Aztec Minerals (AZT.V) is off to an excellent start on its 2023 Tombstone drill program as the initial drill results released by the company last week are very strong.

The company released the assay results of just one hole, but that hole was an immediate hit. The drill bit encountered 125 meters of mineralization at an average grade of 1.63 g/t gold-equivalent (consisting of 0.58 g/t gold and 72.2 g/t silver so almost 2/3rd of the gold-equivalent grade actually came from the silver) but the most interesting portion were the two very distinct high-grade zones. The company encountered 1.5 meters of 22.4 g/t gold and 49 g/t silver at about 61 meters downhole and just a little bit deeper, at a depth of 125 meters down-hole, Aztec encountered 7.65 meters of 0.52 g/t gold and 734 g/t silver (for a total silver-equivalent grade of approximately 775 g/t) including a bonanza-grade interval of 1.52 meters containing almost 3.5 kilogram silver per tonne of rock. The gold-equivalent grade of that interval is 43.6 g/t while the silver-equivalent grade is just under 3,500 g/t as well.

Considering silver definitely appears to be the dominant metal here, it is surprising the company uses a gold-equivalent grade to combine both precious metals into an equivalent calculation as a silver-equivalent calculation would make more sense (as far as equivalents make sense). Even if the recovery rates for silver will be lower in a heap leach scenario, it will still be the metal with the highest recoverable and payable value in the mix. But before jumping to any conclusions, let’s wait for the assay results of the next nine holes of this ten hole drill program (for a total of 1,000 meters of core drilling) of which the first five holes have already been completed now.

Aztec Minerals also confirmed it has acquired an additional patented claim for US$65,000 (which works out to be just over US$8,000 per hectare. This new claim is directly adjacent to the core patented claims at Tombstone and opens up the area to the northwest. Despite its relatively small size (7.82 hectares is just under 80,000 square meters), the newly acquired claim hosts several mine shafts and prospects with its main shaft reaching a vertical depth of approximately 240 meters. Historical production records from more than 120 years ago indicate a total of 5,157 tonnes of rock was mined and processed with an average grade of in excess of 2,000 g/t silver and almost 40 g/t gold with a very substantial lead by-product credit as well.

Disclosure: The author has a long position in Aztec Minerals. Aztec is a sponsor of the website. Please read our disclaimer.

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