By Jorge Cirett
During the 4th week of the year (January 22nd to January 28th, 2018), at least 20 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, with two reporting their Q4 and full year 2017 results. ON MEXICO ISSUES, no relevant news. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Minaurum released drill results from its Alamos silver project, including one high-grade intercept over 8 m with grades as those mined in the past; Aztec Minerals is awaiting results from five drill holes at its Cervantes property; Silvercrest Metals presented an annual review on work done at its Las Chispas project. In Chihuahua, Sable Resources announced its intention to drill the Margarita project; Mammoth Resources released good gold results from its first two holes on the Tenoriba project. In Hidalgo, Prospero Silver and Fortuna Silver are to drill the Pachuca SE project. ON MINING, Two companies, Excellon and Gold Resource presented Q4 and annual production results for 2017. Endeavour issued production and cost guidance for 2018. ON FINANCING, Torex Gold filed a short form base shelf prospectus with the Securities Commissions to make offerings of up to $500 M of shares, debt securities, subscription receipts and units. First Majestic announced the offering of US$150 M of unsecured convertible senior notes due 2023. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Mexican Gold released drill results that increase mineralization extent on the dike zone at its Las Minas project in Veracruz. Kootenay Silver released drill results on La Cigarra project in Chihuahua, with favorable results on La Borracha zone. Santacruz Silver initiated drilling at Veta Grande in Zacatecas. Bacanora Minerals filed the FS on its Sonora Lithium project in Sonora. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Leagold (Los Filos, Guerrero) intends to acquire Briogold, with operations In Brazil. Sonoro Metals optioned the Cerro Caliche project in Sonora. Orex Minerals optioned the San Luis del Cordero project in Durango, from Exploraciones del Altiplano.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Minaurum Gold Inc. released results from its on-going drill program at its Alamos silver project in Sonora. The first hole ever drilled in the Europa-Guadalupe vein system intersected 8.25 m (core length) @ 1,760 g/t Ag (57 opt), 1.6% Cu, 1.5% Pb, 2.6% Zn. Other results comprise 16.75 m @ 0.13% Cu; 0.5 m @ 0.92% Cu, 0.1% Pb, 0.18% Zn; 1.2 m @ 541 g/t Ag, 0.28% Cu, 0.44% Pb, 0.88% Zn; 3.05 m @ 0.19% Cu; 0.35 m @ 185 g/t Ag, 1.05% Cu, 2.37% Pb, 1.44% Zn; 9.60 m @ 88 g/t Ag, 0.24% Cu, 0.37% Pb, 0.33% Zn (including 2.65 m @ 147 g/t Ag, 0.25% Cu, 0.21% Pb, 0.28% Zn).
- Sable Resources Ltd. announced its intention to conduct a two-phase drill program on the 1.7 km long structure at its Margarita project in Chihuahua. Twenty nine out of forty four surface samples collected returned over 100 g/t Ag, peaking at 909 g/t Ag, with high anomalies in gold, lead, zinc, arsenic and antimony. The 125 has property is surrounded by Sunshine’s Los Gatos project, same that hosts a 178 M AgEq Oz resource (which is under development). The initial drill program will consist of a two-phase, 11 diamond drill hole program totaling 4,025 m to test the vein structures at depths between 200 and 400 m. Considering the silica textures on the veins, the company believes they are at the upper levels of an epithermal system.
- Aztec Minerals Corp. announced it expects to receive the assays for the first five holes drilled at the Cervantes Au-Cu porphyry property in Sonora. These five holes were drilled in December, and part of the 3,000 m, 14 to 17 holes, phase 1 drill program that is currently underway.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. released results from the first two holes drilled by the company at its Tenoriba project in Chihuahua. The El Moreno area is 1.4 km west from previously drilled holes, with two drill holes completed of three planned. Results comprise (core length intervals) 30.0 m @ 0.77 g/t Au (including 5.9 m @ 3.41 g/t Au); 80.0 m @ 0.17 g/t Au (including (9.0 m @ 0.51 g/t Au; 15.5 m @ 0.35 g/t Au). The presence of a feldspar porphyry moderately to weakly silicified and argillitized, which is locally strongly silicified and bearing a strong pyrite (up to 15%) and tourmaline (up to 10%) content in one hole is regarded as an indication of a good high sulfidation system, as well as the identification of dickite, kaolinite and illite in the other hole.
- Prospero Silver Corp. has begun drilling at its Pachuca SE project in Hidalgo. The drilling is to be conducted under the terms of a strategic investment with Fortuna Silver Mines Ltd. A three to four drill hole, 1,800 m program is planned to test two targets in the 7,250 has land package. Epithermal style argillic alteration is associated with anomalous Au-Ag-Zn geochemistry into an andesitic and felsic volcanic pile. The first hole is to test an actively mined clay pit on a structurally controlled illite alteration zone.
- Silvercrest Metals Inc. presented a summary of 2017 exploration results at its Las Chispas property in Sonora. During 2017 the company drilled 32,822 m in 125 holes, bringing the total to 41,418 m in 157 holes. To date nine of nineteen epithermal veins have been drilled. The most remarkable is the Babicanora vein, with an estimated width of 3.0 to 3.5 m, a high grade footprint of over 1.0 km and a precious metal zone of 125 to 175 m high, with the vein remaining open along strike and to depth. The best hole in this vein intersected 3.1 m @ 40.4 g/t Au, 5,375 g/t Ag. Other veins with high grade intercepts include the Babicanora Footwall, La Blanquita, Las Chispas, Granaditas, Amethyst and Tajo Chico. Initial metallurgical test have indicated recoveries of 98.9% Au and 86.6% Ag. Securing land access has included the purchase of a 2,500 has. ranch and 20 year lease contracts. For 2018 the company is planning to release a maiden resource estimate on the first quarter, with ore from the Babicanora, Babicanora FW, Giovanni, Las Chispas and William Tell veins, and from the old dumps. Further drilling will continue to focus on the 3.2 km long Babicanora vein, extending to the SE and to depth; other areas of drilling will include the Amethyst, Babi Sur, La Victoria and Las Chispas vein extensions. During the first half of 2018 Silvercrest plans to drill an additional 10,000 to 15,000 m, focusing on a planned updated resource and completed PEA in the second half of the year.
- Excellon Resources Inc. announced fourth quarter and annual 2017 production results from its Platosa mine in Durango. During the quarter 16,114 tonnes were mined and 17,978 tonnes were milled @ 424 g/t Ag, 3.81% Pb, 5.81% Zn, recovering 90.3% Ag, 80.0% Pb, 82.2% Zn to produce 223.3 K Oz Ag, 1.2 M Lb Pb, 1.9 M Lb Zn. During the year 57,165 tonnes were mined and 63,742 tonnes were milled @ 393 g/t Ag, 3.75% Pb, 5.3% Zn, recovering 89.3% Ag, 80.9% Pb, 81.4% Zn to produce 718.5 K Oz Ag, 4.24 M Lb Pb, 6.06 M Lb Zn. The company has removed a major bottleneck by improving dry-mine conditions and is now working to achieve a 300 tonnes per day (tpd) production rate. A second tailings management facility has been commissioned in Miguel Auza, Zacatecas, with 19 years of capacity at the planned 300 tpd rate.
- Gold Resource Corp. released Q4 and annual 2017 results for its Oaxaca mining unit (El Aguila, Arista mines). During the fourth quarter 9,209 Oz Au and 555.5 K Oz Ag were produced, while on a yearly basis 28,117 Oz Au, 1.77 M Oz Ag, 1,141 tonnes Cu, 5,365 tonnes Pb, 16,301 tonnes Zn. The company expects to begin first stoping operations on the Switchback mine (500 m from the Arista mine) on the first quarter of 2018.
- Endeavour Silver Corp. issued the 2018 production and cost guidance for its three mines in Mexico. Cash cost net of Au by-product credits are expected to be $6.00-$7.00 per Oz Ag, while consolidated cash costs on a co-product basis are anticipated to be $10.00 – $11.00 per Oz Ag and $750-$800 per Oz Au. All-in sustaining costs (AISC) net of gold by-product credits is estimated to be $15.00-$16.00 per Ag Oz. Endeavour plans to invest $48.4 M on capital projects, including $7.3 M in the construction of the El Compas mine in Zacatecas. The company plans to drill 44,000 m and spend $11.1 M on brownfield and greenfield exploration.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. announced the filing of a final short form base shelf prospectus with the Securities Commissions (except Québec). The base shelf prospectus will allow Torex to make offerings of up to $500 M of shares, debt securities, subscription receipts and units. The company filed this base shelf prospectus to maintain financial flexibility but has no immediate intentions to undertake an offering.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. announced the offering of US$150 M aggregate principal amount of unsecured convertible senior notes due 2023 pursuant to private placement exemptions. First Majestic “intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund certain costs and expenses associated with the recently announced acquisition of Primero Mining Corp. and ….. The notes will bear cash interest semi-annually at a rate of 1.875% per annum. The initial conversion rate for the Notes will be 104.3297 common shares (“shares”) per U$1,000 principal amount of Notes…”
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Mexican Gold Corp. announced positive drill results extending the dike mineralized zone at its Las Minas property in Veracruz. Drilling to date has outlined mineralization (locally high-grade) along strike for 360 m on the west contact and for 140 m on the east contact, remaining open along strike. Significant core length results comprise 32.3 m @ 0.91 g/t Au, 0.85% Cu (including 4.3 m @ 3.55 g/t Au, 3.74% Cu); 10.0 m @ 0.60 g/t Au, 0.66% Cu (including 4.0 m @ 1.18 g/t Au, 1.3% Cu); 6.0 m @ 0.44 g/t Au, 0.71% Cu; 10.2 m @ 1.90 g/t Au, 1.61% Cu; 18.0 m @ 3.91 g/t Au, 2.36% Cu; 36.0 m @ 2.86 g/t Au, 1.16% Cu; 18.0 m @ 1.57 g/t Au, 0.32% Cu; 10.0 m @ 2.68 g/t Au, 0.79% Cu (including 4.0 m @ 5.87 g/t Au, 1.21% Cu); 10 m @ 0.83 g/t Au, 0.25% Cu; 4.0 m @ 3.48 g/t Au, 0.05% Cu.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. released the results of the remaining nine core holes of the 2017 drill program at La Cigarra, in Chihuahua. Holes at La Navidad and Las Venadas intersected wide low grade intercepts, as 46 m @ 12 g/t Ag (including 16 m @ 20 g/t Ag); 73 m @ 14 g/t Ag (including 18.5 m @ 21 g/t Ag); 29 m @ 18 g/t Ag. At La Borracha higher grade intercept’s comprise 15 m @ 42 g/t Ag; 31 m @ 46 g/t Ag (including 8 m @ 107 g/t Ag). La Borracha zone has seen limited amounts of drilling is about 500 m from the current resource and can be traced for at least 1,100 m.
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. reported that Carrizal Mining S.A. de C.V. has initiated a 6,000 m drilling campaign at the Veta Grande project in Zacatecas. The 15 hole campaign is to focus on the Veta Grande vein at depth below the current level being mined, expecting to intersect the parallel La Flor, San Jose and Armados veins.
- Bacanora Minerals Ltd. filed on SEDAR the feasibility study (FS) for the Sonora lithium project in Sonora. The study confirms the positive economics of a 35,000 tonnes per annum battery grade Li2CO3 (lithium carbonate) operation, estimating a pre-tax net present value (NPV) of US$1.253 billion at an 8% discount rate and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 26.1%, and life of mine (LOM) of 19 years at operating costs of US$3,910/t of lithium carbonate, estimated on a flat US$11,000/t price over LOM. Measured resources amount to 103 Mt @ 3,480 ppm Li, indicated resources to 188 Mt @ 3,120 ppm Li and 268 Mt @ 2,650 ppm Li as indicated resources.
- Great Panther Silver Ltd. updated its mineral resource estimate for the Guanajuato mine Complex in Guanajuato. The new estimate covers the operating San Ignacio and Guanajuato mines, comprising 1.21 M tonnes @ 156 g/t Ag, 2.74 g/t Au as measured and indicated resources hosting 6.16 M Oz Ag, 107,070 Oz Au; and 732.3 K tonnes @ 131 g/t Ag, 2.35 g/t Au as inferred resources hosting 3.09 M Oz Ag, 55,343 Oz Au.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Leagold Mining Corp. announced its intention to make an offer to acquire all shares of Brio Gold Inc. on or before February 28, 2018. “The all-stock offer results in Brio shareholders owning approximately 42% of the combined company. The combined operations are expected to produce approximately 450,000 ounces in 2018”. This combination reduces overall business risk for Leagold by having four operating mines in Mexico and Brazil (Los Filos-Bermejal, Guerrero).
- Sonoro Metals Corp. entered into an option agreement with a resident of Hermosillo to acquire 100% interest in the Cerro Caliche group of properties in Sonora. Cerro Caliche consists of ten concessions over 900 has, and has 10,118 m in 101 holes of previous drilling by Cambior Gold Corp. and Corex Gold Corp. Total consideration for the property is US$2.98 M payable in escalating cash installments over 72 months, with the initial first year installment of US$127 K having been completed. In addition Sonoro has paid US$23 K of outstanding mining duties. The vendor is to retain a 2% NSR, with Sonoro having an option to purchase the NSR at any time for US$1 M for each percent point.
- Orex Minerals Inc. entered into an option agreement with Exploraciones del Altiplano S.A. de C.V. to acquire a 100% interest in the San Luis del Cordero project in Durango. Orex is required to make the following annual cash and share payments to Altiplano. On signing, issue 100 K Orex shares and pay US$100 K; on the first anniversary, issue 200 K shares and pay US$150 K; on the second anniversary, issue 300 K shares and pay US$200 K; on the third anniversary, issue 400 K shares and pay US$550 K; on the fourth anniversary, pay $US1.5 M (of which 30% can be issued in Orex shares). Orex also will have to satisfy work commitments of US$400 K and US$600 K in years 1 and 2. The property extends over 2,825 has, where old mine workings and mineralized showings wrap around a quartz-feldspar porphyry intrusive. Approximately 16,400 m were drilled in 62 holes from year 2000 to year 2016.
Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.
On the picture below, banded epithermal quartz vein from the famous El Oro mining district in Estado de Mexico. Photo by Jorge Cirett.