Brodie Sutherland, CEO of Tocvan Ventures (TOC:CNX), has set a course for the company which will allow it to explore, drill and bulk sample at its two gold/silver properties in Sonora Mexico. Critically, Tocvan concluded a 5.125 million dollar financing which will fund operations for the next two years.
“The market knew we have always been tight with spending,” said Sutherland. “We’ve always wanted to minimize dilution but doing small raises is uncertain. What if we were not able to do a $300,000 raise because of market conditions? We wanted to have longer-term funding and we got it.”
In the June 15th Press Release announcing the financing, Sutherland stated, “An investment of this size will ensure we can actively drill and advance both our projects for the next two-years and beyond. This is a big endorsement of our team and the hard work they have put in. Having an investment partner with a passion for mining and a track record of success is critical for our continued growth.”
With funding secured, Tocvan has been able to advance its plans for both its Pilar Project and El Picacho.
On July 21, Tocvan announced the completion of a 7-hole reverse circulation drilling program at Pilar and the results of metallurgical testing. This testing was done with strategic partner Minera Castor, a local private gold producer in México which has developed and operates its own heap-leach facilities. There were four samples submitted and all had better than 85% metal recovery.
“We’ll have certified metallurgy in time,” said Sutherland. “However, sending material to a certified lab means waiting six months for results. Working with Minera Castor sped things up. A lot. They are a local group with a producing mine with a contract mill and leach operation. We could crush to a range of sizes and test each fraction at no cost or very low cost. The metallurgy is at the high end of the average recovery seen in the region. ”
The encouraging recoveries mean that Tocvan can begin to look at the economics at Pilar. “We want to work with Minera Castor to permit, design and build a pilot scale mine,” said Sutherland. “That is not a skill set we have internally. However, we know Minera Castor can do it because we’ve been to sites where they are operating.”
“Permitting for a test mine is straight forward. Should take about three months,” said Sutherland. “We’ll need to figure out the design. I’d say a pilot mine is about a year out.”
The drilling at Pilar is proceeding. I asked Sutherland if there had been any surprises. “Some. We expected the 116 m at 1.2 gpt gold, but the interval of 10.2 meters at 12 was a bit of a surprise,” said Sutherland. “125-meters to the southeast, 108 meters at 0.8 gpt was not expected. And the 9.4 meters of 7.6 gpt at the end of that hole was a very welcome surprise.”
“What these results made us realize is that the prior drilling which was nearly vertical tending towards the North East was not systematic. By drilling towards the South West we seem to be getting the best representation of the system,” said Sutherland. “We are re-evaluating the prior drilling. We have confidence that there is more to find at Pilar.”
What Tocvan has found so far is significant mineralization. Likely enough to mine. “Remember,” said Sutherland. “there are operating mines in the area which profitably heap leach 0.4 gpt rock.”
You don’t drill in the Mexican desert past about June 15. Temperatures can get into the high 40s. This year Tocvan pushed drilling to mid-July, to keep the momentum going. Sutherland and his team now have time to receive and analyse the results from the most recent seven holes drilled and to plan the next drilling campaign. Which means regular news and market visibility.
El Picacho is very much in the exploration stage. With 24 square kilometers there is a lot to explore and sample. “There is significant historical surface sampling, historic working and historic reconnaissance drilling to follow-up on,” said Sutherland. “We’ve identified six target areas so far.”
“At our San Ramon target, there have been three historic reconnaissance holes drilled and they all returned mineralization,” said Sutherland. “We will be working to sample the targets we have identified and will narrow it down to two or three drill target areas collectively along 1,800-meters of prospective trend.”
“El Picacho is 18 km away from the San Francico mine which has a 3-million-ounce resource,” said Sutherland. “The geology is very similar. We hope to drill our first target which outcrops at surface.”
Trenching and drilling at El Picacho are expected to commence in late October/early November 2022.
With financing in place, drill targets selected at Pillar and target areas at El Picacho, Tocvan is well positioned to take advantage of any rally in the precious metals markets and the hoped for rally in the junior mining market.
“We’re expecting real news every two weeks or so,” said Sutherland.
At time of writing Tocvan (TOC:CNX) was trading at $0.64 on the CNX for a market cap of $23,200,000.