PODCAST: Dolly Varden Silver VP on “Four New Discoveries in a 100-Year-Old Mining Camp”
Dolly Varden Silver Corp. (CVE:DV) (OTCMKTS:DOLLF) (FRA:DVQ1) Vice President Ben Whiting talks to James about taking over management a year ago and designing the 2017 exploration program, which saw four new discoveries in a 100-year-old mining camp. Whiting explains why he thinks they’re important for the new year.
James West: Ben, thanks for joining me today.
Ben Whiting: Thank you very much for the call.
James West: So Dolly Varden’s been around for a long time. I remember hearing about this company, I think I was actually an investor at one point back in 2012, I guess it was? So what has happened with Dolly Varden over the years, and where are you at now? What’s exciting about Dolly Varden?
Ben Whiting: Well, when you talk about Dolly Varden being around for a long time, I would take a jump back further than that. It was four Scandinavian prospectors found the project in about 1911, and its first production was in 1919 to 1921, when it was the richest silver mine in the British Empire.
James West: No kidding!
Ben Whiting: No kidding. It also had an involvement with Herbert Hoover, who was a mining engineer. His first project after the First World War was Dolly Varden. He later became President of the United States, but as a mining engineer, he was an excellent mining engineer. As for his politics, I’ll leave that to somebody else to decide whether he was a good President or not.
James West: Sure, yeah.
Ben Whiting: But he knew mines, and he knew that this was certainly a good one to work on.
Moving into it had production in the 1949 to 1959 as well, and that is the last time that it was in formal production. The time that you were referring to about 2012, was a reinvigoration of this mining camp, and drawing it back together and getting it listed on the stock exchanges.
James West: Which is where we are today.
Ben Whiting: That’s correct. Now, the current management team, we took over management of Dolly Varden and started our exploration and management in December a year ago. So in January is when I came on as the Vice President of Exploration to design the 2017 exploration program, and that turned out to be a wonderful program, with four new discoveries in a 100-year-old mining camp.
James West: Wow, that’s interesting. Tell me about the resource that you’re currently working on at this time.
Ben Whiting: Okay. The resource for 2015 was the formal resource on the property, so the discoveries that we’ve made in 2017 are not yet in a resource. But I’ll give you an idea of why I think they’re important: the 2015 resource has an indicated resource of about 32 million ounces of silver and an inferred resource of a further 10 million ounces of silver, so, around the 42 mark. But what we have is right beside one of the mines that was producing in the past, the Torbrit mine, we’ve reinterpreted the structural setting, and think of it like discovering more pieces of the puzzle here, from a geological perspective.
Where they were mining in the 1950’s at a high grade silver, and an excellent mining project, you step to the north and you come across a fault. Where the ore deposit would continue on the north side of the fault is down-dropped, and so nobody had ever drilled down that level, and it’s called Torbrit North, and in the Torbrut North it is 220 meters below the original Torbrit mine.
So you think of that as being about two football lengths deeper, on the north side of the fault. And these are underground mines, so it’s, the depth is not a problem. But it’s on the north of the deposit on the other side of the fault, we hit some beautiful mineralization. And so I’m using metric because that’s what we work up here in Canada, but you can certainly do your conversions there: we hit 21 metres of mineralization. So you think of that as being about 70 feet thick; compare that to the height of a fairly substantial building. And in there, we hit 433 grams of silver per tonne. So that’s 15, 16 ounces of silver per tonne, plus base metal credits.
James West: Wow, that’s sounding impressive. So what is the plan for the rest of 2018, and how soon till you expand the resource and add this new information?
Ben Whiting: The plan that I’ve submitted to the Board of Directors, as well as Torbrit North, we have Torbrit East and we have the Moose-Lamb and we have some other really exceptionally good discoveries as well. We made four discoveries of similar type.
The plan is to move a drill rig in at the earliest opportunity, and we will set the first drill rig will be to define the areas of these new discoveries. So you stepping out and drilling the new discoveries.
The other part of the 2018 proposed program is to bring in a second drill about a month later and carry on with both drills. The second drill will be to work on exploration targets, and there are multiple exploration targets on this property; we have over 50 targets of high merit. Some of them have surface showings, some of them have drill holes in the past with kilograms of silver at some intercepts, that are not in any resource models.
James West: Hmm, wow, that’s exciting. And so tell me, what is the compelling logic behind owning silver these days?
Ben Whiting: The reason for owning silver, I would say it’s twofold. With silver you’re looking on the first side is the precious metals and jewellery side, and bullion side. If you treat it like you would investing in gold, silver is certainly an investment along that sector, and many of the analysts have suggested that silver will outperform gold in the year to come.
The other side of silver investing is to look at its industrial uses, and one of the biggest, fastest-growing industrial uses is in the medical sector. In the medical sector, it acts as an anti-bacteria side. A lot of hospitals are using silver into the clothing, woven into clothing, and using silver doorknobs in hospital. The other industrial application that is growing as well is electronics. As we know, our electronic world keeps growing, and if you own a cell phone, if you own electronic devices, a lot of those have silver as one of the components of the construction.
James West: Yeah. Wow, that’s great. Okay, so what are the key milestones you’re hoping to achieve in 2017? Why would now be a good time to consider becoming an investor of Dolly Varden?
Ben Whiting: Key milestones will be, we’re setting up, we’ll be announcing the size of the program. The Board of Directors will be submitting budgets to them. I’m anticipating that it will be between 15,000 and 25,000 metres of diamond drilling, so then the announcement of when our crews go into the field, and as about five to six weeks after the diamond drill starts turning, you’ll start to get periodic news releases.
Our normal procedure is to publish between five and ten intercepts at a time, so that we’re not hitting you with every drill hole. Last year we drilled 45 drill holes and we issued about six or seven news releases specifically to the drill results. So there will be a chain of information expanding the story; that’s the sort of catalyst that you would see.
James West: Okay. And on a regional basis, what has been happening around Dolly Varden that would support the idea that there’s a lot of prospective mineralization in the area?
Ben Whiting: Oh, you’re absolutely right, you’re right on, because we are in the southern tip of the Golden Triangle, and the Golden Triangle in British Columbia just off the Alaska Panhandle is this golden triangle of mineralization, and there’s a lot of activity that is going on there. Our neighbours were drilling to the north was Homestake Ridge, was ore and resources. We’ve got projects to the east, and a major investor in us is Hecla Mining. Hecla, I believe, has about 12 percent in Dolly Varden, and they have a very large project to the east of us, about 54,000 hectares.
As you move further north, you’ve got IDM Mining putting in the Red Mountain deposit back into production, and as you move even further to the north, then you start getting into areas like SK Creek, you get Valley of the Kings, of Pretivm’s Brucejack Lake project, you get the gold-rich porpheries of the KSM, which is Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell. There is so much mineralization in the Golden Triangle; it’s going to be a very active season.
James West: Awesome. All right, then, let’s leave it there for now. We’ll come back to you in a quarter’s time or so and see how you’re making out; thank you so much for your time today.
Ben Whiting: You’re very welcome.
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