Libero Copper Corp. (LBC:TSX.V:, LBCMF:OTCQB ) is a young company, having been formed in 2016, and since then it has been busy acquiring assets. The first two were copper-molybdenum projects, Mocoa in Colombia and Tomichi in the U.S., in Colorado.
"The plan was and is to acquire large tonnage copper porphyry in the Americas, with low holding costs, so we can hold them through to when it's possible to raise capital while minimizing dilution to the shareholder base," Libero Copper Chairman and CEO Ian Slater told Streetwise Reports.
"It takes a long time to find good assets that don't have fatal flaws," Slater added. "For example, with Mocoa, our project in Colombia, it took two years of negotiations with B2Gold (BTG:NYSE; BTO:TSX) to acquire that asset."
"I believe Libero Copper offers an excellent vehicle to speculate on a long run for copper prices in the years to come." - Sam Pelaez, fund manager
Libero has just added a third asset, Big Red, a 17,000-hectare porphyry copper-gold project in British Columbia's Golden Triangle, which is located about 45 kilometers (45 km) southwest of Telegraph Creek and about 80 km west of GT Gold's (GTT:TSX.V) high-grade Tatogga project. GT Gold noted that in 2017 it made two major discoveries at the Saddle prospect at Tatogga: "a near surface bulk-tonnage and potential deep high-grade underground-style epithermal gold-silver vein system at Saddle South and, close by at Saddle North, a large-scale, richly mineralized and high-grade porphyry copper gold mineralized intrusion."
Libero this month closed the option agreement to acquire 100% of Big Red. The deal calls for the issuance of 2 million common shares of Libero Copper and cash payments of $440,000 over four years. The sellers retain a 1% net smelter royalty; 0.5% of the royalty can be repurchased by Libero for $10 million.
"Big Red is early-stage exploration, but is really, really exciting," Slater said. "It has recently been flown for magnetics and radiometrics outlining an obvious porphyry target, which was confirmed with high grade rock samples. Big Red never had modern exploration over the entire project before as this is the first time it's been consolidated."
The company has started the drill permitting process for summer exploration at Big Red. Until then, the company is analyzing the existing data. "There are many decades of geochemistry data on the project," Slater stated. "And we will analyze all that to make sure we have the best drill targets and places we want to follow up with. That is happening over the next few months."
The project meets Libero's criterion of low holding costs. "Big Red features pretty non-dilutive acquisition costs. It's a low-cost option deal; even to buy it outright, the total cost is $440,000 over four years, and only $20,000 this year," Slater noted.
"Big Red has really exciting grades, really exciting targets, and we can start working on them in July, which isn't far away," Slater relayed.
Libero is also continuing to explore Mocoa in Colombia and has applied for drilling permits. Discovered by the United Nations in 1973, the property has seen exploration by AngloGold Ashanti (AU:NYSE; ANG:JSE; AGG:ASX; AGD:LSE) and B2Gold, before being acquired by Libero in 2018.
A 2016 resource estimate, using a 0.25% copper equivalent cutoff, resulted in an Inferred resource of 4.6 billion pounds of copper and 511 million pounds of molybdenum.
According to the company, "the Mocoa deposit forms a continuous zone of copper and molybdenum mineralization over an area measuring approximately 1.2 km east-west by 1.4 km north-south and extending to depths of more than 1 km below surface."
Slater told Streetwise Reports that Libero is talking with major mining companies regarding a potential joint venture to de-risk and increase the tonnage of its Mocoa deposit.
Libero's other project, Tomichi, is located about 50 km east of Gunnison, Colorado, in the same state as Freeport McMoRan's (FCX:NYSE) Climax and Henderson molybdenum mines. Tomichi consists of 49 unpatented claims; numerous companies have conducted drill campaigns between 1957 and 1978. A 2017 Inferred resource estimate using a 0.25% copper equivalent cutoff, resulted in 3.3 billion pounds of copper and 555 million pounds of moly.
"Libero offers a base of nearly 8 billion pounds of copper in two projects with extensive exploration, and blue-sky exploration upside in British Columbia's Golden Triangle," Slater concluded. "Plus copper demand, driven by numerous catalysts including renewable energy and electric vehicles, is expected to outpace supply."
Libero was founded by Leo Hathaway and Ian Slater. Hathaway is a geologist with extensive experience in the exploration and mining sector, and is the executive vice president exploration for Libero. He also serves as senior vice president of Lumina Gold Corp., and is the former chief geological officer for Lumina Copper Corp. He has also served at the vice president exploration for Northern Peru Copper Corp., Regalito Copper Corp., Global Copper Corp. and Lumina Resources Corp.
"Leo is an extremely successful geologist; he has been involved in about $3 billion of asset sales where he has been the primary geologist. He is one of the best geologists around," Slater stated.
Libero's board includes Rob Pease, who was the CEO of Sabina Gold and Silver. He was also the founder and CEO of Terrane Metals, which he sold to Thompson Creek Metals in 2010 for $650 million.
Samuel Pelaez, who until recently was the chief investment officer and portfolio manager with Galileo Global Equity Advisors, acquired Libero shares for the fund he managed while at Galileo. Pelaez told Streetwise Reports, "Libero Copper is pursuing a business model that has proven successful in the past: accumulate development-stage copper porphyry assets during the downcycle, incubate them with in-house talent to later sell them to a hungry copper market in the upcycle. With the key insight of geologist Leo Hathaway, who was a driver of the success of Lumina Copper in the previous cycle, and the market savviness of Chairman Ian Slater, I believe Libero Copper offers an excellent vehicle to speculate on a long run for copper prices in the years to come."
Libero has around 61 million shares outstanding, 68 million fully diluted. Management owns 29% of the shares; B2Gold holds a 17% stake in the company. Shares are currently trading at around CA$0.14 on the TSX Venture exchange.[NLINSERT]
1) Patrice Fusillo compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee. She or members of her household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. She or members of her household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in this article are billboard sponsors of Streetwise Reports: None. Click here for important disclosures about sponsor fees. As of the date of this article, an affiliate of Streetwise Reports has a consulting relationship with Libero Copper. Please click here for more information.
3) Comments and opinions expressed are those of the specific experts and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.
5) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned. Directors, officers, employees or members of their immediate families are prohibited from making purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise from the time of the interview or the decision to write an article until three business days after the publication of the interview or article. The foregoing prohibition does not apply to articles that in substance only restate previously published company releases. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Libero Copper, a company mentioned in this article.
Sam Pelaez or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
Funds controlled by Galileo Global Equity Advisors hold shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: Libero Copper