Can you tell us about the company's diversification plans?
Riverside Resources has a long history of working in Mexico. The company has been doing exploration work in Mexico for more than 13 years. At the same time, other countries hold interesting opportunities. This has been the case with Canada, where we also have a strong database and good technical knowledge, which we can leverage to capture opportunities early on. Riverside Resources uses the prospect generator model. Under this model, we acquire projects at an early stage and then find partners to work with. At present, Canada looks promising in terms of expansion and good geological potential.
What is the main added value that you strive to offer with this new spin off of Capitan?
As a prospect generator, Riverside Resources works on numerous projects with different partners, but with the Peñoles project being more advanced, we felt there was greater value to shareholders by spinning out into Capitan Mining. In addition, given the recent rise in prices of gold and silver, this decision was well timed. Capitan Mining will have a strong start with a great asset with initial resources, an experienced Mexico-based team, and a favorable time in the markets.
What is your outlook for exploration activity in Mexico and Canada for the rest of the year?
Exploration will continue to pick up. Explorers have adapted quickly to COVID-19. I have been following a number of companies and most of them are back to work. Fortunately, drill projects have several stages of advancements, including small drill projects and big drill programs. Since they tend to be in remote regions, it is easier to maintain personnel in camps and follow all the protocols to make sure everybody is safe and healthy. Therefore, I do not see COVID-19 as a big risk for exploration activities. All the explorers and operators in Mexico have been responsible and quick to adapt. Before we stopped operations, the sector had already taken big steps toward making sure everybody was safe. We are not seeing any outbreaks, and we hope it will stay that way. We have been saying all along that we want to be part of the solution, and we are doing a good job at it.
Would you say the industry has been able to adapt quickly because it is used to working with strict safety protocols?
Absolutely. Safety is the top priority in the mining industry. It is not just about putting on protective equipment; the culture around mine sites is strong. If you visit any modern mine, you will see that safety is the first priority. Introducing new measures is easier in the mining industry because all companies have a strong safety culture.
What challenges have you faced due to the pandemic?
Two of the main challenges are security and access. We have been able to deal with them because we are strict with our processes. We have a good network in Mexico, which allows us to stay informed of the areas that might not be advisable to go to at a given time. We also have a pretty good network of contacts for access. Simply put, we have been able to overcome these challenges because we have an advantage over other companies.
What is your outlook for the Mexican mining industry and how well has the Mexican government developed the sector?
Although we would have liked it if mining had been declared essential from the beginning, we are pleased it is one of the industries eventually declared essential by the government. We have to recognize all the hard work done by Francisco Quiroga, the Undersecretary of Mining. He has been touring all mines and making sure that everybody is following the protocols. So far, all companies are working in line with the protocols, and we are pleased to see that.