By Jorge Cirett
During the 44th week of the year (October 28th to November 3rd, 2019), at least 33 press releases were forwarde by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, The Morena party reassigned the Mining Fund, taking it away from its intended purpose of helping and developing mining communities. All big organizations related to mining in Mexico presented a petition to the president to rebuke the channelling of the Mining Fund away from its intended goal of helping mining communities. The governors of Sonora, Durango, Zacatecas and Guerrero sent a letter to the president of Mexico asking not to affect the communities by withdrawing the Mining Fund. On other matters, the AIMMGM informed mining companies expect to invest more than US$26 billion in six years. The illegal blockade on the Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas was lifted, with negotiations to continue shortly. The El Castillo mine access in Durango was illegally blocked for a few days, and then released, while negotiations proceed with community involved. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Magna Gold informed it has two projects in the state, Mercedes near Yecora and San Judas, near Trincheras. In Chihuahua, Wealth Minerals negotiated surface access to its Valsequillo project. In Durango, Gainey Capital halted drilling activities while discussions with the local indigenous groups proceed. ON MINING, Gold Resource, Consolidated Zinc, McEwen Mining, Santacruz Silver, Premier Gold, Torex Gold, Americas Silver and sierra Metals released third quarter 2019 production results. Telson Mining is to re-commence mining at Campo Morado in Guerrero. ON FINANCING, Goldplay Exploration filed an amended and restated condensed interim consolidated financial statement. Oroco Resource informed the exercising of warrants for $720 K. Starcore Interantional has resumed trading on the OTC Pink market. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Pan American Silver released impressive results from 14,300 m of drilling at its La Colorada mine in Zacatecas. Mexican Gold Corp updated on its current drilling program at Las Minas, Veracruz. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Telson Mining is to re-start mining at Campo Morado, in Guerrero, under a notice of default and demand for payment by Nyrstar. Prime Mining signed a public relations contract with Brisco Capital Partners. Oceanus is using now a service for virtual tours on remote locations. Santacruz and Peñoles extended a lease agreement on the Zimapan mine in Hidalgo. Almaden Minerals was informed by SEMARNAT that the permitting process for its Ixtaca mine in Puebla is suspended until a judicial resolution is reached (the head of the institution is openly against open pit mining). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Alamos Gold reunited all the students under its scholarship program in three venues, Matarachi, Sahuaripa and Hermosillo.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Last week the Morena party majority reassigned the Mining Fund (Fondo para el Desarrollo Regional Sustentable de Estados y Municipios Mineros) to education spending. The fund is gathered on a 7% (increased to 7.5% in gold and silver) royalties on extracted minerals implemented in 2014 to aid with the infrastructure, health, education and sustainability of mining communities.
- The Asociación de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México (AIMMGM) informed that mining companies expect to invest more than US$26 billion in six years. If such investments come to be realized, 50 thousand direct jobs and 274 thousand indirect jobs could be generated, and mining companies would pay an additional 23,500 million in taxes. Just last year the industry paid 46,159 million pesos on income tax (Impuesto sobre la renta, ISR).
- On October 26th, the Zacatecas governor Alejandro Tello informed that security forces are inviting the group that (illegally) blocks the entrance to the Peñasquito mine to leave the site. The governor also informed that a number of the blockers might be pursued judicially, some by the state and some by the federal government. He stated that he’s is been in contact with the sub secretary of the interior (Subsecretario de Gobernación), with whom also the company executives, communal farmers (ejidatarios) and the state government have been in dialogue rounds.
- The Cámara Minera de México (CAMIMEX), the Grupo de Minería de la Cámara de Comercio de Canadá, the Asociación de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas y Geológos de México, the organization in mining Mujeres WIM de México and the Colegio de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México received with great worry de Senate decision to approve an unjust redistribution of the Mining Fund (Fondo Minero), braking the spirit on which the fund was created to benefit mining communities. The priority for the sector is that the resources reach the communities and municipalities where they were generated, contributing with independent actions by mining companies to the social welfare and community development in areas away from urban centers, aiding to reach greater life quality, development and wellbeing. Miners are appalled by the Congress decision, same that dismissed petitions by state governors, municipality presidents, from the industry and mining communities to guarantee the return of funds to these localities. A strong and respectful call is made to the authorities to reconsider the distribution methodology for the resources and operational rules of the fund, where it should be clearly established that these funds are to be funnelled exclusively to mining communities, municipalities and states. The mining industry refresh its compromise to continue to be an agent of change, a block that forwards sustainability practices and is and active player that contributes to a greater well-being for thousands of miner families and millions of Mexicans. We consider ourselves as the best federal government ally to achieve the more valuable social objectives sought by new government project. The Camara Minera de Mexico is the first camera of industries formed in the country, representing the interests of the mining-metallurgical industry in the country.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. informed on an illegal blockade at its El Castillo mine in Durango. The Company has a legal and binding agreement in place with Atotonilco ejido that was signed and recognized by both the Atotonilco ejido and the Mexican government in 2012 and runs through 2022. The blockade lifting was announced on October 30, with an agreement with the ejido pending to be ratified on November 11.
- Newmont Goldcorp confirmed that free access to its Peñasquito installations in Zacatecas is complete as of last Sunday (Oct. 27). Access to the mine had been blocked by a small group of communal agriculture workers (ejidatarios) and truckdrivers. The company is to restart the social investment programmes in the next few days, and expects to initiate on November 19 the new program “Juntos Dejamos Legado”, which aims to support schools and sport activities in 25 nearby communities. The ending of the blockade was achieved with government executives having dialog with the blockers, with the presence of the national guard (Guardia Nacional) and the state police (Policía Estatal Preventiva), stressing that further negotiations were to proceed only without the blockade in place.
- The governors of Sonora, Claudia Pavlovich; Zacatecas, Alejandro Tello; Durango, José Rosas, and Guerrero, Héctor Astudillo, sent a letter to the president of México asking not to affect the communities by withdrawing the mining fund.
- Gainey Capital Corp. temporarily halted all drilling activities at its Las Margaritas property in Durango, following discussions with the local indigenous groups (Las Margaritas, Durango).
- Magna Gold Corp. informed it has two projects in Sonora. The flagship 1,239 ha Mercedes project in Yecora, and the recently acquired San Judas project in Trincheras.
- Wealth Minerals Ltd. successfully negotiated surface access rights to its Valsequillo property in Chihuahua. The company has an option to acquire 100% interest in the 2,840 ha property. Past artisanal mining activity concentrated on a number of epithermal, Zn-Pb-Cu-Ag veins, stockworks and silicified zones concentrated within two NW trending corridors. Rock sample results of up to 2.68 gpt Au, 629 gpt Ag, 9.5% Cu, 16.5% Pb, 6.4% Zn have been obtained.
- Telson Mining Corp. announced the recommence of mining operations at its Campo Morado mine in Guerrero. This is the result of improved relations with the local community and a better zinc price. The company anticipates initiating full mining activities and processing operations near the beginning of December 2019.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. informed on an illegal blockade at its El Castillo mine in Durango. The Company has a legal and binding agreement in place with Atotonilco ejido that was signed and recognized by both the Atotonilco ejido and the Mexican government in 2012 and runs through 2022.
- Gold Resource Corp. reported gold production for the third quarter of 2019, including figures from its Oaxaca Mining Unit. The Arista mine milled 163.3 K tonnes @ 1.76 gpt Au, 85 gpt Ag, 0.39% Cu, 1.9% Pb, 4.7% Zn; the Aguila open pit mine milled 3.6 K tonnes @ 1.49 gpt Au, 58 gpt Ag; the Mirador mine milled 11.7 K tonnes @ 0.76 gpt Au, 197 gpt Ag. In total, 178.6 K tonnes were milled at a rate of 2,007 tonnes per day, to produce 7,462 Oz Au, 473.8 K Oz Ag, 492 tonnes Cu, 2,459 tonnes Pb, 6,057 tonnes Zn. Total cash cost after by-product credits was $197 per AuEq ounce and total all-in sustaining cost was $520 per AuEq ounce for the period.
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. released its third quarter 2019 activities report. The acquisition of the Plomosas mine in Chihuahua was completed, getting the remaining 10% ownership in exchange for a 1% NSR royalty. During the quarter 7,511 tonnes were mined @ 13.5% Zn, 8.2% Pb, and 9,120 tonnes were processed @ 12.5% Zn, 7.9% Pb.
- McEwen Mining Inc. presented its third quarter 2019 report, including activities at its El Gallo mine in Mexico. During the third quarter the mine produced 3,057 Oz AuEq from residual leaching, at cash cost $1,153 and $1,177 AISC per Oz AuEq. Work on the Fenix Project feasibility study and permitting is progressing.
- Pan American Silver Corp. released results from 14,300 m of drilling during the third quarter 2019 on its La Colorada mine in Zacatecas (see Resources and Development section) .
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. reported its third quarter 2019 production. Consolidated production was 956.5 K Oz AgEq. At Zimapan, in Hidalgo, 82.2 K tonnes were processed @ 75 gpt Ag, 0.59% Pb, 2.28% Zn, 0.48% Cu to produce 151.5 K Oz Ag (75% recovery), 463 tonnes Pb, 1,492 tonnes Zn, 316 tonnes Cu. At Veta Grande, in Zacatecas, 44 K tonnes were processed @ 99 gpt Ag, 0.24 gpt Au, 1.45% Pb, 2.11% Zn to produce 62.4 K Oz Ag (45% recovery), 139 Oz Au, 370 tonnes Pb, 519 tonnes Zn. At Rosario, in San Luis Potosi, 22 K tonnes were processed @ 65 gpt Ag, 0.25 gpt Au, 0.40% Pb, 2.04% Zn to produce 43 K Oz Ag (93% recovery).
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. announced Q3 2019 production results, including 14,481 Oz Au and 37.5 K Oz Ag from its Mexican operations at Mercedes, in Sonora.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. reported third quarter 2019 results. At its El Limon-Guajes mine in Guerrero, the company produced 138,145 Oz Au, mine production averaged 144,989 tonnes per day (tpd), mine ore production averaged 15,391 tpd @ 3.19 gpt Au, with a plant throughput of 12,380 tpd @ 4.11 gpt Au, recovering 89% Au at cash cost $561 and AISC of $675.
- Americas Gold and Silver Corp. released third quarter 2019 production results, including figures from its Cosalá operations in Sinaloa. At the site 151.2 K tonnes were milled to produce 128.8 K Oz Ag, 10.1 M Lb Zn, 3.7 M Lb Pb (or 1 M Oz AgEq), at cash cost -$10.82 per Oz Ag, and an AISC of -$1.49 per Oz Ag after sub-product credits.
- Sierra Metals Inc. reported its Q3-2019 financial results, not including figures from its operations in Mexico. The company had $29.0 M of cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period (Bolivar, Chihuahua).
- Goldplay Exploration Ltd. filed an amended and restated condensed interim consolidated financial statement and management discussion and analysis for the six months ended June 30, 2019, adding the following disclosure “in Note 11 – Related Party Transactions; The Company issued 480,000 common shares valued at $60,000 as debt settlement with officers and a director of the Company and in Note 12 – Share Capital and Reserves; the Company issued 600,000 common shares valued at $75,000 as debt settlement including $60,000 to related parties” (San Marcial, Sinaloa).
- Oroco Resource Corp. informed that warrant holders from a unit offering completed on April 2018 have fully exercised the purchase warrants providing the company $720 K (Santo Tomás, Sinaloa).
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. announced it has resumed trading on the OTC Pink markets in USA under the symbol “SHVLF” (San Martin, Queretaro).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Pan American Silver Corp. released results (impressive) from 14,300 m of drilling during the third quarter on the La Colorada skarn discovery in Zacatecas. Drill highlights comprise 250.9 m @ 40 gpt Ag, 0.08% Cu, 2.6% Pb, 3.4% Zn (including 78.9 m @ 60 gpt Ag, 0.09% Cu, 3.9% Pb, 4.8% Zn); 72.3 m @ 37 gpt Ag, 0.16% Cu, 3.8% Pb, 6.3% Zn and 56.6 m @ 39 gpt Ag, 0.10% Cu, 3.3% Pb, 6.6% Zn; 124.8 m @ 42 gpt Ag, 0.08% Cu, 2.4% Pb, 3.1% Zn; 252.9 m @ 67 gpt Ag, 0.19% Cu, 3.8% Pb, 6.6% Zn (including 27.3 m @ 108 gpt Ag, 0.20% Cu, 8.1% Pb, 13.7% Zn and 148.6 m @ 81 gpt Ag, 0.23% Cu, 4.4% Pb, 7.7% Zn); 132.5 m @ 56 gpt Ag, 0.19% Cu, 3.8% Pb, 6.3% Zn and 139.2 m @ 54 gpt Ag, 0.15% Cu, 1.8% Pb, 5.9% Zn; 379.0 m @ 54 gpt Ag, 0.50% Cu, 2.0% Pb, 3.7% Zn (including 66.7 m @ 154 gpt Ag, 2.07% Cu, 1.0% Pb, 1.6% Zn).
- Mexican Gold Corp. updated on its current drill program at its Las Minas project in Veracruz. To date 655 m have been drilled on five holes, with three holes testing El Dorado zone, another 261 m hole tested an electromagnetic anomaly, while the hole currently being drilled is also testing a 350 m extension of the same anomaly.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Telson Mining Corp. informed that as a result of suspending operations at Campo Morado in August 2019 under force majeur conditions, Telson has been without cash flows resulting in non-payment under the loan agreement with Nyrstar Holdings Ltd. This has resulted in Nyrstar issuing a notice of default and demand for payment. Telson’s outstanding debt under this loan agreement including principal and interest is approximately US$6 M. Telson expects to be able to recommence outstanding payments to Nyrstar while exploring other financing alternatives.
- Prime Mining Corp. entered into contractual agreements for marketing, advertising, shareholder engagement and social media communications with Brisco Capital Partners Corp. for a monthly retainer for a minimum of a CDN$10 K and a maximum of CDN$50 K (Guadalupe de Los Reyes, Sinaloa).
- Oceanus Resources Corp. announced that is now live on VRIFY, a platform being used by companies to communicate with investors using virtual tours of remote mining assets, 3D models and interactive presentations (El Tigre, Sonora).
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. and Peñoles, each by mean of a subsidiary, extended the Zimapan mine lease agreement from December 31,2019 to December 31, 2020. Santacruz must make monthly payments to Peñoles based on a 4% NSR, subject to a minimum US$45 K and a maximum of US$60 K per month. The extension provides more time for the negotiation of terms of a potential acquisition of the Zimapan mine in Hidalgo.
- Almaden Minerals Ltd. was notified by SEMARNAT (Mexico’s environmental authority) that the permitting process for the Ixtaca project in Puebla has been suspended pending resolution of a mineral title lawsuit previously reported. “Under the Lawsuit, certain organisations have supported legal challenges against the Government of Mexico and the Mexican mineral title regime using the Company’s mineral claims as a basis for their challenges. The Lawsuit contends that the issuance of Almaden’s original mineral titles violated human rights and did not respect Mexico’s commitment to indigenous consultation under United Nations Instrument ILO 169…… o. In April, 2019, a Lower Court in Puebla State ruled that the Mexican mineral title system is unconstitutional and as a result these original mineral claims should be held exclusively for Almaden until such time as consultation can be completed. This Lower Court decision has now been appealed by the Mexican Congress, Senate, Secretary of Economy and Mining authorities, as well as Almaden as an affected party. The Lawsuit remains before the Courts”. SEMARNAT was informed on October 24 that the company completed the necessary steps to abandon its mineral claims in the area of the complaint in 2017.
- Bacanora Lithium is using Veolia Water Technologies Division with its HPD evaporation and crystallisation technologies to validate Bacanora Lithium’s product purity requirements at the Sonor lithium project, while removing potassium and converting it into a sub-product. Veolia engineered and designed the production process that recovers lithium carbonate and sulphate of potash from clay deposits.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Minas de Oro Nacional (Alamos Gold) reunited in Matarachi, Sahuaripa and Hermosillo (Sonora) all the 185 students currently receiving scholarships to study in Matarachi, Sahuaripa, Arivechi, Chihuahua, Cuahutémoc and San Luis Rio Colorado. The ceremony in Hermosillo was held with company and state executives, including the state governor, the Mining Director, the director of DIF, the director of the Sonora Mining Cluster, the director of the Miners Association of Sonora and the SEC sub-secretary of Basic Education.
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On the image below: Gneiss hosted quartz veinlet from a project in Oaxaca. Picture by Jorge Cirett.