Azimut Exploration Inc’s (TSXV:AZM) intercepts, as presented in January, look like they could lead to multiple quartz veins splaying in at least three directions laterally and vertically
Thom Calandra | February 14, 2020 | SmallCapPower: Out of the gate, this one. The rest of Canada will be pointing to a Frenchman’s fresh James Bay gold discovery at Elmer in Québec. I am fortunate to have been in shares of Azimut Exploration Inc. (TSXV:AZM) and known its Québecois chef de la direction, before Jean-Marc Lulín‘s company made stock-market headlines with a 3-plus grams of gold across 102 meters last month at Elmer’s Patwon targets.
(Originally published on thomcalandra.com on February 11, 2020)
I am placing this online for “the rest of Canada,” and one hopes, gold seekers elsewhere. Our own The Calandra Report/TCR subscribers have been getting a diet of private Azimut reports (and accelerating shares) since August 2019. No safe harbor for me.
For those observing Azimut’s so-called “predictive modeling” from the sidelines, or the lakesides, if you happen to live in Québec, I suggest for background, that you first read Data Scientist Unearths Veined Gold At James Bay Part I.
This analysis, as promised last week and delivered today (Monday February 10, 2020), offers fresh material not already published by the company or sell-side analysts. So, one hopes: not a traditional piece of collated research.
Instead, this is a look into how the 63-year-old Frenchman might theorize about his company and its large land holdings in a province where there are 10,000 lakes of at least 3 square kilometers.
Jean-Marc Lulín and his Azimut Exploration team spend as much time walking Québec’s tens of thousands of lakes as they do scanning 85 million pixels of landscape in their Montreál computer labs.
Technologists these days are exploiting artificial intelligence as applied to minerals properties. It’s the rage, I guess, in many fields.
I find it noteworthy that Dr. Lulín has been at the data-mapping helm, assembling 50 or so parameters in each mappable Québec pixel of ground and soil, since the mid-1990s.
No one bird can cover Québec’s mineralized lake-bottoms. Not even a programmable drone/droid.
Jean-Marc’s Azimut Exploration and the founder have been assembling geographic, geophysical, geochemical (etc., etc.) parameters from pixelated mineral footprints in the province for 27 years. In that time, the France-born and educated geologist has covered the map. Azimut (AXM/AZMTF) has leased more mineral concessions in Québec than any other pub-co.
Lot of data, lot of bandwidth, many parameters. Azimut integrated in a single database two large groups of parameters that are collected at the scale of Québec:
- Geophysical parameters (magnetism, gravity, in some areas: spectrometry, electromagnetism)
- Geochemical parameters (50 to 60 chemical elements analyzed from lake-bottom sediments, steam sediments, till)
Big deal, right? That allowed Azimut to make 11,000 mineral claims across 5,400 square kilometers. That’s intensive and crazy — and not a guarantee of success. You control ’em, but you for pay for leasing ’em while you’re pecking away at the parameters.
[Takeaway for those who don’t have 3 minutes to scan this interview? Purchase the surging Azimut stock this week — before the Elmer property’s (7) Patwon targets grow another 100-meter or more set of 2-gram, 3-gram gold holes when drilling resumes up there in James Bay in March. I own the shares.]
Dr. Lulín offers unusual views and idiosyncrasies. Of 12 or so exploration professionals I consulted, 10 said Jean-Marc was the most precise geologist and economist they have run across in Canada and elsewhere. None knew he spends much time developing and perfecting his karate skills.
Patwon targets’ cross sections: first 7 holes
The PhD. data scientist’s responses here are tinted with science. Jean-Marc is wary of what he calls “assumptions, m-asummptions” about geology, about his five or six Azimut Quebec exploration projects … and even about the nature of a rock: “Is a rock agnostic? Are rocks agnostic?”
About the nature of press releases? “You write a press release,” he says at dinner one evening, “and it is no longer your discovery. It becomes a transfer of common knowledge.”
(I saw this appropriation happen within a day of Azimut’s Elmer strike at Patwon. Four (by my count) Canada-based sell-side analysts were questioning the orientation of the 7 holes, the reference to the Éléonore gold camp in James Bay, and a couple even were ka-vetching about their perceived lack of detailed cross-sections from Azimut. Yet that material is all in the latest Azimut update and investor deck.)
About metals juniors’ relentless quest for other people’s cash for their treasure hunts? “When you issue shares you have to think, are you ready to create your own inflation? You are just weakening the torque effect.” Azimut, Jean-Marc boasts, has never shrunk or consolidated its shares for the common nominal multiplier effect.
AZM/AZMTF’s trade-able “float” is about 21 million shares of an outstanding common about three times that amount. His backers are Québec’s labor, teacher and other funds, and the province’s SOQUEM, SIDEX and other institutions intent on leveraging metals’ discoveries for the sake of jobs and the provincial economy.
About his (AZtechMine) methodology, which is my prime interest, as I am always searching for a holy data-grail? “We convert footprints into targets on the nature of the parameters shaping the target. Purely data driven. No interpretation. Then we rank them.”
You can retrieve an outline of Azimut’s “white box” from several bookmarks on the Azimut web site and most recently, from a January 7, 2020, press release.
Leave it said that the computing power needed to parse Québec’s enormous minerals databases needs cold storage to keep computer circuits from overheating. “We use numerical parameters to identify targets with discovery probabilities,” says Jean-Marc, a transplant to Québec during the 1990s. Parameters include gravity, radioactivity, geochemistry, magnetics, IP, soil type, geophysical traits such as shear zones ands mafic intrusions; maybe 50 others that create a statistical footprint of an area, usually based on lakeside and lake-bottom sediments.
This sort of dizzying spatial analysis, thanks to computing power, is improving daily in many industries. Not just metals.
For our interests as investors, metals hounds and observers, this goes to the “AI” in Au, Ag and Cu prospecting. Data: finding it, parsing it, analyzing it, presenting it. Artificial intelligence is supposed to speed the search and shed the irrelevant collateral.
Yet like all human endeavours, pioneering a data enterprise of such a large scale requires a team with legs to perform traditional follow-ups that lead to discovery hypotheses. That is, grunt work, field work: channeling, grab samples at surface, outcrop examination (less than 10% of the ground at these Québec sites have meaningful outcrop), boulder examination, structural and metamorphic lay of the land (faults, shear zones, etc), and mineral mix of soil, with and without anomalies.
To date, AZM has collected more than 17,500 lake-bottom sediment samples. I believe Jean-Marc said his team’s field surveys require at least 1 sample per square kilometer.
I mention also the P-factor of probabilities: such as the potential of kilometric strike extensions, which can make a deposit economic and valuable if proven.
Naturally, this is what his corporate partners during decades are most into: can we expect a deposit of 2 million or more ounce of gold there? Or a billion pounds of copper? Those partners, Rio Tinto, Newmont Mining, Hecla Mining, others, have spent $67 million with Azimut as compared with $18 million of Azimut’s cash. The number of strategic partnerships or signed options for Azimut number about 30, with three or four documented discoveries.
At any rate, the headlines right now are these Patwon targets at Elmer. The intercepts as presented in January look like they could lead to multiple quartz veins splaying in at least three directions laterally and vertically, as I understand from observers and geologists in Québec. Well plotted gold continuity right out of the gate.
Eric Lemieux, an independent analyst and geologist in Montreál, is submitting good and in some cases superb insights into several of Azimut’s exploration prospects, including Elmer and also the copper targets at Pikwa.
What could set Dr. Lulín and his team apart from most geologist-driven explorers is their validation process. About 9 in number, the team will not shovel any data to feed or support a preliminary hypothesis. “We validate the sample; this is routine for us. The 11,000 claims, this is for us real estate; no emotion. We are linking data, large mineral footprints close to surface, with field validation.”
The team in June 2019 saw its pixels produce parameters at the Elmer property that lit up switches: circuit boards. So Jean-Marc and his crew dropped into James Bay, saw-cut a large sample from a flat outcrop, got something like 54 grams of gold/tonne, and proceeded to apply more data from the statistical footprints to the lakeside and lake-bottom sediments.
“A piece of a rock is very local. A lake-bottom sample in a basin is much more representative of an average than just adding up geophysical information,” he says.
Jean-Marc is unwilling to speculate about Elmer, or about any of the other four or five main projects that are ongoing. He loathes promotion and even cringes knowing this small report from a layman (moi) might lead investors to AZM shares, or individuals to pick-axe around Elmer and the other projects.
Azimut has about 12,000 meters of further drilling aligned for the properties in James Bay, Nunavik and elsewhere in the province for 2020. Azimut is the geologist/economist/data scientist’s only professional pursuit.
Work Program Table 2020: Azimut Exploration
“If we consider the targets as real and prospective, AZM will stake them. We focus on poorly explored / previously unrecognized targets that may correspond to the footprint of major mineralized systems.”
I asked Jean-Marc what he considers the most important component of his system and without pausing to swallow a swallow of rack of lamb, said, “Systematic field validation — a lot of work for 400 prospective discoveries.” (Please see a line or two of philosophy from the CEO at the close of this report.*)
Aside from Azimut properties’ gold, copper, silver, zinc targets, there is tungsten in the mix, molybdenum, and even some rare earth elements and uranium at various locations.
The Calandra Report/TCR audience: I am glad to funnel specific questions about a future financing (which I pray we do not see before the March drill results are published regarding Elmer, an emerging discovery that has the wherewithal to take AZM/AZMTF shares to fresh highs. Perhaps above $2 CAD a share if I am proven just half-right about the dimensions of this possible gold deposit).
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