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What Investors Need to Know About Copper Exploration in the Americas

Jocelyn Aspa Jocelyn Aspa, The Market Herald
1 Comment| November 9, 2021

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(Click to watch video)

Investors: get excited. Libero Copper & Gold Exploration (TSXV:LBC, OTCQB:LBCFM, Forum) is gearing up to put the Mocoa project back into production in Colombia.

The Canadian-based mineral exploration company has a range of porphyry copper deposits throughout the Americas in prolific but stable jurisdictions. The Mocoa project, in particular, holds 636 million tons of resource and over 4 billion pounds of pure copper, making it the largest deposit in Colombia.

In addition to representing one of the world’s largest copper deposits but it also holds one of the world’s largest molybdenum deposits at 500 million pounds.

In a nutshell, the company has a lot going for itself that investors will want to know about. Stockhouse Editorial’s Jocelyn Aspa recently had the opportunity to speak with Libero Copper CEO Ian Harris about the Mocoa project and its projects in British Columbia.

Continue reading for more or watch the video above.

TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

SH: Can we first start off with you providing a little bit of an overview of yourself and the company?

IH: I am a mining engineer. I have been working for 25 years in the industry, 15 of those working and living in South America and I think that is a little bit of context because I would like to make sure that that is always the focus of the company. That we are always trying to advance and work on projects that have the potential to become future copper mines. We really have a diverse portfolio of large-scale potential copper porphyry projects throughout the Americas and a really solid team, not just in the exploration but the ability to move forward large-scale projects.

SH: It was announced recently that the company started exploration at its Mocoa project in Colombia - what are some highlights for investors you can touch on?

IH: I previously was Senior Vice President and Country Manager for Corriente Resources, which took the Mirador project all the way through and started construction and went on to become the first large-scale mining operation in the history of Ecuador. It is a project that is really close to my heart because it is in the same Jurassic porphyry belt, just on the other side of the border in Columbia. It was a project that was drilled up to 2012 by B2Gold. It was acquired by Libero in 2018 and really waiting for that opportunity to get it started again. Now we really have the team that is capable of executing.

We have obviously the support and the direction that copper is going and we also have a massive change inside of Colombia itself in terms of a President coming out and saying he wants to be the third largest producer of copper in Latin America.

As the largest deposit in Colombia, that was obviously very good news for us, it is a 636-million-ton resource, and it contains over 4 billion pounds of pure copper. It contains 500 million pounds of molybdenum.

A world production is 600 million pounds. That gives you an idea of the size and scale. If it was produced over 20 years, even today, that is 90,000 tons per day, it is already a significant project. Getting to work on it again, getting it restarted, we have started with geophysics magnetics and LIDAR, and we are moving now towards soil sampling. It really is a project that parallels closely to Solaris’ Warintza project, which was 50 kilometers north of the Mirador project in Ecuador. It was historically drilled, has a wonderful resource, already has incredible holes in it and has tons and tons and tons of legs to continue to grow. We are really excited to be getting to reactivate that project and moving it forward technically.

SH: In line with this, Libero Copper also announced in September an exploration update at the Big Red Project in BC’s Golden Triangle — are there any new updates since exploration began back in September?

IH: Literally this morning (26th October 2021), we put out the results from the very first diamond drill hole ever drilled at the Terry target. It came back, very excited because of 510 meters of pure mineralization from the surface all the way down to the bottom of the hole. We basically were limited to depth and couldn't keep on drilling. That is hard to rationalize the size of a pure intersection and pure mineralization - it averaged 0.22% copper equivalent over the entire length. Okay, so, if we took the good parts and we took the bad, throw out the bad parts and then… No, the entire section of the drill hole is 500 meters of mineralization!

Why do I love this from a mining engineer perspective, right? Ninety percent of the worlds production of copper comes from copper porphyry, open pit large-scale mines. That means that you need to have disseminated grade, right from near surface and big tonnages. Big Red is now really checking those boxes. We have now determined that it goes all the way down to depth of a continuous mineralization and it is not broken up. Looking into the future, extremely low strip ratio. Everything is going to be ore grade, every bucket, those into the shovel or a back of a truck is going right to a plant. In terms of cost effectiveness, this is really good news for the potential future of the project.


SH: With a presence both in South America and in BC’s Golden Triangle, how does a company like Libero Copper and Gold stand out from its competitors?

IH: I really think that first of all, there is not very many quality copper projects, that really have the potential to be future mines or have a dent in the future potential demand of copper. That we have a portfolio of three is a huge starting point, but the other part is the quality of the team, that we have people that aren't only experts in exploration, but experts of taking projects all the way through to the start of construction and getting those to become future mines. Ernie Mast was the ex-CEO of Cobre Panama and did the exact same thing in Panama, bringing the first project all the way to the start of construction and went on to become the first large scale mining operation in the history of Panama. I have done the same myself at Mirador. Robert Pease did the same thing at Mount Milligan in British Columbia. Really the experience to see everything all the way through and have the perspective of making sure that we are putting our money into projects that can create significant value for our shareholders and have real legs, not a flash in the pan, but really, really have the potential to become future mines.

SH: With only a couple of months left of 2021, what should investors expect from the company for the rest of the year?

IH: At total we drilled 10 drill holes and really, we are testing the overall extents, looking at not just getting fantastic results but what is the overall extent, does this have the legs to have some significant tonnages. For now, until the end of the year, we will be probably spitting out drill results from Big Red. The last hole of the year also was on a brand-new target, that we generated from a field of work through soil sampling and then drilled. The last hole has even the potential to find another porphyry discovery at Big Red. Then the other one will be as activity start ramping up at Mocoa. That is really an exciting story for us because it is 4 billion pounds of copper, and obviously we are not seeing the valuation that it deserves. Being able to prove to market that this project is going and moving forward will be significant. We expect a lot of news coming out of Columbia also.

SH: Similarly, what are some goals and plans in place for the company going into 2022?

IH: Next year, it is really to make sure that every single one of the projects - Big Red in British Columbia, Mocoa in Columbia and Esperanza in Argentina - that they are all getting drilling done on them, that we are getting them all the way into that value chain and be able to prove that they are moving forward as projects. We really want to see the market reaction on all of them individually. Every single one of them is a project of merit and we really want to be able to give every single one of them the chance to start advancing and that is our significant goal for next year, is to be drilling on three separate targets.


SH: Finally, is there anything I’ve missed you’d like to cover?

IH: It's close. I mean, right now, I'm in Medellín right now, in Columbia. I have been here since June focusing on the Mocoa project and really, lessons learned in Ecuador and sharing stories with Ernie Mast. Something I wanted to touch on, that I like to when I get the chance, is we really like to create a sustainable base to move our projects forward. We do spend a lot of time behind the scenes working on our value system, a very easy to understand but critical value system, that makes sure that there is a key commitment on every single one of the employees to feel empowered, but also to know what that value system is. In Columbia, it is about respect, it is about responsibility, it is about being a good neighbor. Very simple concepts to understand but it really is empowering to employees and that is what we are spending the majority of our time doing, is making sure we got our house into order. We have that key commitment because that is really what creates sustainable projects over a long period of time, and we are very proud of the work that we have done and that the results are now showing. Mocoa is officially moving forward.

For more information please visit liberocopper.com.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.





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