"We have great faith in all the projects in our portfolio and their geological prospectivity as they are located along the highly prospective and prime mineral belts in northern Chile."
What was your strategic motivation behind the creation of Pampa Metals?
The idea to create Pampa Metals was seeded at the end of 2019 when Revelo Resources was looking at opportunities to progress its business and create a separately financed company that did not rely on the prospect generator model as Revelo did, and which was able to invest in its own direct exploration. Eight of Revelo’s copper-focused projects were subsequently sold to a private company to create a new vehicle that now falls under the Pampa Metals Corporation name and that is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) with the ticker symbol of “PM”. For various reasons, the new company decided it would list on the CSE as opposed to the TSX, as the requirements for listing are a little easier. Pampa Metals is also listed on the Frankfurt Exchange, to appeal to European investors.
The company had successfully raised a contractually required minimum amount of CAD$ 4 million prior to listing, and immediately after the start of trading of its stock in December 2020, was able to start investing the money raised on the exploration of those eight projects.
Separately, Revelo Resources is in the process of being acquired by Austral Gold, a gold and silver producer with assets in the Americas. The acquisition is to be concluded by February of 2021.
Which of the eight assets is Pampa Metals’ main focus at the moment?
Arrieros was the project that was subject to the Technical Report required for listing of the new company according to CSE rules. However, we have great faith in all the projects in our portfolio and their geological prospectivity as they are located along the highly prospective and prime mineral belts in northern Chile. Five of the eight projects’ geology is obscured by young sedimentary sequences, so geophysical exploration is our current priority combined with geological mapping, a program that has already been started at Arrieros. Pampa Metals’ primary focus is on copper, however three of our projects also have good evidence for potential gold and silver mineralization.
How do you market Chile as a mining jurisdiction to prospective investors?
We have always ranked Chile very highly as a mining jurisdiction. Chile wears the crown of the top copper producer globally comfortably. It is also in the spotlight for its lithium resources and has long attracted attention for precious metals. Mining is the backbone of the Chilean economy and the country offers a sound legal, fiscal and financial framework for investors.
To what extent has Chile’s stability been compromised following the protests in 2019 and the upcoming constitutional reform?
I do not believe the demonstrations altered the long-term stability Chile has witnessed over the last decades. The government’s swift response to allow a referendum to rewrite the constitution, and the subsequent results of the referendum, are a testament to Chile’s maturity and stability as the country appears to be on a peaceful and positive democratic path that has not affected the ability of the country in general, and businesses, to continue and progress. The Chilean government is also to be praised for the manner with which it is handling the health crisis and the fact that mining production has largely been maintained.
Do you believe Chile’s declining copper grades are likely to pose a bigger challenge to mining in the future?
The scale of some of the mining operations in Chile is immense with world-class operations for 100 years. The scalability of these large deposits is incredible. Whilst grades overall have declined over time, the overall production of copper in Chile has been maintained and even increased over the last decade. There is a global challenge to find new mineral deposits to provide important minerals to society, and we are now finding deposits deeper and in more complex geological environments, which makes the challenges even more critical. Pampa Metals believes it is well placed to meet those challenges.
Where do you see the highest growth potential for Pampa Metals in Chile?
Chile is a mature market but in a positive way. Most of the mining activity occurs in the northern desert, where population density is low. Large portions of northern Chile are either underexplored or unexplored, so while it may be a mature mining market, it has not yet reached maturity in terms of its exploration potential. Pampa Metals’ efforts will be directed towards exploration, by relying on improved geological models than those used 20 or 30 years ago, allowing us to revisit areas historically explored with fresh eyes and technology, as well as investigating totally new areas.