A strong, dedicated and experienced management team can be one of the most critical aspects of a junior mining company. Talking about the experience, the subject of the following interview has been in the exploration and mining business for the past 30 years and sports several successes under his belt. He has been instrumental in the discovery and exploration of several major deposits including the 30-million-ounce West Chance silver deposit at the Sunshine Mine, the 155-million-ounce Pirquitas deposit and a multi-million-ounce gold deposit in Argentina. Bond…Bill Bond is simply an international man of exploration.
LP: What is your current role with Global Minerals?
BB: I’m the vice president of exploration for Global and my primary objectives are to evaluate the Strieborná silver vein via underground sampling and drilling programs in order to upgrade the resource so we can optimize a mine plan to exploit it. We also have a large land package and there are opportunities for us to make additional discoveries in the nearby areas that could enhance the overall operations in the future. We are evaluating these nearby areas and will be drilling some encouraging target areas in the future.
LP: How did you get involved with Strieborná?
BB: I was a VP of exploration for Sunshine Mining & Refining Company in 1995. We were interested in developing the Strieborná deposit at that time. Our evaluation of the project was very favorable despite low metal prices but we were not able to come to an agreement that would allow us to proceed. We (Sunshine) liked the deposit because it was very similar to the ore we were mining at the Sunshine Mine in northern Idaho which has produced over 400,000,000 ounces.
When the opportunity came up in 2010 for me to get involved with Strieborná once again I took advantage of the situation because I strongly believe that Strieborná will develop into a very significant deposit.
LP:What do you consider unique about this project?
BB: Previous exploration has explored the Strieborná vein on multiple levels and over 1.3 kilometers along its strike length with very encouraging results. Therefore, much of the infrastructure and development is already done but the vein itself has not been exploited. This is a tremendous advantage for us. Having much of the exploration work already completed greatly minimizes our risk.
LP:Tell us more about the character of the Strieborná vein and about its potential.
BB: The Strieborná vein has very high grades of silver and copper associated with the mineralization. The vertical extent of the vein is over 300 meters and a length of over one kilometer. It is unique for a vein type deposit. Limited exploration outside of the Strieborná vein may offer opportunities to find extensions of the vein or similar sub parallel veins. It would seem unlikely that the Strieborná vein is the only one of its kind in the area.
LP: Are you saying there other veins in Strienorná proximity?
BB: There are other veins that were identified in previous mining operations. Two of them, the Maria 1 and Maria 2 have some historic analytical data that indicates they contained high silver values. Both of these were found near the main vein, Maria, that was mined for siderite (iron ore) in the past. There are also references in the literature about Maria that suggest the NE end of it may have been enriched in silver (the same area were Maria 1 and Maria 2 were encountered). Also, we have recently been doing some geophysics that indicate there could be a buried (beneath the surface) vein system SE of Strieborná that could be an interesting target in the future.
LP: I understand you are you are working with a lot of data collected by Slovak Geologic Survey (SGS) in previous decades. Can you please explain the benefits and the disadvantages of such data?
BB: The SGS did a very good job collecting and cataloguing work that was done in the 1980’s and early 1990’s during the discovery period of the Strieborná vein. In 1995 an independent evaluation of some of the SGS data was done via additional underground sampling and check assay analysis indicating the data was of very good quality. Because of the reliability of the SGS data we gain insight into the grades for silver and copper in areas that are not now accessible and can therefore plan drilling programs to expand or upgrade the resource in these areas. Without the high quality of SGS data this would have been very problematic.
LP: Global Minerals owns 135 sq km of exploration concessions near Strieborná. How do you as a geologist see the potential of the region?
BB: I think there is very good potential for additional discoveries not only for silver but possibly for gold. Near the Strieborná vein there are several veins that are under explored and offer very good potential. In the Čučma area are several veins that were mined historically, some dating back to medieval times, that we have indications of containing appreciable gold values. Much of the property we have yet to evaluate due to its size. I’m confident that, as time permits, that we will identify several good targets to drill and eventually develop. I think it is important to look at this as being a mineralized district and not just one vein.
LP: How do you envision moving forward with Strieborná expansion and the regional exploration? What are the project priorities and why?
BB: We will move ahead with the exploration and development of the Strieborná vein as our number one priority. The Strieborna deposit is reasonably well defined and will offer us the first opportunity to put a significant deposit into production. The Strieborná vein is considered a buried deposit (it does not show on the surface) and so as we gain access to the underground levels we will be able to set up drill platforms that will better define the ore continuity and expansion possibilities. Regional targets are an ongoing evaluation process and when we feel that we have defined an area that has potential to make a new discovery we will then drill a few holes to test our assumptions.
LP: What exploration methods are you going to be using?
BB: The primary method we will use is drilling with a core rig so we can extract samples from specific locations within the Strieborná deposit for additional analysis. On a regional basis we use the standard exploration methods such as geophysical surveys (induced polarization and resistivity), geologic mapping, geochemical sampling and, unique to this region, mercury spectrometry. The mercury spectrometry method detects very small quantities of mercury vapor in the soil which indicates fault or structural pathways below the surface that the gas has migrated along to reach the surface. Identifying were structures occur is key to discovering possible veins associated with mineralization.
LP: What are your ambitions for this project?
BB: The quick answer is to get the Strieborná deposit into production. In the longer term I would like to make additional discoveries that will ensure that mining will be a long term benefit for the area.
LP: What do you consider the biggest accomplishment so far?
BB: I think that, as with any new project, it is simply getting familiar with the area and comfortable with doing business in a foreign country. I believe that we have excellent technical people now available and on site that will make implementing the exploration programs very efficiently.
LP: How would you describe working in Slovakia?
BB: Slovakia has been a very easy place to work in. Great people and food – what more could you want.
LP: What do you like and dislike about the country?
BB: Geographically Slovakia is very similar to where I live and so the climate is the same which makes it feel like home. What I like least about the country is the 9 hour time zone change I go through when I travel to the project.
LP: How do you like to relax after busy day at work?
BB: I have a small ranch and horses that keep me entertained in my spare time.
LP: If you were not a geologist, what other occupation do you think you would pursue?
BB: I would be a rancher or farmer so I could remain working outdoors.
LP: Martin Zahorec told us his favourite slovak dish was fried cheese, what type of a dish would you recommend to our readers should they happen to visit Slovakia?
BB: I’m the worst person in the world to ask this question because I like everything (almost). And because Bill did not give us a straight answer, I chose for him. The quick and easy garlic soup. To learn how to make it, please click here. But be warned, when you decide to eat it, please make sure you do not have any important social engagements soon after, such as a blind date, or a job interview.