By Jorge Cirett
During the 4th week of the year (January 21st to January 27th, 2019), at least 20 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, CAMIMEX expressed it is in contact with diverse actors of the public administration to consolidate the international competitivity of the mining industry. ON EXPLORATION, In Chihuahua, Radius Gold staked the 9,600 ha. Rambler project, covering a 9 km trend of epithermal mineralization. In Sinaloa, Kootenay Silver released interesting surface sample results from its Copalito project. In Durango, Orex is to perform a VTEM airborne survey on the San Luis Del Cordero property. In Hidalgo, Prospero Silver initiated drilling at the Pachuca SE project, with funding by Fortuna Silver. ON MINING, Pan American, Argonaut, Gold Resource, Fresnillo, Sierra Metals and Americas Silver presented Q4 and full year 2018 production results (by the way, anyone has heard from Frisco on this regard?). Endeavour presented its 2019 production guidance. ON FINANCING, Premier Gold signed a credit agreement with Investec Bank as administrative agent for the lenders for a US$50 M credit facility. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Endeavour updated its reserve and resource base, for a consolidated grand total of 132 M Oz Ag, 1.042 M Oz Au. Premier Gold presented high-grade intercepts from drilling at Mercedes, Sonora, where over 40,000 m of drilling were completed in 2018. Leagold is to produce 200-220 K Oz Au in 2019 at Los Filos, Guerrero. Azure Minerals presented a favorable scoping study for its Oposura project in Sonora. Impact Silver is defining extensions on veins at its Zacualpan property in Estado de Mexico. Excellon released high-grade results from surface exploration at its Platosa mine in Durango. Capstone filed on Sedar a technical report for Cozamin, Zacatecas. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Prospero Silver announced the signature of the option agreement with Fortuna Silver on the Pachuca SE project.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- CAMIMEX (Cámara Minera de México), in a response to El Financiero, expressed that any modification to the mining regulations has to take into account the wellbeing of the communities and its environment. The organization, of which leading companies like Peñoles, Grupo México and Minera Frisco are members, considers mining is one of the most supervised sectors in the country, with a modern and robust regulatory frame, following international standards, although areas of opportunity can always be identified. “We have approached diverse authorities on the public administration and found openness to solve any pending issues and consolidate the international competitivity that benefits the country development”.
- Orex Minerals Inc. contracted Geotech Ltd. To perform a VTEM (Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetic) airborne survey over its San Luis del Cordero project in Durango. Old mine workings and mineralized showings wrap around a Tertiary quartz-feldspar-porphyry intrusive. The helicopter-borne survey, with accompanying horizontal gradiometer and radiometric surveys, is to identify discrete conductive anomalies, as well as mapping lateral and vertical variations in resistivity. The airborne survey will be conducted over a grid at 100 m line-spacing for approximately 275 line-km, with measurements every 2-3 m along survey lines.
- Prospero Silver Corp. has started phase 2 drilling at its Pachuca Se project in Hidalgo. Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. has an option to acquire up to a 70% interest in the 6,699 hectares project (24 km SE from Pachuca) by spending a total of US$8 M and completing a preliminary economic assessment (PEA), spending more than US$1 M in the first year. A six-hole, 4,200 m program started to test a number of potential drill targets. In a Fortuna funded program in early 2018, 1,800 m of drilling tested three distinct targets, intercepting what is interpreted to be the upper parts of a mineralized epithermal system.
- Radius Gold Inc. staked a 9,600 ha property called the Rambler project, in Chihuahua, some 20 km NW from Radius’s Amalia project. Regional prospecting discovered epithermal mineralization in veins, vein breccias and disseminated zones over a 9 km trend, where samples with up to 16.5 gpt Au, 2,030 gpt Ag, 3.8% Cu, 13.9% Zn, 3.4% Pb were collected. Saucito is the main target area, where a 500 x 70 m stockwork returned an average of 177 gpt Ag on 31 samples. Other target areas with interesting rock chip sample results include La Machomera (up to 7.3 gpt Au, 469 gpt Ag), La India (up to 10.3 gpt Au, 16 gpt Ag), El Gringo (4.8 gpt Au, 3.8% Cu).
- Kootenay Silver Inc. released results from surface sampling and mapping at the Copalito Ag-Au project in Sinaloa, same that covers an epithermal system with numerous veins 0.5-15 m in width and up to 2 km in strike length. Sampling Highlights include 7.2 Gpt Au, 3,770 gpt Ag at the 5 Señores and Agua veins respectively; 8.2 gpt Au, 583 gpt Ag across 1.1 m on the 5 Señores vein; 401 gpt Ag across 5.3 m on 5 Señores vein; 532 gpt Ag over 3.0 m and 306 gpt Ag over 4.9 m across the Agua vein; 17.4% Zn, 9.9% Pb, 0.52 gpt Au, 76 gpt Ag on a grab sample at Pillar vein and 5.1%, 1.6% and 1.5 Cu along the Cobriza vein. Of 117 rock samples collected, 29 returned silver grades over 90 gpt, including 11 over 300 gpt and 6 over 500 gpt.
- Pan American Silver Corp. announced preliminary operating results for the fourth quarter and full year 2018, including information from its operations in Mexico. At La Colorada in Zacatecas, 7.6 M Oz Ag, 4,400 Oz Au were produced during the year, at cash cost $2.02 per Ag Oz, whereas at Dolores in Chihuahua, 4.1 M Oz Ag and 136,600 Oz Au were produced at cash cost ($1.87) per Ag Oz. Pan American is planning to sustain 2,000 tonnes per day (tpd) throughput at La Colorada during 2019, and continue to explore and define the potential of the “significant skarn deposit discovered in 2018”. At Dolores the company plans to ramp-up underground production rates to 1,500 tpd and sustain the 20 K tpd throughput rate to the heap leach from the pit.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. informed on Q4 production and yearly results for 2018, including numbers from its Mexican operations. At El Castillo Complex, in Durango, 37,977 GEOs (Gold equivalent ounces) were produced during the quarter, 18,984 from El Castillo mine and 18,993 from the San Agustin mine. At La Colorada, in Sonora, 13,681 Oz Au were produced during the same period. For the year, El Castillo Complex produced 117,126 GEOs and La Colorada 47,991 GEOs. Argonaut plans to invest $50-$60 M in capital expenditures during 2019, with $15 M allocated to the expansion of crushing and leaching facilities at San Agustin to increase the rate of production from 20K tpd to 30 K tpd.
- Gold Resource Corp. reported 2018 year-end and fourth quarter production results from their El Aguila mining operations in Oaxaca. During the year Gold Resource produced 26,838 Oz Au, 1.67 M Oz Ag, 1,652 tonnes Cu, 7,280 tonnes Pb and 19,808 tonnes Zn. During the fourth quarter 7,974 Oz Au and 330.6 K Oz Ag were produced.
- Fresnillo PLC. released 4Q and full year 2018 results, with a consolidated production of 61.8 M Oz Ag and 923 K Oz Au for the year and 15.5 M Oz Ag, 232 K Oz Au for the quarter. Lead (53,181 tonnes) and Zinc (88,520 tonnes) production amounted to 19.9 M Oz AgEq. “The cumulative drilling for the year at our operating mines and exploration projects was 579,000 and 346,000 metres respectively. Resources and reserves (in the case of the operating mines) are presently in audit by SRK and the results of which will be disclosed in the first quarter of 2019 with our Preliminary results. Resources were increased at the Guanajuato and San Juan projects, while mapping identified new targets at the Fresnillo and Herradura districts, and a geophysical survey detected areas for follow up in the San Julián district. Further to this, and for the first time in the Company’s history, drilling began in Chile. Exploration teams are working out of the Hermosillo, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Toluca, Lima-Peru and Santiago de Chile offices in selected areas of favorable silver-gold belts in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina”. (Note from editor: the mining community is waiting for Frisco to produce reports like this one).
- Endeavour Silver Corp. announced its consolidated silver and gold production guidance for 2019, to be 4.4-5.2 M Oz Ag, 46.2-52.2 K Oz Au, or 8.1-9.4 M Oz AgEq. “Cash costs, net of gold by-product credits, are expected to be $8.50-$9.50 per oz of silver produced in 2019. Consolidated cash costs on a co-product basis are anticipated to be $11.50-$12.50 per oz silver and $900-$1,000 per oz gold”. The final dumps and tailings permit at Terronera is needed to make a development decision. The company plans to drill 24,500 m during 2019 in Guanaceví, Bolañitos, El Cubo, El Compas, Terronera, Parral and Guadalupe y Calvo.
- Sierra Metals Inc. Disclosed Q4 and full year 2018 results, including figures from its Mexican operations. The Bolivar mine in Chihuahua processed (at 2,948 tonnes per day, or tpd) in the year 1 M tonnes of ore @ 0.95% Cu, 18 gpt Ag, 0.17 gpt Au, with recoveries of 79.9% Cu, 77.1% Ag, 68.5% Au, to produce 17.23 M Lb Cu, 452 K Oz Ag, 3,968 Oz Au. For the quarter, 272.6 K tonnes were processed (3,116 tpd) @ 0.94% Cu, 15 gpt Ag, 0.15 gpt Au, to produce 4.23 M Lb Cu, 128 K Oz Ag, 1,163 Oz Au. At Cusi, also in Chihuahua, 186.9 K tonnes were processed (534 tpd) during the year at a grade of 140 gpt Ag, 0.16 gpt Au, 0.36% Pb, 0.40% Zn, recovering 83.1% Ag, 39.1% Au, 79.9% Pb, 4.3% Zn, to produce 700 K Oz Ag, 372 Oz Au, 1.19 M Lb Pb, 937 K Lb Zn. During the last quarter Cusi processed 58.3 K tonnes (666 tpd) @ 111 gpt Ag, 0.16 gpt Au, 0.41% Pb, 0.49% Zn, to produce 171 K Oz Ag, 124 Oz Au, 421 K Lb Pb, no Zn.
- Americas Silver Corp. announced production and operating results for 2018, including figures from its Mexican operations. At Cosalá, in Sinaloa, 544.5 K tonnes were milled @ 47 gpt Ag, to produce 448.1 K Oz Ag, 34.22 M Lb Pb, 12.86 M Lb Zn, or 4.16 M Oz AgEq at cash cost ($37.95) and AISC ($19.69).
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. Announced the signing of a definitive credit agreement with Investec Bank PLC, as administrative agent for the lenders of a US$50 M secured term credit facility. Premier also announced financing arrangements with OMF Fund II SO Ltd. and Orion Mine Finance Fund II LP for aggregate gross proceeds of US$18.2 M. (Mercedes, Sonora).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Endeavour Silver Corp. updated its reserve and resource base for its mines and projects for 2018. Consolidated reserves and resources, including inferred resources for its seven units comprise 132 M Oz Ag and 1.042 M Oz Au, as displayed on the following table:
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. provided an update on its exploration programs, including information from its Mexican operations. At Mercedes in Sonora, positive exploration results include 18.3 m @ 38.3 gpt Au, 26 gpt Ag on the Aida vein, and 22.0 m @ 36.6 gpt Au, 171 gpt Ag at Rey de Oro. During the past year 280 brownfield and greenfield holes were completed representing 40,720 m of drilling.
- Leagold Mining Corp. announced its intention to produce 200 K to 220 K Oz Au during 2019, at an AISC of $925 to $925-975 at Los Filos, in Guerrero. The proven and probable reserves at the property stand at 111.33 M tonnes @ 1.22 gpt Au, containing 4.363 M Oz Au, and 114 K Oz Au on the leach pad inventory.
- Azure Minerals Ltd. Presented its quarterly report for the period ended on December 2018. The company highlighted the Scoping Study for the Oposura project in Sonora, with an EBITDA of A$237 M, pre-tax NPV of A$112 M, pre-tax IRR of 76%, average life of mine cash cost US$0.42 per Zn Lb and a pre-production CAPEX of A$69.9 M. At the Alacrán project in Sonora, Teck completed its Phase 2 drilling program comprising 10.537 m in 21 holes, with focus on testing porphyry copper potential at Cerro Alacrán, with assays pending. At Oso Negro, also in Sonora, sampling returned more high-grade mineralization, with the best sample returning 15.5 gpt Au, 1,935 gpt Ag, 5.9% Zn, 4.6% Pb. At Sara Alicia, also in Sonora, the company has been showing the property to potential partners or buyers.
- Impact Silver Corp. hired a consultant to define extensions to the vein systems on its Zacaualpan property in Estado de Mexico. Work to date has defined on strike extensions to the San Ramon silver vein system through geological work and soil sampling, and better characterizing the potential for bulk mineable ore in the Santa Teresa area.
- Excellon Resources Inc. released high-grade results from ongoing surface exploration at its Platosa mine in Durango. Highlighted intervals comprise 0.9 m @ 283 gpt Ag, 9.8% Pb, 0.3% Zn; 5.6 m @ 383 gpt Ag, 8.0% Pb, 0.2% Zn; 2.5 m @ 406 gpt Ag, 3.7% Pb, 0.2% Zn; 0.6 m @ 2,060 gpt Ag, 7.8% Pb, 9.1% Zn; 5.0 m @ 0.28 gpt Au, 968 gpt Ag, 9.4% Pb, 20.2% Zn; 4.8 m @ 1,127 gpt Ag, 8.4% Pb, 10.5% Zn.
- Capstone Mining Corp. filed on SEDAR a NI-43-101 compliant report titled “NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Cozamin Mine, Zacatecas, Mexico”.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Prospero Silver Corp. announced the signature of the previously disclosed option agreement with Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. on the Pachuca SE project. “On December 10, 2018 Prospero announced that Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (“Fortuna”) exercised its right to be granted an option to acquire up to a 70-per-cent interest in the Pachuca Southeast project located close to the historic mining city of Pachuca in Hidalgo state, Mexico, by spending a total of $8-million (U.S.) in qualifying expenditures and completing a preliminary economic assessment, with a minimum spend of $1-million in the first year” (Pachuca SE, Hidalgo).
Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.
On the image below, monzonite porphyry dike intrusive contact with andesitic tuff -note the flow banding- on a project in Jalisco. Picture by Jorge Cirett.