We recently sat down with Mr. Stephen Altmann, President of ECU Silver Mining Inc. (TSX: ECU) to get a sense of what to expect in 2010. ECU Silver is well positioned for growth in 2010, having recently completed a financing, with expected significant results from operations in January, and a planned scoping study scheduled for completion in Q1 2010. In this exclusive BabyBulls interview, he discusses the Company’s mineral resource estimates, the Company’s milling capabilities, and highlights from 2009.
BabyBulls: Steve, to start things off could you give a brief description of your company’s history?
Stephen Altmann: Sure, we are a company that that has been around for several years now. The area was mined many decades ago by artisanal miners which, in this day and age, highlighted the area as a very lucrative exploration area. Over the past 12 years we’ve been focused on exploration essentially growing the mineral resource by over 1,600% over the past four years, in particular, where today we have identified a large 43-101 mineral resource and also have two operating mills on the site.
BB: Can you give us an overview of your primary properties?
SA: We have three properties right now – we have our main Velardena property and immediately adjacent to it we have the Chicago property and then further to the north, about eight miles away is our San Diego property, where we have a 50/50 joint venture with a junior exploration company. Our main focus of interest continues to be at the Velardena main property – where we have mining operations, milling operations and that’s where we’ve done the bulk of our exploration activities.
BB: So all of your active properties are in Mexico then?
SA: Yes, all of our properties are in Mexico and we are the registered title holder of all of the claims on our property.
BB: Over the last several years you have identified a significant indicated and inferred resource that’s primarily silver at your Velardena property. Will you continue your exploration efforts or do you see yourself transitioning your focus more over to the production side?
SA: Right now, as you’ve correctly point out, we have a large mineral resource. We have a resource of forty million ounces of silver equivalent in the measured and indicated range, and we have another three hundred and ninety one million ounces of silver equivalent in our inferred category. It’s important to note that our mineral resource is very continuous and we have a lot of confidence in our inferred resource due to the material continuity of our resource at depth and laterally. Given that we have a very bullish outlook for silver and gold prices going forward, we do want to ensure that our milling operations are running at their optimal levels. And so, as with any mining company, the focus of this Company is to eventually grow this into a mid to senior tier silver and gold producer. In our case, we have the opportunity to experience growth both on the mineral resource side and on the production side. The resource currently is large enough to provide feed for a very large production operation down the road, however the continuity of the veins that I mentioned earlier, give rise to the opportunity for very strong potential to materially enhance the size of our resource. So we’re in an attractive situation where we have a large resource, we have milling and mining operations on site and we have the opportunity and ability to significantly grow both, on the production side and on the mineral resource side.