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Garrett Ainsworth, President and CEO, District Metals Corp. (TSX-V: DMX, FRA: DFPP) Discusses their Advanced, Exploration-stage, Polymetallic Property, in a World Class Mining District: Bergslagen, Sweden

on 3/14/2022
We spoke with Garrett Ainsworth, who is President and CEO of District Metals Corp. (TSX-V: DMX, FRA: DFPP). District Metals is focused on their advanced, exploration-stage, polymetallic Tomtebo Property, located in the Bergslagen Mining District of south-central Sweden. Tomtebo comprises 5,144 ha and is situated between the historic Falun Mine and Boliden’s Garpenberg Mine that are located 25 km to the northwest and southeast, respectively. 2022 is shaping up to be a very exciting time for the Company's shareholders, as District Metals intends to execute, on three exploration programs, within the first half of the year.

Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, talking with Garrett Ainsworth, who is President and CEO of District Metals. Garrett, I wonder if you could give our readers/investors an overview of your Company, what differentiates your Company from others and also what were the highlights of last year and what are your plans, going forward, for this year?

Garrett Ainsworth: We are an explorer/developer, operating in the Bergslagen Mining District, of south-central Sweden. We're delineating high-grade polymetallic mineralization at historic mines or showings, while also exploring for the next high-grade polymetallic deposit. We have three projects that are at the advanced exploration stage. One of them, we picked up in June of 2020. It is our flagship project, Tomtebo. Last year we did two phases of drilling. We drilled over 10,000 meters in a total of 36 holes. This drilling was focused in and around the historic Tomtebo Mine, and also regionally testing some coincident geophysical anomalies, along trend from the Tomtebo Mine.

We had a lot of success in our drill programs at Tomtebo, where we hit wide intervals of high-grade polymetallic mineralization. It has really helped us to understand what we have. For the next steps, we're going to continue stepping out from the mineralization that we've hit. We put out news on February 28th that the best hole that's ever been drilled on the property, historically or by ourselves, was hole TOM21-028, which returned 30 meters of 10.9% zinc equivalent. That’s at the Steffenburgs’ zone, located within the historic Tomtebo mine. This zone is wide open at depth and partially along strike. So, we're looking forward to our next phase of drilling, which we plan to start in early April.

Right now, we're just interpreting the down-hole electromagnetic data and also the whole rock geochemistry, just to really prioritize our drill targets, at Tomtebo. We are also planning a maiden drill program, at one of our new acquisitions, being our Gruvberget Property. It's actually located only 40 kilometers northwest, from our flagship Tomtebo Property. We are going to be concentrating on the Gruvberget North zone, which has continuous mineralization, from historic drilling, across 550 meters, down to a depth of 160 meters. It's wide open at depth and partially along strike as well. So, we're going to be stepping out on 75-meter centers and just pushing towards the goal of getting to a mineral resource estimate.

Lastly, we have a third drill program, planned for the first half of 2022. It's part of a joint venture with Sherpa II Holdings. It's our Bakar Property, located in British Columbia, where we're looking to test a high priority target, called the EC Target, that has coincident VTEM, ZTEM and up to 4.1% copper from outcrop rock samples. We submitted our permit application, in November of 2021. We'll be looking to drill the EC Target as soon as we get that permit in hand.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds great. Could you tell us a few more details about the results you've gotten to date and why you feel your projects are so encouraging and a little bit about the region and the district and the size of that area?

Garrett Ainsworth: It took us about two years to find a project that we could get really excited about. We started looking in 2018 and looked at properties all around the world, and we landed in Sweden for a very good reason. Because the Bergslagen in particular, is known for having very high-grade, very large polymetallic deposits, which make a lot of money for companies like Boliden, who operates the Garpenberg Mine and also Lundin Mining, who operates the Zinkgruvan Mine.

Our flagship Tomtebo Property is located right in between the historic Falun Mine and Boliden’s Garpenberg Mine, there are 25 kilometers on either side. Something that's pretty amazing in Sweden is that foreign companies weren't actually allowed to go in and explore and mine up until the 1990s. It was only state-owned companies that operated before the 1990s. There are large swaths of land that are highly prospective that have old mine workings and mineral occurrences that date back to the medieval days, and they have not been followed up, with modern systematic exploration.

That's part of the opportunity with District Metals. We came in, we saw a region that's known for gigantic high-grade deposits that has not seen the proper modern exploration work, to find additional deposits. There’s a good chance there are more of them out there, it's just persevering and using the right exploration tools to find the next Garpenberg or the next Zinkgruvan.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds fantastic. It must be a lot of fun, working in that region, and as you drill, getting all this great data.

Garrett Ainsworth: Totally agreed! Other aspects about Sweden that I really like, having spent much of my career in the northern parts of Canada, is that the infrastructure in Sweden is really, really good. In the Bergslagen in particular, there are roads everywhere, rail, power, there are deep seaports, there are five smelters in the Nordic region, low energy costs, so it really does bring down your costs. Our drilling costs are $300 per meter Canadian, all in for everything, and that compares quite well to northern parts of Canada that can be well above $400 per meter all in, especially if you start using helicopters. And then also, because the infrastructure is all in place, within the Bergslagen, it really lowers the bar for the size of what you need to find, to make it economic.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Could you tell our readers/investors a little bit about yourself and your Team?

Garrett Ainsworth: I'm a geologist by training. I cut my teeth in the Athabasca Basin, looking for and discovering high grade uranium deposits. I was the VP Exploration for Alpha Minerals. I took a lead role in the discovery and delineation of what is now the Triple R deposit. It was a joint venture, with Fission Uranium. They bought us out in 2013, I won an industry award for that. I went on to NexGen Energy in 2014, as VP Exploration and Development. I had a lot of success with delineating the Arrow Deposit and made some other uranium discoveries on the Rook I property, up until my departure in 2018.

In 2018, I decided to leave, as things were progressing more into the permitting stage at that point and I'm an exploration geologist at heart. That's when I got a hold of a shell company and brought some people together. The Board, being very well thought out, with the skills matrix, includes Joanna Cameron who was VP Legal at NexGen. Doug Ramshaw has technical geological experience, amazing capital markets and strategic advice as well. Jonathan Challis is a mine engineer, by training and also with excellent capital markets experience there. So, it's a very well-rounded Board.

In terms of local talent, one of the first things we did, when we picked up Tomtebo is we made sure that we had the local expertise. Our Country Manager, Hein Raat, worked for over a decade with Boliden, specifically focused on polymetallic deposits in the Bergslagen. He now runs his own consulting business, so we retain him as our Country Manager, and he has just executed beautifully on our drill program last year and continues to do so this year as well.

Rodney Allen is a technical advisor. He's like the godfather of polymetallic deposits, in the Bergslagen. He's written numerous papers. He took a very important role, leading the Team that made several discoveries, at Boliden’s Garpenberg Mine which actually took it from near closure to being a Tier 1 asset for Boliden. So, his expertise, advice and knowledge of the local rocks, mineralization and alteration is massive. We have a Team in place that's had a lot of success in their past, and we're looking to do it again.

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, you definitely have a great Team, you have a great background, your Team and you have a very strong Board, so that's excellent. Garrett, could you tell us a little bit about your share and capital structure?

Garrett Ainsworth: We've done quite a good job in protecting it and we have some very strong backers. I have just over 2.5 million shares myself that I've purchased shares at anywhere from 12.5 cents, to over 40 cents. EMX Royalty is a large shareholder at 8.1% percent. That's largely due to the transaction that we did on Tomtebo and Svärdsjö. Astute funds that are on District’s share registry, include Commodity Capital, Extract Capital out of New York, Cambrian Capital, out of San Francisco, Sprott USA, APEC Capital, out of Hong Kong, Commodity Discovery Fund, out of the Netherlands and KJ Harrison, out of Toronto. It's very important to get that institutional support and the funds see what we're doing, what we've done before and they have been backing us, very well, since quite early on.

Dr. Allen Alper: That’s great to have such strong support and also to have skin in the game, along with your shareholders. Garrett, could you tell our readers/investors the primary reasons they should consider investing in District Metals?

Garrett Ainsworth: The primary reasons would include, having the Team in place that covers everything from technical aspects to capital markets. A poor Management Team can wreck a good project, so it's very important that we've built up the right group of people to be successful. Our projects, in the Bergslagen, are underexplored and there are plenty of examples of large, high-grade mines, in the district. Our projects are at the advanced exploration stage, with historic mines and showings that have mineralization open in many directions. We're not doing strictly grassroots exploration. A lot of these larger mines, such as Garpenberg and Zinkgruvan, were initially discovered, from small historic mines, and then persistent exploration took them to the next level. We intend, in 2022, to execute on at least three programs, within the first half of this year. It's going to be a very exciting time to be a shareholder of District Metals.
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