The recent smackdown notwithstanding, precious metals continue demonstrating price strength as investors set their sights on safe-haven assets. Inflation is running way hot, hitting a 40-year high of 7.5%, and tensions along the border of Russia and Ukraine have the world on edge.
The combination of high inflation, accelerating geopolitical uncertainty, volatility in general equities, difficult to comprehend debt levels… What else can we throw on the pile? Ball of confusion—that’s what the world is today.
Of course, this is all good for the precious metals sector, but be careful what you wish for.
Apollo Silver (APGO.V) • (APGOF.OTC) • (6ZF0.FRA)
- 163.76 million shares outstanding
- $106.44M market cap based on its recent $0.65 close
Last month I encouraged readers to take a close look at Apollo Silver in a piece titled A new addition to the Highballer list – Apollo Silver.
Apollo is NOT an early-stage exploration play.
Investors who participated in a (well-subscribed) $52.9 Million Subscription Receipt Financing last summer are backing a resource development play with considerable exploration upside. They’re also backing a management team with an impressive track record of creating shareholder value—roughly $2B worth.
Quoting the above linked Highballer report:
Apollo is on the cusp of pushing >164M ounces of silver—two historical resources at its Waterloo and Langtry projects—towards NI 43-101 compliance.
Under Apollo’s stewardship, both projects—2,950 acres in total area—are under common ownership for the first time. These 2,950 acres represent a district-scale system boasting roughly 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) of mineralized strike.
“Mineralization at Calico comprises high-level low-sulfidation silver-dominant epithermal vein-type and disseminated-style deposits associated with northwest-trending faults and fracture zones and mid-Tertiary volcanic activity.”
Waterloo and Langtry are located in San Bernardino County, a well-established mining-friendly district in southern California.
For those of you wary of California as a mining destination, know that the state was ranked 4th in the US for mineral production in 2020 (mining contributed US$13.6B to the state’s GDP).
At ground level, Apollo has had positive meetings with the senior leadership of San Bernardino County. The district welcomes responsible resource development and has expressed interest in examining opportunities that support the Company’s development activities.
On February 9th, the Company dropped the following headline:
It’s fair to say that Apollo management delivered. Waterloo and Langtry, collectively referred to as the Calico Silver Project from hereon, boast a NI 43-101 Inferred resource of 166 million ounces of silver.
Calico is currently ranked one of the largest undeveloped silver deposits on the continent.
- Robust Inferred MRE of 166 Moz silver contained in 58.1 Mt at an average grade of 89 g/t silver for Calico at a 50 g/t cut-off grade:
- Includes high-grade subset of 71 Moz silver contained in 15.9 Mt at an average grade of 139 g/t silver.
- The MRE is an optimized pit-constrained estimate supported by 42,091 m (138,094 ft) of historic drilling in 438 holes and incorporates recent geologic mapping and modeling.
- Optimized pit-constrained resource uses conservative cut-off grade of 50 g/t silver
- The base-case cut-off grade (“COG”) was determined using the following assumptions:
- Silver price of US$23 per troy ounce (“oz”)
- Processing costs of US$29 per short ton (“st”).
- Mining costs of US$2.50/st
- Silver recovery of 80%
- Silver price was determined by averaging the price from the last 24 months up to December 31, 2021, based on data from the World Bank. Processing cost was based on published estimates for similar deposit types, cross-checked against historical processing costs determined by ASARCO in their 1980 historical feasibility study for Waterloo, and adjusted for inflation to 2022 prices. Increased silver prices, optimised processing parameters and/or improved silver recoveries will all impact the COG and the resultant MRE.
- The base-case cut-off grade (“COG”) was determined using the following assumptions:
- Resource estimates comprise oxide mineralization only
- The MRE is entirely contained within an extensive, near-surface oxidized silver mineralized zone that shows excellent continuity at both Waterloo and Langtry.
- The depth of the oxide/sulphide boundary below the current depth extent of the resource is poorly constrained, presenting opportunities to define additional oxide resource at depth.
- High continuity of shallow mineralization amenable to bulk mining methods
- The near-surface resource is calculated to a maximum depth below surface of ~125 m (415 ft) at Waterloo and 146 m (480 ft) at Langtry. Using conservative open pit optimization to determine reasonable prospects for economic extraction, the calculated waste to mineralized zone ratio for Waterloo is 2.2:1.
- Drilling demonstrates that mineralization is continuous and extensive: at Waterloo it extends along a strike length of 1,860 m (6,100 ft), and 1,250 m (4,100 ft) at Langtry.
- Significant resource growth opportunities identified
- Untested silver host stratigraphy identified below ~125 m (415 ft) within current resource extents and along strike at both Waterloo and Langtry.
- Expansion of high-grade silver mineralization.
- Gold and barite both have potential to make meaningful contribution.
- Clear path to resource advancement identified
- 2022 drill program designed to increase resource confidence and expand metal inventory.
- Metallurgical testing program defined. Results are expected in Q3 of 2022.
Tom Peregoodoff, CEO:
“This resource estimate represents the achievement of a significant milestone. The outcome we are announcing today confirms Calico as one of the largest undeveloped silver deposits in the USA and positions Calico as one of the largest globally. The conservative cut-off grade, low strip ratio, and coherent distribution of silver mineralization provide a solid foundation for Apollo to advance the project. Calico represents an exciting development opportunity and provides low risk leverage to future silver prices. For investors looking for exposure to silver in a Tier 1 jurisdiction, Calico represents a compelling opportunity.”
Now that Calico has been upgraded, the Company plans an aggressive push along the exploration and development curve to further de-risk the project.
Historical drilling at Calico was shallow. Waterloo’s average drill hole depth was 73 meters (240 ft)—Langtry was 128 meters (420 ft).
According to this February 9th press release:
- A number of holes terminated prior to intersecting the footwall contact and/or ended in mineralization. The opportunity exists to test for additional silver mineralization at depth within the mineralized Barstow formation.
- There are indications that footwall Pickhandle formation volcaniclastic rocks may also host disseminated silver mineralization. These remain poorly tested.
- At Langtry, extensive Quaternary cover is present, and many areas remain untested.
- Across the Project, several areas within or near the current MRE envelope have not been drill tested and have high potential to host silver mineralization.
- High-grade silver feeder zones require further drill testing and may add additional +100 g/t silver mineralization.
‘Untested‘… ‘poorly tested‘… is a common theme here.
As noted in the above summary, Calico’s silver mineralization is associated with barite—a U.S. Critical Mineral.
Extent of barite mineralization remains poorly constrained. Historic assay techniques both at Waterloo and Langtry tended to under report barium because it was not consistently analyzed using appropriate methods. Analysis of historical pulps and duplicates along with new drilling material using ideal methods will be critical in defining the barite mineralization so that it may potentially be included in a MRE update.
There’s also potential for significant gold mineralization in Calico’s subsurface stratum.
The extent of gold mineralization remains poorly constrained. Drilling on the Waterloo property by previous operator Pan American Minerals Inc., identified a gold mineralized horizon 2 km northwest of the historical gold producing Burcham mine. This drilling intersected 25 m (true thickness) of 0.59 g/t at 132.60 m below surface, including 1.52 m of 5.52 g/t Au. This horizon is 60 m wide and 110 m in length (down-dip) and open in all directions. There is potential for meaningful gold mineralization along the entire 2.2 km long contact for which most historic drill holes did not test (see news release from January 11, 2022).
Drilling begins next month. Along with infill drilling, to convert the Inferred ounces to the higher confidence M&I categories, the Company will stepout from the primary resource base to unlock the project’s full potential.
We should see an updated resource estimate in Q4 of this year, followed by a PEA.
Phase-1 metallurgical test work will also begin in the coming weeks.
This crew means business.
Cathy Fitzgerald, VP of Exploration and Resource Development:
“I am very pleased with the outcome of our MRE. Through this process we have confirmed the silver mineralization at Calico and firmly established that it is continuous over extensive strike lengths at both the Waterloo and Langtry deposits. Our teams’ focus now turns to drill testing the important resource growth opportunities that this work has confirmed and to upgrading the confidence in the current silver MRE. The upcoming, fully permitted drill program, together with the metallurgical work program we are commencing, will put us in an excellent position to update the MRE and commence initial engineering studies later this year.”
The Company will be hosting a webinar to review this maiden resource estimate today (Wednesday, February 16, 2022) at 1:00 p.m. PST.
Apollo will be opening the floor to pre-submitted and live-chat questions, and looks forward to engaging with its current and prospective shareholders. A recorded version of this webinar will be available by February 18, 2022 on Apollo‘s website.
Investors are invited to submit their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for this webinar, please visit: https://www.apollosilver.com/webinars/
Full disclosure: the author, Greg Nolan, was compensated for the writing of this piece by Pacific Prime Communications Corp., a company engaged to provide investor relations services to Apollo Silver.Disclaimer - Legal Notice
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