Just as gold is making a comeback from recent lows, Aztec Minerals (TSX-V:AZT) (OTCQB: AZZTF) is in the midst of raising fresh cash for their upcoming exploration programs at Cervantes (Mexico) and Tombstone (Arizona). After announcing the non-brokered placement on August 8, 2023 for an amount up to C$1M, management closed a first tranche on August 29, 2023, and indicated the placement would be increased to C$1.2M due to additional interest from investors. For a small gold junior like Aztec Minerals this is good news, as precious metals juniors (besides a few banner companies like Snowline Gold (SGD.V)) seem to be sitting on the back bench these days, with lithium and copper/nickel stories attracting most of the interest and capital.
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Please note: the views, opinions, estimates, forecasts or predictions regarding Aztec’s resource potential are those of the author alone and do not represent views, opinions, estimates, forecasts or predictions of Aztec or Aztec’s management. Aztec has not in any way endorsed the views, opinions, estimates, forecasts or predictions provided by the author.
This recent financing was done at a price of C$0.225 with a half 3 year warrant @ C$0.30, which is decent as investors want some incentives. It is up for debate if interested investors walked down the price when they heard about the upcoming raise, or that general sentiment just wasn’t good with the Fed persisting on their rate hikes up to now, but the chart shows a clear low:
Share price 1 year timeframe (Source: tmxmoney.com)
On the other hand, I must say it would be a perfect time to start a position, as Aztec is proving up two separate 1Moz Au+ deposits according to my estimates, with Cervantes probably being the one already delivering a NI43-101 resource estimate at the beginning of Q1, 2024, Tombstone somewhere next year. This is also said considering deteriorating macro economic circumstances, which in my view probably could urge the Fed to start a more dovish stance sooner than expected, in order to shield the economy from a deep recession. And as we know, a more dovish stance results in rate cuts, which generally leads to a weaker dollar, which in turn should be good for the gold price.
Regarding the private placement, the second tranche of about C$300k is expected to close on or before September 12, 2023, so in two weeks time. Aztec is raising the cash for exploration work on both projects, and some G&A. According to CEO Dyakowski, a global budget exercise would indicate C$500k for Cervantes and C$100k for Tombstone drill prep. I also asked him if he could disclose the type of investors that participated, and if there were some famous names among them. He commented to stay tuned for the final tranche to close.
Regarding exploration, Aztec Minerals recently completed a 7-hole diamond drill program at Tombstone, and reported the last 3 holes (23-02, 06 and 07) on June 15, 2023. Hole 23-02 was of interest with 45.3m @ 2.04g/t AuEq from 86.9m, all oxidized. 2.04g/t Au is very high grade for oxidized ore, as 0.4-0.5g/t Au is already pretty economic in a heap leach operation these days, and 0.7g/t Au is considered robust for this, taking into account a strip ratio below 5 : 1.
The grade of hole 23-06 was less spectacular, but the assay still returned an interval of 42.1m @ 0.78g/t AuEq from 29.6m, which is economic for sure and a robust infill exploration result to the south. Hole 23-07 was probably just above cut-off grade, with 18.3m @ 0.36g/t AuEq from 6.1m. All in all, my global estimate for the mineralized envelope for Tombstone doesn’t change meaningfully and still stands at a hypothetical 700koz Au.
The main target of the 2023 core drill program is to continue testing the shallow, bulk tonnage, heap leachable, mesothermal gold-silver oxide mineralization adjacent and below the previously mined Contention pit by infill and step-out drilling. Future drilling is expected to focus on strike and dip extensions of the shallow oxide mineralization, and move deeper to test for larger, deeper “Taylor-type” CRD targets along and adjacent to the Contention structure.
What is next for Aztec Minerals? According to CEO Dyakowski, they have done a lot of mapping and sampling at Cervantes, and are planning 4,200m of step-out RC drilling (28 holes) in a two stage program, which is already permitted and scheduled to start in September, with results anticipated for November.
A maiden resource estimate for Cervantes could be ready as soon as Q1, 2024. They are also planning a follow-up drill program (likely with a combination of RC and diamond drilling) for Tombstone, starting in late 2023 or early 2024, targeting step-outs to the west, filling in gaps, and deeper CRD targets.
The primary objectives of the 2023 exploration program are to continue to define the open pit, heap leach gold potential of the porphyry oxide cap at California, test the down dip extensions of the silicic-phyllic alteration in the Qfp intrusive for deeper copper-gold porphyry sulfide mineralization underlying the oxide cap, and test for extensions of the California North target.
With a current working capital position of C$1.5M after closing the first tranche of the current PP, the company has sufficient cash to complete the Cervantes program, and will need more for follow-up Tombstone RC- and diamond drilling.
After closing the C$912k tranche, Aztec Minerals is well underway to a healthy treasury, enabling them to drill Cervantes and complete a NI43-101 resource estimate in Q1, 2024, which is an important milestone, which will put Aztec firmly on the radar of mid-tier producers, especially large strategic shareholder and neighbour Alamos Gold. And Tombstone exploration potential near surface and at depth isn’t going anywhere, and will be next. As the current share price seems to be hovering at the bottom, artificially walked down or not by investors who want in at cheaply priced shares and warrants, and the markets seem to work towards a limited recession which the Fed will undoubtedly want to fight through rate cuts, this could be a very interesting moment to open a position or average down, as I will do soon. Stay tuned!
I hope you will find this article interesting and useful, and will have further interest in my upcoming articles on mining. To never miss a thing, please subscribe to my free newsletter at www.criticalinvestor.eu, in order to get an email notice of my new articles soon after they are published.
The author is not a registered investment advisor, and currently has a position in this stock. Aztec Minerals is a sponsoring company. All facts are to be checked by the reader. For more information go to www.aztecminerals.com and read the company’s profile and official documents on www.sedar.com, also for important risk disclosures. This article is provided for information purposes only, and is not intended to be investment advice of any kind, and all readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence, and talk to their own licensed investment advisors prior to making any investment decisions.
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