Thoughtful Planning the Way Forward for ExplorationByLorenzo Núñez |Wed, 07/28/2021 - 17:47
Q: How is Barksdale transitioning to environmentally clean mining exploration and what are the new technologies used in the company’s projects?
A: The most important element in our exploration projects is water and our goal is to use only the amount of water that is required. We focus very heavily on recycling and reusing water numerous times. That is the best environmental practice we can implement during the exploration phase. Once we get into an actual mining phase, we can start looking to use renewable energy to power the vehicles used in the mining operations, as well as drafting sustainable post-mine plans with options such as solar power in Sonora.
Q: What is San Javier’s operational situation regarding its SEMARNAT approval?
A: We recently received the approval of SEMARNAT. We are now hoping to get the approval from the local ejidos that own the surface rights. They are major stakeholders with whom we need to get the agreement in place. We are on our way to finalizing it.
Our permitting process with SEMARNAT was relatively straightforward since the project had been worked on recently and because of the existence of multiple roads and access points to the project. We also had an advantage due to the nature of our operation. Our San Javier project is planned for a heap leach processing method, instead of it being a milling operation that would require tailings. That gives us a boost for environmental permits because we will not leave behind those environmental liabilities and threats.
Q: Why did the company consider San Javier a promising asset?
A: We viewed San Javier as a very interesting asset because of its historic resource. A former group had already worked on this project in 2016 and established a copper resource but that company ended up going bankrupt. We picked up where they left off and pushed the project forward. This project is great because logistically it has many advantages. One in particular is that it is located next to the highway between Sonora and Chihuahua; you cannot get better infrastructure than what we have.
Q: How will Barksdale’s exploration plan at San Javier differ from previous exploration plans?
A: The previous owners pushed too fast without being very thoughtful, contrary to the way we operate. We like to plan and develop the next steps. We make sure that we adjust our plans accordingly so that there are no surprises. The last group went really fast and pushed too hard without really understanding what results they were getting; hence, the project never got anywhere. They were drilling a lot of holes very quickly. On the other hand, we want to tackle it from an exploration stance. We also need to introduce other disciplines, such as metallurgy and engineering, so that when we start figuring out how big this deposit is and its quality, we can start understanding how we are going to develop it.
Q: What is the future of copper and how will it compare to gold and silver? How is that going to impact Barksdale’s prospects?
A: The future for copper is bright. The higher the prices are, the more incentivizing it is to explore a copper mine. However, while the demand for copper is increasing, the mines that produce copper are gigantic and require millions of dollars to get started. They also require years of planning, permits, exploration and development. When you get an increase in price, like we are seeing, it takes a couple of years for supply to catch up. The fact that we have a nimble copper project that can be developed more rapidly gives us an opportunity to push the project as fast as we can, while adhering to our plans and taking advantage of price cycles.
Q: What are the main benefits of operating in Sonora, compared to Arizona, and how is Barksdale planning its approach with community members?
A: In the US, the relationship with the communities is much more open and we aspire to answer any questions they may have. We want them to feel comfortable with what we are doing and over time, we strengthen our support to the community. In Mexico, people’s support for mining is much stronger. The men at San Javier have worked in coal mines and have always been familiar with mining. They understand the benefits of a mine. We plan on conducting much of our community outreach by facilitating question and answer sessions. We want to make sure that the neighboring community, as well as the owners, are aware of all the things we do to make their lives better. Part of our surface proposal with them is to fund the drilling of a new water well for their community. Their current water well is depleted, so we are looking to develop the infrastructure to give the water back to the community. They get their water from a plumbing truck that comes every couple of weeks, so we are looking to make a positive impact by providing a sense of water security.