Some junior mining companies will go wherever the opportunities are while others leverage their jurisdictional expertise by focusing on one particular area. Each of these approaches offers its own advantages. Investors who like jurisdictional expertise may want to take a closer look at a new junior mining company that is leveraging its expertise in Latin America.
QRS Capital Corp (TSX-V: QRS) is a relatively young company but it already has 3 projects in Latin America and it has its sights set on more. Recently, we spoke to the President of QRS Capital Corp, Diego Benalcazar, who told us about what QRS has done in its short lifespan and what it intends to achieve in the near term.
Mr. Benalcazar is a Professional Geologist with over 25 years of industry experience. "I'm a geologist from North Carolina State. I did my MBA at Harvard. I have worked in the mining sector since I graduated in 1982," he said. Since then, he has worked in large and medium size mining companies and, mostly focused in Latin America.
He came to QRS a little more than a year ago, while it was still in its infancy: "QRS started not long ago and was listed on the TSX." The company had one property already and Mr. Benalcazar was focused on expanding their portfolio. "When I came on board we had a property in Mexico. In the last year, we looked at about 150 projects around Latin America. We selected 67 priorities and narrowed it down to 46 actual due-diligences, 7 final projects are now our top priority; out of those 7 projects we have signed 2 Option Contracts in the past 2 months."
Their original Mexican property is a high grade silver property in Chihuahua Mexico. Previous drilling has revealed grades of over 3,000 grams per ton silver and QRS is planning for a 12,000 meter drill program.
They have two properties in Chile, which were just recently signed in February 2012.
Vista Hermosa is a copper oxide and oxi-sulphide deposit in La Serena, Chile. There has been some drilling on the property and the company has plans for another 60,000 meters of drilling starting in April 2012 and progressing for the next two years. The project has year-round access by (paved and dirt) roads as well as proximity to power and water, and a processing plant is only 5 kilometers away. This makes it an ideal low-cost project for QRS. QRS has an option to own this project 100%.
Vista Hermosa Infrastructure
Las Leddas is their second Chilean project. It's a 5100 hectare property located in the Maricunga belt. Mr. Benalcazar said, "The Maricunga belt is famous for a number of world class discoveries." The discoveries are low-grade bulk tonnage porphyry gold deposits” and the property has 3 large areas targeted for drilling. QRS Capital is planning an initial 9,000 meter drill program on the property. Mr. Benalcazar is particularly excited about this project because "it has all the components in place", he said.
The project has had some initial drilling on it (from a previous exploration company) but they didn't explore the project very far. "There is information from prior exploration programs. They only drilled 9 holes and they concentrated their efforts on only one small area; they explored less than 5% of the total ground." QRS intends to take the exploration to the next level: "We will finalize our geophysics and be ready to start drilling in September or October. In the meantime, I think we have enough information to set our drilling targets for exploration," said Mr. Benalcazar.
So far, the young company has 3 properties but it is continuing its search for more. There are talks about new projects in other Latin American countries and the QRS Capital website contains presentations that list Colombia, Peru, and Brazil as countries where QRS is actively pursuing opportunities.
Mr. Benalcazar summarized the QRS approach when he said: "We have taken an intelligent approach to the opportunities that are open to us. We have defined options that minimize risk. We have other projects coming on board in a short period of time and they will provide more opportunities with a low entrance cost."
The QRS Capital team is small but highly experienced. Mr. Benalcazar has over 25 years of industry experience, mostly in Latin America. And he is currently based in Latin America, which he believes gives QRS Capital a distinct competitive advantage over other companies that work in Latin America ,but who operate out of another country.
Joining Mr. Benalcazar in leadership are other experienced team members. John Seaman is the Chairman and CEO. Mr. Seaman is the former CFO of Pediment Gold and Wolfden Resources, as well as the current CFO of Premier Gold. Robert Sedgemore is a director. He, too, has over 25 years of experience in international operations and project experience, with an emphasis on copper mining and Chilean expertise.
Financially, the company is ready to move forward. Mr. Benalcazar reported, "We have a clean capital structure. Our share price is $0.69/share." Over the past 52 weeks, their price has ranged from $0.38/share to $0.72/share and Mr. Benalcazar believes that new drilling results and future acquisitions will drive that price higher. "Our market cap is about 10.8 million which will increase as soon as we produce our NI 43-101." One of the most significant numbers that investors want to know is how much cash they have to fund their projects. "We have $1.9 million in cash," said Mr. Benalcazar. "We are going out next week to raise another $5 to $6 million."
Investors like different junior resource companies for different reasons. Investors who see lots of opportunity in the Latin American mining jurisdiction may want to do further due diligence on QRS Capital Corp to see if this Latin American-focused silver, copper, and gold explorer is the right fit for their portfolio.
QRS Capital Corp
391 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 2G2 CANADA