John Hite, President and Richard Walters Executive Vice President are Co-Founders and Directors of Marifil Mines Ltd at the New Orleans Investment Conference.
Investors trade on facts but they also trade on a compelling investment story; they invest in smart companies that offer intriguing ways of doing business while executing carefully planned moves in the market place.
And investors may like Argentina-focused Marifil Mines Ltd. (TSXV: MFM) because this company isn’t just one single compelling investment story but is, in fact, several compelling investment stories in just one company.
Recently we spoke to John Hite, CEO and co-founder of Marifil Mines Ltd. Mr. Hite gave us a brief overview of his background and his team, and then spoke at length about the numerous opportunities that Marifil was pursuing.
Mr. Hite said: “I’m a professional geologist. I graduated from the Colorado School of Mines then I did graduate work out of the University of Arizona. After that, I worked for companies like Cypress Mining Company and Homestake Mining Company. Since 1987, I’ve been working in Canada, exclusively in the junior mining sector. I’ve been working in the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. More recently, in 2003, Dick Walters and I founded Marifil Mines to work in Argentina.”
Marifil is operating exclusively in Argentina and they have an extensive network of talented managers operating the company, both in Canada and in Argentina. Mr. Hite told us about himself and his co-founding partner: “My partner, Dick Walters, started working in Argentina in 1991. I went down there in 1999. Also, we have a cadre of very experienced geologists, made up of Argentinians who have been there all their life. We have a winning combination – a good management team and skilled people in the field.”
Next, we spoke with Mr. Hite about the company, to get an overview of their business model and what their initial goals are as a company. “Marifil is an exciting company,” Mr. Hite told us. “We have about 20 properties. We control about 400,000 hectares of ground – which is about one million acres – in 9 provinces in Argentina. Our focus is to find property cheaply to put in some value-add, and then farm out everything else. We want to be known as the joint venture partner for Argentina. We’re really good at finding property so we want to bring in more experienced people to develop these mines for us. I’d rather own 20% of a watermelon than 100% of a grape. We have what we think are a number of world class ore bodies.”
So we asked Mr. Hite to tell us about these opportunities, which he pointed out could each be a potential winner for a junior mining company. The first he listed was San Roque. He said: “We think San Roque has the potential to be a giant ore body. The geology is somewhat similar to Goldcorp’s Penasquito deposit in Mexico. We’ve found mineralization over an area that measures 3000 metres by 4000 metres. We’re in a joint venture with Nova Gold, who are earning in. They plan to start drilling in the next month or so. Our hope is that they’ll find something that could be measured in the billions of tons.
San Roque has the potential to become a 20 or 30 million ounce gold deposit as well as produce hundreds of millions of pounds of lead and zinc. It’s an absolutely perfect area to make a mine: It’s a flat desert. It’s only 65 kilometers to an ocean port. There’s a railroad running along the south part of the claim, as well as a paved highway. Halfway between us and the ocean port is a hydroelectric power line. And, it’s in a sub-tropical climate – dry, arid – where you can work year round. The infrastructure doesn’t get any better than that.”
They have several other properties as well. One of them is called K2, which they’ve spun out into another company controlled by Marifil. “K2 is a potash project. We think the potential is there for 200 to 250 million tons of potash,” Mr. Hite said.
Marifil may be focused in Argentina but they are not tied to a specific metal. “Nearby is a property called the Codihue property which we think will be a world class sulphur deposit,” said Mr. Hite. “To the north, we have a property called Las Aguilas, which is the largest nickel-cobalt-copper-platinum in Argentina. We have just signed an option agreement with Pacific Coast Nickel on that. In north-western Argentina we had a number of lithium properties and we just sold those to a private company that will go public on the London market. Marifil will receive $500,000 in cash and 4.5 million dollars’ worth of stock in that new company.”
And the list goes on. Marifil has an impressive list of projects that have significant potential for the company, for joint venture partners, and for investors. “We have a property called Toruel, which is an epithermal vein deposit. We have drill holes there which cut 5% copper, plus 2000 grams per ton of silver, plus 300 grams per ton of indium. This is truly ‘bonanza’ grades of copper and silver.
Just north of Toruel we have a project called Los Menucos where we have 3 very large epithermal gold-silver exploration targets. Each one of these 3 targets measures 5 kilometres by 8 kilometres. Within, there is some widely scattered drilling but with very good values. We think Los Menucos has some good potential to make a gold ore body. We also hold a limestone deposit that is associated with a now dormant vertically integrated iron ore project. The government of Argentina had spent a billion dollars developing this. They put in a dock big enough to load 60,000 ton ships. Around the dock, we think there is 200,000,000 tons of cement-grade limestone. And, we just sold a small oil and gas property called El Carmen for $250,000 but retained an 8% gross production royalty. It’s right on the margins of an oil-producing basin and we think there’s a good potential for about 6 million barrels of recoverable oil.”
With the right joint venture partner, many of these projects seem to be valuable opportunities. Mr. Hite agreed: “We’re right on the verge. We’ve spent 2 and a half years just sitting on our hands because we didn’t have enough money, and no one wanted to joint venture with us because they didn’t have money. But now that metal prices are increasing, and people are getting excited again, my phone is ringing with people who want to do deals.”
They have the team and they have the properties. Now it’s just a matter of lining up money and partners, factoring in exploration time, and Marifil’s compelling investment story could easily expand and become several compelling investment stories.
After talking to John Hite and Richard Walters the Alpers purchased Marifil stock shares.
Marifil Mines Ltd.
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