At the recent Canadian Investor Conference, held in Vancouver on May 31 and June 1, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with Mark Brown, director at Avrupa Minerals (TSXV:AVU), to chat about what the company has been doing at its various projects and to find out what it's like to operate in Europe.
Most recently, Avrupa released further drill results from its Slivovo project in Kosovo, with one hole intercepting 30 meters of 6.92 g/t gold and 16.2 g/t silver. Prior to those results, the company reported 126 meters of 6 g/t gold, which Brown said was "basically hitting it out of the park."
"We had been trying to follow up and drill around that, and last month we announced another 30 meters of just over 6 g/t gold. So the challenge now is to make it a little bit bigger, and we’ve got a pretty big drill program going on there right now," he explained. "The current drilling is to expand this deposit and really understand it. We haven’t done a lot of base work there, so we are going to drill another 3,000 meters to try and expand it, and we are stepping out from those holes where we’ve already hit. We expect it to be complete at the end of August, so we will be drilling there all summer."
The company's joint venture partner, Byrnecut International, just earned a 51-percent stake in Silvovo, and will continue funding the next phase to earn a 75-percent interest. Brown said that what is great about Byrnecut is that it's a mining contractor with workers who know their stuff.
"They are actually a mining contractor. They build mines, they do planning for them and they put them into production, so they are already asking the kinds of questions like, 'how would the pit be built? Where would we put the mill? Where would we put tailings?' And we are still drilling, we only discovered this thing six months ago, so we’ve got a lot of work to do ... as far as partners go, they are fantastic," he said.
Avrupa also has other joint venture partners on its bigger projects in Northern and Southern Portugal.
"So in Northern Portugal we have Blackhealth Resources (TSXV:BHR) that has earned into our Covas tungsten project, and they’ve actually just recently put out a resource with really nice, high-grade tungsten there. It’s small, but it is part of some other projects they have got there, and [they] have done very well at getting investors and funding that project. Our guys are the operators there and we are busy with that, so we will see what they are going to do as the next stage."
In Southern Portugal, Avrupa is partnered with Antofagasta (LSE:ANTO), and Brown said to date they have hit some very high-grade copper, lead and zinc. At this point, "Antofagasta is at kind of a crossroads ... deciding what they want to do on the next stages. There are a lot of different options there, they could do a lot more drilling, they could sell the project. We are trying to get them to hurry up and decide so we can get going because we are very excited about that project."
Given that all Avrupa's projects are located in Europe, INN was curious to hear what it's like to operate there. Brown said that while some jurisdictions are not favorable, the areas Avrupa has chosen to work in all have a long history of mining and want mining to contribute to employment and the economy.
Finally, INN asked Brown the golden question: "what's going on with the gold price?"
"The gold price, I really like where it’s at, I just want to see it stabilize. That’s all we need. It’s relatively high historically. A lot of people want it to go up to get the retail investors back to this kind of market, but we just need it to be stable and we will make money for our shareholders by making these discoveries and expanding what we have already hit. Avrupa has got a lot of great things going on — we made two major discoveries in the last year, so that’s been very exciting and we’ve got a lot of drilling going on," Brown said.