Paul Kuhn, President and CEO
“Avrupa,” the Turkish word for “Europe” is a fitting name for Avrupa Minerals. With prospects all over Europe, Paul Kuhn, President and CEO, stopped to talk with Metals News at the Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver.
Kuhn had a lot to say about Avrupa and his own experience. “I'm a geologist,” he said, “I've been in the business for over 30 years. I've worked all over the Middle East and Europe and all over the world.” Now that he is with Avrupa, his focus has changed to find high quality projects that can be developed and sold off to a partner. Kuhn said, “We are a prospect generator working in Portugal, Kosovo, and Germany.”
Currently, Avrupa's largest project is in southern Portugal, where they have just completed a joint venture agreement to explore for copper and zinc on three contiguous exploration licenses. Said Kuhn, “Our biggest project is the Alvalade JV in the Pyrite Belt of Portugal. We operate the program, and our partner Antofagasta Minerals, from Chile, spends US $4 million on our work.” The project in Portugal is just one example of how Avrupa Minerals uses their business model. Kuhn said, “The goal of all of our work is that we are a prospect generator. We are good at finding minerals’ prospects and bringing them up to joint venture status.” Avrupa is not interested in actually moving those projects into production, but they are simply focused on finding the resources. Said Kuhn, “What happens is that we eventually end up with a royalty when the prospect turns into a mine and goes into production. We'd rather have ten royalties than try to build a mine.”
Avrupa currently has no resources on their books as they are just beginning to do exploration and prospecting in Germany, Portugal and Kosovo. Said Kuhn, “We have no resources. We are working in old mining districts on greenfields exploration. We have just acquired a new property in the old Erzgebirge mining district in Germany, covering 300 square kilometers of potential gold prospects. Our biggest program is the Alvalade JV in Portuguese Pyrite Belt.” In northern Portugal, Avrupa is working with Canada's Blackheath Resources on a small resource that is not 43-101 compliant, but where previous operators have found close to one million tons of 0.8% WO3. Kuhn believes that property may have even more to offer. He said, “We think there is a gold target on that property.”
What Avrupa Minerals has confidence in is the history of the areas that they are prospecting. Said Kuhn, “The Pyrite Belt has been a producer for 2000 years. Our licenses are on trend with the large Neves-Corvo copper-zinc mine.” Kuhn believes that Neves-Corvo is located in a mining-friendly jurisdiction, where Avrupa has the ability to do some significant work. Said Kuhn, “Portugal is a fine place for an exploration and mining company to work. Portugal is a mining-friendly jurisdiction. They work well with the miners. They work in a pragmatic fashion so everyone can get to work. The government is supportive and they need our investment. There are a lot of opportunities there.” Kuhn feels the same about the position that Avrupa has taken in Kosovo. He said, “We are investing in Kosovo for the same reasons.”
In the short-term, Avrupa is working toward moving the Alvalade JV forward by drilling 6000 meters at a cost of US$ 2.5 million dollars this year, all charged to our partner’s JV earn-in account. Other items on Kuhn’s agenda are to find a joint venture partner for their Kosovo projects and to begin to explore Germany. Kuhn said, “We are going to be upgrading our properties this year.”
In Kosovo, Kuhn said they are looking for another exploration company to join them. Despite the reputation of the region, Kuhn feels there is a great deal of opportunity. Said Kuhn, “We are looking for an exploration-minded company to work with us in Kosovo. It is a very pleasant place. They are also very mining-friendly. We are the only real operators in Kosovo right now.” Trying to convince other companies that it is a good place to work can be a challenge. Kuhn said, “It is a tough [sell]. But it is an easy place to work. I'm comfortable working there. We intend to move forward.”
“Managing all of Avrupa's disparate projects has involved putting management in different locations. In Kosovo, Avrupa has a management group and two senior German consultants who know everyone in the country. In Portugal, my office manager has over 40 years of experience in-country. We are well set up in both countries. Our partner in Germany is a highly respected consulting firm.” In order to keep all of the projects moving forward, Kuhn has taken up residence in Europe. He said, “I live in Portugal. It is easier to run the projects that way.”
For investors, who are interested in Avrupa Minerals, Kuhn believes they cover a very specific niche. He said, “We are a prospect generator. We do the low risk spending to get a high risk spending partner. We don't go to the market very often and we keep our share structure very tight. The profit model isn't going to happen soon. We get partners to take our projects to a mine.”
Since the Avrupa model is to do discovery and let a partner move into the production phase, Kuhn makes sure that the work they do is of the highest quality. He said, “If we fail to get a partner that means the license probably isn't that good. Our job is to look for good properties, make them drillable, and then offer them to a partner. If they aren't drillable, we aren't going to offer them.” The way they make sure they are drillable is to rely on their technical knowledge.
Finally, Kuhn believes that one of their opportunities is in Kosovo. He said, “We do have a very good operation in Kosovo. We have just gotten a new license for gold and copper and believe it is a porphyry system. We are looking for a joint venture partner.”
With prospects in three different European countries, Avrupa Minerals is maintaining their focus on a prospector generation model with the goal of gaining partial interests and mining royalties in high quality projects for their shareholders.
410-325 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1Z7 Canada