Morgan Poliquin followed in his father's footsteps, and when your dad is mining industry legend Duane Poliquin, that is certainly a good choice. Duane is a Casey Research X-Leaguer who has been instrumental in the discovery of at least four mineral deposits that became mines. In 1986, Duane founded Almaden Minerals and now acts as chairman, having handed the reins to his deserving son.
Morgan is a geological engineer, having earned his Bachelor's degree from UBC in 1994. He went on to earn a M.Sc. in geology from the University of Auckland and a Ph.D. from the Camborne School of Mines, studying the geology and mineral deposits of eastern Mexico. It was a prudent choice, seeing as Almaden works primarily in Mexico, and after graduating, Morgan joined Almaden to lead major helicopter-borne prospect generation programs for the company.
Those programs are an essential part of Almaden's strategy, as the company is a project generator that works to develop targets to a point where a joint venture partner wants to come in and pick up the tab. From there, Almaden gets to enjoy a free ride on whatever exploration successes may come. We picked up on Almaden in 2004 for precisely this reason, and our subscribers have done very well.
Almaden now has six projects where partners are earning stakes, plus four projects that have reached joint venture status. The company also holds net smelter royalties in 11 other projects. Clearly, the project generation model has worked.
And Morgan continues to advance the strategy, with Almaden's Ixtaca discovery providing the next burst of excitement. The Ixtaca gold-silver project is located in Puebla State, Mexico, and in 2010 Almaden's drills cut 14 holes into a new zone. The epithermal vein system has already been traced for 300 meters along strike, returning short, high-grade results like 4.1 meters of 26 grams gold and 936 grams silver as well as broad mineralized intercepts such as 137 meters grading 1.5 grams gold and 36 grams silver. Morgan is now directing a $2 million exploration program at Ixtaca for 2011, designed to expand the discovery and probe other, nearby targets with similar characteristics.
Morgan Poliquin has shown abilities beyond his age: he is just as comfortable managing joint venture programs with majors like BHP Billiton and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals as he is hiring locals to carry 400 pounds of drilling gear through the mountains of Mexico when unable to obtain a permit to build a road. Now he's been appointed to the board of directors for Gold Mountain, the exciting new effort from the team that built Copper Mountain (T.CUM). He can think outside of the box and perform within it, and we will be watching Almaden and Morgan for many years.