Vizsla Resources (TSXV, VZLA: $0.66)
Vizsla Resources is focused on consolidating and developing silver assets in Sinaloa, Mexico.
The team, led by CEO Mike Konnert, has consolidated a major silver producing district known as Copala-Panuco (“Panuco”). Vizsla’s land package consists of two producing mines, a fully permitted mill and significant infrastructure including a multi-lane highway and access to high-voltage power.
Panuco is a prolific precious metals district that has been producing silver and gold from high-grade veins since the Spanish came over as conquistadors.
The town’s of Copala and Panuco were founded by Francisco de Ibarra 1567 who came to conquer and stayed for the silver. The mines of the region enriched the conquistadors, with so much loot sent back to Europe, that the Pope deemed it appropriate to bless the local church.
A good blessing was no doubt much needed by the conquistadors, who by all accounts were ruthless bastards; so much so that Ibarra was eventually murdered in the town he founded.
I spent 4 days in the region, checking out the geology, exploring underground in the old working, and getting to know the local team.
What stands out about this deal is that Vizsla consolidated a land package on a scale not previously accomplished in the region.
Silver districts in Mexico aren’t so much found as consolidated. Often in this part of the world properties are sliced and diced into tiny parcels, owned by multiple parties, operated as small inefficient mines that never achieve the scale required to become truly lucrative.
Through a combination of good luck, timing and hard work Vizsla has pieced together numerous small properties into a massive 9,388 Ha land package. This is important because the Copala-Panuco property is now large enough to potentially host a modern mining operation.
This has never been done before in the region. And therein lies the opportunity.
Hefty Price Tag
Vizsla is a few months into a 2-year option on the project. That means they have 19 months to complete a resource estimate and decide if it’s worth purchasing the land outright for ~$40M (in staged payments).
On the one hand, this is a steep price tag.
On the other hand, if they find what they are looking for the company could easily be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Location, Location, Location
While cruising around the property with Mike and his team one thing was obvious: Access.
The project is less than an hour’s drive from the beaches of Mazatlán, the nearby tourist town where we stayed. As a result, it’s one of the few projects I’ve visited where I have next to no concerns about infrastructure.
This must be taken into account when considering the ~$40 million dollar price tag on the property.
Last summer, my team was in the Yukon checking out a gold project that requires a +$150 million road to be constructed before they can even get going…. It also takes 1.5 gallons of gasoline to get 1 gallon to site, and drill rigs have to be flown in by helicopter.
Put in context, a $40-million dollar staged price tag on a silver district with a highway and high-tension power line running through it starts to look a lot more reasonable.
The Right People
I’ve known the executive team for several years now, they’re first-class executives and a big part of the reason I invested in this deal; but it was particularly valuable to meet the team on the ground in Mexico.
Two people that stood out were Oscar and Pedro.
Oscar is a doer and a jack of all trades and knows how to run a tight ship. Pedro is a prospector with 30 years of mining experience; he knows the ins and outs of the local industry. They know who you need to talk to, who to hire, and how to get things done when working in Sinaloa.
Vizsla is now working aggressively to define the size of the deposit. They claim that they’ll have the most aggressive drill program in Mexico this year. Which is good, because they’re going to need to move fast to meet their deadlines.
I’ll be keeping an eye on how exploration proceeds over the coming months, but given what I saw on site and the aggressive exploration program in place I’m feeling very positive about this stock. The recent pullback in price, sub $0.80, represents a serious buying opportunity for anyone looking to build out their precious metals portfolio
– Jamie Keech