picacho is located about two hours north of Hermosillo and is at an earlier stage. However, the key data are also very promising. The infrastructure is good - a few kilometers away is the San Francisco mine, and we believe El Picacho has a similar geology. Recently, we reported results from surface sampling that is very promising because of the high grades of gold and silver as well as the industrial metals lead and zinc. Some of the samples we are talking about include 7.2 g/t gold, 36 g/t silver, and 4.4% lead. Other samples also returned up to 7.1% zinc per ton. Due to the property size of 24 km², it offers many opportunities for exploration and could bring us many more surprises. We plan to drill at El Picacho before the end of the year. We are developing both projects in parallel, thus ensuring a constant news flow.
El Picacho is at an interesting stage
news|financial: "If we compare the development stages of both projects: By how many years is El Picacho behind Pilar?"
About three to four years. One has to keep in mind that drilling programs build on each other and that even the first drillings want to be well planned. But as soon as there is potential, the drilling process can also be accelerated. We have every opportunity to pursue both projects with the same intensity. We look forward to getting to the bottom of El Picacho's potential soon and are confident that we will continue to be committed to the project for some time.
The arguments in favor of El Picacho
news|financial: "What arguments could El Picacho use to score points on the market?"
"[...] As we will start drilling in the coming months, investors are following the project from the beginning, which means lots of corporate news and, as a result, share price fantasy. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
The similarities to the San Francisco mine are very great. That means that our project has the potential for several million ounces of gold. As we will start drilling in the coming months, investors are following the project from the beginning, which means lots of corporate news and, as a result, share price fantasy. The proximity to the neighboring mine also ensures possible synergy effects, for example, when it comes to processing rock. But such considerations would be too early now. I am not worried that the market will neglect El Picacho. Tocvan Ventures has two exceptional projects, each with the potential to excite investors in the short and long term.
Pilar and the roadmap to production
news|financial: "At Pilar, you are aiming for production. What might the roadmap to get there look like, and what hurdles do you have to clear before then?"
"[...] Our work over the past few years has shown great potential, especially in the southeast of our Main Zone. Once we convert these deposits into a resource estimate and have more precise knowledge of the mineralization, the next step would be a test mine. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
First, we want to define more mineralization zones. Our work over the past few years has shown great potential, especially in the southeast of our Main Zone. Metallurgical work is on going to understand the expected recovery of gold and silver, which so far we have seen promising results. Once we convert these deposits into a resource estimate and have more precise knowledge of the mineralization, the next step would be a test mine. Permitting for this takes about three months in Mexico. Once that permit is in place, we can test on a larger scale. We assume that the path to production will not involve any particular hurdles for us that are not typical for such a process. Above all, we do not see any risks from the authorities. The procedures are simple, standardized, and per the rule of law.
Neue Gold-Zone als Game-Changer?
news|financial: "Sie haben in diesem Sommer auf Ihrem Pilar-Projekt eine neue Mineralisierungszone entdeckt. Was ist diese Entdeckung für Sie persönlich? Ein weiteres Puzzleteil oder ein Game-Changer?"
Natürlich gehen wir Schritt für Schritt vor und bewerten Ergebnisse in einem frühen Stadium nicht über. Allerdings fühlte sich die Entdeckung durchaus wie ein Game-Changer an. Wir haben eine komplett neue Zone entdeckt und wissen jetzt, dass wir in diesem Gebiet bohren sollten. Auch liegen uns Erkenntnisse darüber vor, wie wir uns den Vorkommen im Boden am besten annähern. Das senkt für weitere Bohrungen das Risiko. Die Entdeckung war also sehr wichtig für uns, wenngleich noch viel Arbeit vor uns liegt.
Heap leaching caps costs
news|financial: "What does the heap leaching process mean for your cost structure and ESG?"
"[...] The heap leach process is very common in the region of Mexico where we operate. It ensures extremely low costs and is ideally suited to bringing even smaller projects into production. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
The heap leach process is very common in the region of Mexico where we operate. It ensures extremely low costs and is ideally suited to bringing even smaller projects into production. Examples show that this is possible for as little as around CAD 20 million. The fact that heap leaching is so widespread in Mexico also ensures that there are many service providers and experts who can apply this process and are also very familiar with the local conditions. And that includes the specifications around environmental protection.
Sonora as a mining region
news|financial: "We have now talked about the benefits at the project level. What impact does your location in the Mexican state of Sonora have on the prospects of Tocvan Ventures?"
The longer we operate in Sonora, the happier we are about it! Sonora is where about 40% of Mexico's gold is mined. Companies on-site include Fresnillo, Agnico-Eagle, Argonaut and Osisko. Accordingly, there are many specialists on-site, and the authorities are used to dealing with the interests and concerns of the mining industry. I would even go so far as to say that Sonora has the edge over other Mexican states, which is also due to its location directly on the border with the US state of Arizona.
Low costs as a plus
news|financial: "A good keyword! Anyone traveling to Mexico from the US is quickly pleased about lower prices. Is this also the case in the mining industry?"
"[...] The bottom line is that our costs are about 25% lower than in other well-known mining regions. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
Not only tourists but also mining companies are happy about lower costs in Mexico. While you often have to take a helicopter in Canada to reach projects, in Mexico, you take a normal vehicle. This advantage becomes even more apparent when it comes to bringing drilling equipment to the property. In Canada, this sometimes takes a week. In Mexico, it takes a day. The costs for exploration are also significantly lower. For example, we pay around CAD 50 per meter for drilling. Elsewhere, this amount is considerably higher. The bottom line is that our costs are about 25% lower than in other well-known mining regions. It has always been important for us to use our capital in a targeted manner and to exploit potential savings. This is a great advantage for Tocvan Ventures and its shareholders.
New financing partner
news|financial: "Recently, you gained the UK-based institutional investor Sorbie Bornholm as an anchor shareholder. What does the entry mean for you?"
Sorbie Bornholm's entry was a great confirmation for the entire team. Especially given the current difficulties in the market. When experienced investors express their confidence in a team and its two projects, this also has a signal effect on the entire market. Over the past months, we have been in intensive exchanges with Sorbie Bornholm, and we are confident that both sides will benefit from the cooperation in the long term. For our shareholders, the entry of Sorbie Bornholm also means planning security. Tocvan Ventures is fully financed for at least the next two years. In addition, it is not unusual for our financing partners to support positive developments with further capital injections. This allows us to focus fully on both projects and their progress. It also means that further dilution of shareholdings is ruled out for the time being.
Good arguments for Tocvan Ventures
news|financial: "Your credo is to create value for shareholders. For years, you have also had numerous loyal shareholders in Europe. How do you intend to create share price fantasy in the current market environment?"
"[...] Although we are now solidly financed for the long term and have gained a partner with whom projects can also be developed, we are not moving away from our approach of using our funds sparingly. [...]" Brodie Sutherland, CEO, Tocvan Ventures
We assume that gold will soon be in demand again. Just a while ago, our share was quoted at CAD 1.67. Today, it is about 50% below that. At the same time, at the project level, we bring everything we need to create value. We can take Pilar towards production and make Picacho a serious candidate for a mine. The combination of operational potential and the comeback fantasy around gold offers shareholders an attractive risk-reward ratio at current levels. Given the various trouble spots worldwide, precious metals are a promising market. Although we are now solidly financed for the long term and have gained a partner with whom projects can also be developed, we are not moving away from our approach of using our funds sparingly. To create value, one should invest in a targeted manner and not get carried away. That is precisely what we do at Tocvan Ventures.
news|financial: "Thank you very much for talking to us."