Arguably the most exciting gold discovery of 2015 belongs London listed Mariana Resources (MARL:AIM) and their joint venture partner Lidya, at the Hot Maden project in Eastern Turkey. The story began attracting attention in early February. Drill hole HTD‐04 intersected 103m @ 9.0 g/t Au and 2.2% Cu from 25m, an exceptional hole. 6 days latter if investors were not awake yet step out hole HTD-05 returned a phenomenal intercept of 82m at 20.4 g/t gold and 1.9% copper from 149m down hole.
The story is early but the potential for a large deposit remains as the structure runs for 7km and has yet to be explored. Mariana also has several other properties they that believe are worthy of drill programs while Mr. Cook thinks with 750 million shares out the focus should be on Hot Maden.
At the PDAC convention in Toronto last week, we taped a conversation between sought after mining analyst Brent Cook of Exploration Insights and Eric Roth, COO of Mariana Resources. Mr. Cook and Mr. Roth discuss the two major intercepts at Hot Maden, the company’s cash position, Mariana’s ownership regarding the JV with Lydia, and what the plan is for Mariana in 2015.
Mr Cook. asks some tough questions that any potential shareholder in Mariana ought to consider. After the interview he provides his parting thoughts on the company.
The following is a transcript of the above video.
Brent Cook (Exploration Insights) and Eric Roth, COO, Mariana Resources, PDAC 2015
BC: So we are going to stop and look at Mariana Resources. A company that I just bought recently in the letter. They have had what looks a potential major discovery in Turkey with their partner. So we will see what Eric has got to say about it.
ER: Good afternoon Brent how are you?
BC: Good. So you have had quite a few visitors?
ER: We have had lot of visitors it has been a good turn out. We have some great results (drill) from the Hot Maden project and there has been a lot of interest.
BC: Remind us what where those two holes what did they carry?
ER: We had two major intercepts. One was hole 4 we had 2 holes one was drilled to the east one to the west two scissor holes. We had 103m @ 9 grams and 2% copper and we had the second hole that gave us 80m at 20 g/t gold and also 1.9% copper. So exceptional intercepts.
BC: I saw the first one and watched it and didn’t know what it was and was worried that your drilled right down the guts of it. The scissor hole 100m away that confirmed that there is actually something there. I am not trying to sell your stock your doing that. The structure runs for 7 km and you can see the alteration. This is really interesting. Your partner Lydia is earning 70%.
ER: That is correct.
BC: How much more do they have to spend before they get to 70%?
ER: So up until now the agreement is that they have to spend a total of $3 million that is between $ 2.5 million in exploration expenditures and also $500,000 in cash. So far they have completed $700,000 of that spend and paid us $150,000 in cash.What is outstanding is $1.8 million in the ground expenditures and $350,000 in cash payments to us. Lydia has been a fantastic partner they have been very aggressive and are a good solid partner to have.
BC: They will have spent that by the end of the summer really?
ER: That is correct.
BC: You are going to be contributing 30% by September probably?
ER: That is correct. Certainly the next phase of drilling. The phase 2 drill program will commence in April. That should take 1 or 2 months lets say a couple of months. They are actually planning on a 10,000 metre program right now. So we are talking about 90-95 holes something of that magnitude. You are right say a couple months of drilling another month for results so you are right certainly around September or perhaps even earlier we will need to contribute.
BC: So with this recent financing how much money have you got?
ER:We have about $2 million dollars. The last financing was 1.8 million pounds which would be just over $2 million dollars and the existing treasury at the time was about $500-$600k. So we probably have about $2-$2.5 million in dollar terms probably a bit more.
BC: What are you going to do with that?
ER: Hot we don’t have to contribute right now. We do have some other drill programs planned we have Peru .We have porphyry target at Soledad which is underling some high grade bridges. We also have some high grade targets we would like to test in Argentina. We have the Suriname project which is a project we got involved in late in the second half of 2014 and we have a lot drill target generation activities happening there. With the idea that being in the dry season which is from August to December that we will drill that project as well.
BC: Just a rough guess on my part by September you are going to be broke and have to contribute to whatever Lydia is doing. Is that correct?
ER: What we have decided to do is we will basically have half a million dollars in cash from them so we will refinance that. So the we will then be 70/30 so up at that point once we get to there earn in so we would then be carried for the next $2 million or so. With the cash that we will receive from Lydia. They need to spend the next $1.8 million then it becomes 70/30 so we would then basically have the half a million dollars from our side covered. They would then contribute the next let’s say $1.5 million. Let’s say that in the terms of in the ground expenditure we have the next $4 million dollars covered and then after that we would need to contribute.
BC: What is your market cap now?
ER: Market cap is about $18 million (USD).
BC: If this really turns out to be something significant. I am sure you have heard this already. What you are doing spending money on this porphyry in Peru. I am somewhat familiar with and in a way that is a long shot. Are you really diluting our interest in this thing?
ER: Certainly Hot Maden will carry itself. As you say we need to look at the rest of the projects in the portfolio basically the prioritization the ranking of these things. Now all of the projects that are in the portfolio they are not just projects that we have for the sake of drilling it.There are a strategic rationale behind all of them.We know there are people interested in them and we know then we can sell them on. Nothing will be drilled that doesn’t make sense in terms of a strategic exit point.
BC:You are earning in from Condor on the one project?
ER: That is correct. Yes.
BC: So it is going to be 70/30 or something?
ER: That is correct that will also be 70/30. So we will have earned 70%.
BC: So how do you push that on?
ER: We have a lot of people that are interested. We do have a lot of external interest in that project. Our view would be is that would be a project that at some point if someone had some interest today on it we could certainly look at all the options on it and how we could take that forward. We have had a lot of interested parties particularly on Soledad. There are options there that we could look at. We would look at trying to maximize value for all the shareholders. I am a major shareholder so I want to see that happen as well.
BC: Good well, I hope to get there this spring/summer. I would love to see this. Good luck. This is sexy.
BC: Thanks Eric.
ER: Thanks Brent I appreciate it.
BC: That was Mariana Resources and the Hot Maden project. That is one really really really sexy project. The problem I see with this company is that they already have 750 million shares out. They seem to want to spend money on projects that are very very high risk that have a low probability. I am familiar with the Condor project in Peru and that I don’t think will work. My concern here is that we as shareholders are going to be diluted on what is really good with them spending on other things. None the less I am watching this thing and hanging onto it because I think it has got a real shot. It’s good.