Arizona Silver Exploration Inc (CVE:AZS) has the technical and financial team to make a success of precious metal exploration in the US state.
The company is advancing two potential open-pit mines in Arizona, but most of the newsflow in recent months was about the Sycamore Canyon gold-silver project, where, impressively, an assay of 553 g/t silver was found at the surface, and up to 3.04 g/t gold.
The company also owns the former producing Ramsey silver mine, where around 40 ounces per ton (opt) was generated before, and where there are 41 existing 1960s underground drill holes.
Here, the group has also seen encouraging exploration results and is poised to embark on more drilling.
Sycamore Canyon project showing promise
In the summer, Arizona Silver updated on progress at this project in Graham County, which lies 25 miles from Safford, a town that serves the large copper mines of mining major Freeport McMoran.
Arizona said spot coring of outcrops was going well, sampled from a hand-held core drill.
These had demonstrated detailed textures and gold and silver mineralization across 500 metres of strike length.
Nine cores in total were drilled, eight in mineralized breccia and one in strongly argillized wall rock. The eight cores in mineralized breccia contained silver and gold values from 19.8 grams per tonne (g/t) to 553 g/t silver and 0.05 g/t to 3.04 g/t gold.
"When you hit 550 grams of silver, that's not a small amount," said Mike Stark, the firm's chairman told Proactive in August, adding it "really makes you question what you have below".
There was also good news on permitting at Sycamore, as the firm gained right-of-way across the land there for 10 years. It revealed it was also advancing the permitting process on the forestry front.
Drilling planned at Ramsey
The last drill results released from the Ramsey mine reported in April this year were encouraging.
Seven holes, which made up the first quarter drilling program showed an average assay of around 22 metres at 18 g/t silver, or 0.53 opt (ounces per ton).
A highlight in one hole was an intercept 51.83 m (meters) thick of 19.4 g/t silver.
The firm is now looking towards the potential of the creosote vein, which has yet to be drill tested and lies southeast of the Ramsey mine, and 10 holes which have been permitted, are earmarked for drilling in and around this area.
Surface sampling has shown elevated silver, lead, zinc, barium levels and the vein has had limited historic production of around 10 opt (ounces per ton) silver.
Remnants of Ramsey are still visible in La Paz County, just off Interstate 10, which was active throughout the 1920s. Operations ceased the following decade and the mine was abandoned.
Arizona's chief executive and president Greg Hahn has previously told Proactive: "There aren’t many historical production records available but it seems around 12,000 tons of material was mined back in the day, averaging close to 40 ounces of silver per ton."
In 2014, Hahn became aware of the Ramsey site when an acquaintance handed him data from the Arizona Geological Survey Archives.
It turns out that in 1968, a new owner mined another 1,700 tons of rock averaging 530 grams of silver per ton before turning focus to drilling, successfully defining an historic resource of 2 million tons grading 70 to 90 grams per ton.
Intrigued by data
“Forty-one holes around the periphery of the Ramsey mine intercepted mineralization. I was intrigued by the data. I wanted to see what else was out there,” said Hahn, who has 43 years experience, and has already built, operated and sold three mines before.
In November 2016, AZS executives made the decision to go public and the company was listed on the TSX Venture Exchange through a capital pool company.
Soon after listing on the TSX Venture, the firm raised $900,000 through a private placement of 10 cents a share. The firm has no warrants.
The funds allowed the firm to kick off an initial drilling program at Ramsey, with the second batch of findings confirming a large open mineral system to the north.
A further $1.5m was raised in less than four days via a private placement.
An induced polarization (IP) survey then confirmed the suspected continuation to the north of the Ramsey mine and identified a new and large anomaly and area of potential mineralization, stronger and deeper to the west.
Stark says Hahn knows the project and the ins and outs of the industry and also has invested his own money in the company, and has not sold a share.
Indeed around 64% of Arizona stock is owned by friends, family and people known to management.
In a recent small placing aimed towards advancing both projects, the group raised nearly $232,000 with more than 1.38 million shares of the 2.8 million issued going to insiders.
So with committed backers, potentially very exciting projects and an experienced team, Arizona Silver looks to be one to watch in coming years.