There are some occasions where digging deep into regulatory filings and doing your due diligence on a company can be downright entertaining. Not to take any significance away from ringing the bell to open the TSX yesterday, but Silver Bullet Mines Corp. (TSXV: SBMI) actually has a traceable history to the Lone Ranger and his calling card, the silver bullet. For those not familiar with the legend of the Lone Ranger, he was a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. The character has been called an enduring icon of American culture, portrayed on radio, television, books and film. So before we take a look at the investment thesis for Silver Bullet Mines I’m going to take you on a trip through history with respect to their flagship asset, the Black Diamond Project in Arizona.
It all begins in Texas in 1868 with the Chilson family starting West to settle in California with cattle to exchange for land. By the time they reached Arizona, they were barely alive with all their cattle, provisions, and horses stolen by the Comanche Indians. They were grateful to be alive and were given refuge by Colonel King Wolsey on his ranch next to the Gila River Southwest of current-day Phoenix. Wolsey told the family a story of his scouting party that had a skirmish with a group of Apaches and discovered they were being fired upon with hammered silver bullets. The site was said to be about 12 miles (19.3 km) north of present-day Globe, Arizona near Apache Peaks. Six years later, one of the Chilson sons recalled the tale and sought to find the source of the Apaches’ silver bullets. He headed the 12 miles north to Apache Peaks where he found native and horn silver nuggets in a basin near the peak. He also spotted Apache Indians later that day and returned quickly to Globe after staking the initial claim.
Members of the current Silver Bullet team acquired the subsequent mine and surrounding mining claims from a Globe, Arizona resident in 1984. The paperwork for the property is said to have included a letter from Francis Striker, the original writer of the Lone Ranger radio series, and addressed to the former owners of the mining claims requesting permission to incorporate the high-grade silver mine and the silver bullet story into the Lone Ranger Series. Mr. Striker actually visited the mine when it was still in operation and was astounded by the native silver he observed being mined there. I think this is all pretty fascinating and one of the benefits of doing a little extra homework when reviewing a company. But an entertaining story doesn’t make an investor money unless Silver Bullet has some legacy rights to the Lone Ranger copyright, which they don’t, so we’ll move on.
Silver Bullet Mines Corp. has only been trading publicly since December 6, 2021 and upon listing released an operational update. With respect to the Black Diamond Project, covering 4,900 acres and hosting five former producing silver mines, the Company announced plans to put the Buckeye Silver Mine in pilot production in Q1/22, followed by full-scale production; finalize plans to have the McMorris Silver Mine back in production within 24 months; and carry out exploration programs elsewhere on Black Diamond to enable a decision on the order in which the remaining former producers will be put back in production. Then last week the Company announced they had begun extracting mineralized material from its Buckeye Silver Mine with the intention to produce an initial total of 10,000 tonnes of mineralized material at a rate of 125 tonnes per day. All of this will occur at Silver Bullet’s wholly-owned, state-of-the-art, modular pilot plant. The plant is designed to maximize the recovery of both gold and silver, although its modular nature means it can be adjusted to recover other metals. This is important as the Company also plans to investigate Black Diamond’s potential to host a copper porphyry.
The commissioning of the pilot plant will put Silver Bullet in the enviable position of being a junior mining company with the ability to actually generate free cash flow, thus reducing the number of potential financings required while continuing to build a resource. And where this gets exciting is that there is another 100% owned property that has had some truly spectacular results already. The Washington Mine on patented lands in the prolific placer gold district in Idaho (I’m not sure what the story behind this confusing naming is but I bet it’s not as interesting as the Lone Ranger story), has recently reported an average of 55.5 oz/ton silver (1,902 g/t) from an 80-kilogram bulk sample. On December 15, 2021 the Company announced 6,174 g/t silver and 18 g/t gold at its Washington Mine from sampling on the property.
As a potential investor, you have a lot of moving parts to keep an eye on, but that’s a good thing in this situation. The Company has a current market cap of C$23 million. If Silver Bullet can start generating free cash flow and self-finance future resource expansion, the current shares outstanding of 55.4 million won’t grow by very much. And to quote the Lone Ranger Creed, Silver Creek Mines “should make the most of what equipment they have”.