We sat down with David Cliff, CEO of Columbus Copper (CCU.V) to get some of our questions answered.

– Why is the strategic alliance with First Quantum (FM.TO, LON:FQM) a good thing?

It gives us many options to pursue the wide range of exploration opportunities that we have identified through our local knowledge and contacts, while retaining a substantial interest in anything that First Quantum takes into development and mining. We also get to retain any deposit that does not meet First Quantum’s advanced exploration and development investment criteria. The model for this alliance was the agreement that was completed in 2000 between Rio Tinto Exploration with Anatolia Minerals Development (Alacer Gold (ASR.TO)). Anatolia possessed a first rate team, good licences and excellent local knowledge that led to the discovery of Çöpler, their Cevizlidere copper-gold porphyry project and the Bursa porphyry system. However, Anatolia was simply affected by poor prevailing market conditions post Bre-X and the agreement not only permitted company survival but proved to be a company-maker. For Columbus Copper, in the present market environment, trying to go it alone was not seen to be an option.

– Will First Quantum take an option on your Serbian project?

This remains to be seen, but we take it as a positive sign that First Quantum value the relationship and believe that we hold potentially valuable assets and can identify new ones.

– Is this a sign Turkey isn’t as good as expected?

There is no connection between the two. We have been discussing this deal for several months, but First Quantum’s takeover of Inmet took up a lot of management and legal time.

– What is currently going on in Turkey?

We shall shortly be releasing the next batch of drillhole results along with an update on the airborne magnetic/radiometric survey. There are also other intensive studies scheduled for the next three months with strong input by FQM’s specialists.

– What’s your current cash position?

There is about $500k in the treasury at present.

Disclosure: The author holds a long position in Columbus Copper and no position in First Quantum. Please see our disclaimer for current positions.

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