Quartz blade texture in an epithermal vein
By Miguel A Heredia
During the forty-seven week of the year (November 18th to November 24th, 2019), at least 28 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, with seven commenting on Mexican issues, five announcing financial rounds, five discussing issues on social responsibility, four reporting on resources and development of their projects, three communicating production and financial results, three informing on exploration results, and one disclosing deals and corporate issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, The president of México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, hinted restructuring mining regulations. The director of the Mining Fund of the Secretariat of Economy approved MXP $103.6M to be distributed in seven states. The Under Secretariat of Mining, Francisco Quiroga announced that the Mining Fund will continue being delivered to the Municipalities where it is generated, as it was established in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF). Newmont Goldcorp and Ejidatarios signed an agreement to solve conflict in Peñasquito. The director of The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Morelos spoke in favor of the construction of a social and cultural development without demerit of mining operations at the Esperanza deposit (Cerro Jumil). The Mexican Government begun the rescue of 63 miners who were trapped in the explosion of the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in February 2006.The plurinominal Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia again appeared in the spotlight: various voices asked for his lawlessness to appear before the courts for his responsibility in the Pasta de Conchos tragedy. It also faces great opposition for its initiatives regarding outsourcing. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Colibri received geological mapping study results from its Evelyn project. In Chihuahua, Kootenay reported drill results from the last ten holes drilled at its Columba project. In Jalisco, GoGold released drill results from 10 holes collared at its Los Ricos project. ON MINING, Mexus Gold announced that Au recovery continues at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora. Endeavour announced that mining operations on its El Cubo mine in Guanajuato will cease on November 30, 2019. Consolidated Zinc reported October 2019 production results from its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. ON FINANCING, Galore closed its second and final tranche of a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of CAD $92,634, for a total financing of CAD $279,816 (Dos Santos project, Zacatecas). Orex closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of CAD $800K (Sandra-Escobar project, Durango). San Marco closed a non-brokered private placement to raise gross proceeds of $448,600 (Chunibas project, Sonora). Vangold provided an update on its private placement and anticipated the closing of a third and final tranche this month for gross proceeds of $707,500 (El Pinguico project, Guanajuato). McEwen announced pricing of USD $50M public offering (El Gallo, Sinaloa). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Premier Gold reported drilling results and announced that it has extended high grade mineralization at its Mercedes mine in Sonora. SilverCrest announced its best drill hole to date at its Las Chispas project in Sonora. Torex Gold extended mineralization down-dip at the Sub-Sill deposit at its Limon-Guajes mine complex in Guerrero. Impact Silver provided and update on its operations at its Zacualpan Mining District, in the State of Mexico, and reported the presence of native Ag at its Guadalupe mine. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Discovery Metals announced that is already trading on the OTXQX Best Market in the USA (Cordero project, Chihuahua). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, IMMSA donated 60K plants, (40K forest trees and 20K ornamental plants) to the municipal government of San Luis Potosi. Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán (Fortuna Silver) boosted “Access to Education” through a scholarship program. The Red Cross delegation of Torreón, Coahuila recognized Peñoles as a socially responsible company for donations and all the support received every year. Peñasquito launched the program “Together We Leave Legacy”. Ternium allocated USD $60M to sustainable plan in Monterrey.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of México, hinted a possible modification to the mining regulations, deepening the uncertainty that weighs on Mexico´s mining sector. The Camimex (mining industry chamber) has repeatedly expressed concern about possible changes in policies that aim to reduce spending. While mining investment is forecast to USD $5.3B this year, this 7% increase is the smallest since 2016. “It requires a public policy that builds trust among investors,” the chamber said recently.
- The Secretariat of Economy, through the Director of the Mining Fund approved MXP $103.6M to several states. The mining fund designated MXP $43.2 for Durango, MXP $26.5M for Sonora, MXP $14.9M for Zacatecas, MXP $10.4M for Chihuahua, MXP $5M for Aguascalientes, MXP $2.8M for San Luis Potosi, and MXP $751K for Hidalgo. In addition, informed that approved MXP $10.4M for paving projects, public lighting and a sports field in the Municipalities of Santa Bárbara, Ascensión and San Francisco del Oro, Chihuahua. The director Gómez Leyja listed the different support for responsible mining for the “progress and well-being of the benefited municipalities”. Municipalities and the State of Chihuahua began this year constitutional controversy against the Government of Mexico over the cancellation of the Mining Fund. The federal government has gradually released amounts, although in 2018 there were 300 million pesos distributed among 23 municipalities of Chihuahua
- The Under Secretariat of Mining, Francisco Quiroga, announced that Mining Fund will continue being delivered to the municipalities where it is generated, as it was established in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF). “The Federative Entities, Municipalities and Demarcations, will be the executing agencies of the federal public resources transferred to them, once the proposed physical investment projects have been approved by the Regional Committee,” dictates article twenty-seventh of the new agreement. This news is a relief for the sector, since a redistribution of the resources of the Fund that sought to allocate capital to educational infrastructure in the country had been approved, depriving communities of the full range of direct benefits that the presence of a mining operation Given this initiative, various voices in the sector asked the President of Mexico not to leave the mining municipalities out, and the Governors of Sonora, Durango, Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Guerrero also joined the lobby. Until 2018, a collection of MXP $ 18,000 M is calculated to integrate the Mining Fund, and this year an estimated amount of MXP $ 3,200M is estimated. One of the premises of the new guidelines of the Mining Fund is that it operates with greater transparency and efficiency. Until 2018, the Fund was operated by the Ministry of Tourism and Urban Development, now the application and administration is in the hands of the Ministry of Economy.
- Newmont Goldcorp Corporation, signed an agreement with the Mazapil Ejidatarios to solve conflict in Peñasquito. The six agreements conceived in the Ministry of the Interior at the Federal level detail that the Ejidatarios of Cedros and transport contractors agree not to block the mine operation and Newmont Goldcorp commits not to suspend operations and avoid affecting 60K people who depend on mine operation. It also was agreed to install a mechanism for the analysis, discussion and taking of agreements regarding pending issues, such as the shortage of water in the Cedros aquifer, as well as the compensation of the damages of a possible environmental affectation. Other points to consider are the review of the possibility of incorporating a new transport contract under the modality of “individual contracts” for the communities of Mazapil, Cedros, Verjel, and Cerro Gordo, and finally look for the possibility of incorporating more personnel transport routes in local communities.
- The Director of The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Morelos, spoke in favor of the construction of a social and cultural development without demerit of mining operations at the Esperanza deposit (Cerro Jumil), as long as it is assured by the mining company (Alamos Gold) that there would be no affectations to the historical heritage of that place and having as its center of importance the archaeological zone of Xochicalco. The polygon protection of Xochicalco is clear and defined. However, the Director of INAH acknowledged that the subject is waiting for answers. INAH does not authorize mining projects. INAH is not responsible for reviewing and approving mining projects, which is another area of competence.
- The Mexican Government, begun the rescue of 63 miners who were trapped in the explosion of the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in Coahuila on February 2006. The Mexican Geological Service, along with a group of experts from Germany, China, USA and Australia, initiated the rescue and the first steps corresponded to “studies of gas, water, soil mechanics that will allow to know well the underground conditions” in the Pasta de Conchos mine.
- The plurinominal Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia again appeared in the spotlight: various voices asked for his lawlessness to appear before the courts for his responsibility in the Pasta de Conchos tragedy. It also faces great opposition for its initiatives regarding outsourcing. The National Democratic Union of Mining, Metallurgical, Steel and Related Workers asked in a statement to reopen the file of Pasta de Conchos to endorse Gómez Urrutia responsibilities, as it is stated, the senator endorsed the conditions of the mine days before the tragedy, so it must be judged for negligence. On the other hand, the TUCONAP, an acronym for “Todos Unidos against Napoleón Gómez Urrutia”, a group that seeks to annul the Senator’s plans to criminalize the labor figure of outsourcing, has emerged. Various labor experts consider that “regularizing” outsourcing (as Urrutia calls it, which in turn coordinates the Senate Labor Commission) would seriously affect investment and jobs in Mexico, in addition to causing severe damage to the country’s economy.
- Colibri Resource Corporation, received structural mapping results of a study carried out on its Evelyn project in Sonora. This study was conducted on two main areas named Cerro Rojo and the El Sahuaro, and both display similarities to the structure, mineralization characteristics, and presence of certain indicator minerals found at La Herradura Mine operated by Fresnillo plc, and located about 25km from the Evelyn project. The study identified seven exploration targets for follow-up within these two main areas of Cerro Colorado and El Sahuaro. A total of 93 chips, channel and selective samples were collected and will be reported upon their receipt.
- Kootenay Silver Inc., reported drill results from the last ten holes drilled at its Columba project in Chihuahua on five different veins. Significant drill intersections were encountered in hole CDH-19-022 with 244 g/t Ag over 6.25m, including 373 g/t Ag over 1.5m on D Vein; hole CDH-19-21 with 187 g/t Ag over 1.2m in D Vein and 51 g/t Ag over 23.8m, including 191 g/t Ag over 2m in the footwall of the D Vein; hole CDH-19-025 with 105 g/t Ag over 7.6m, including 32 g/t Ag over 98.1m in stockworks and breccias of the J Vein; hole CDH-19-27 with 115 g/t Ag over 6.56m in J Vein; and hole CDH-19-28 with 72 g/t Ag over 14m, including 95 g/t Ag over 10m in stockwork of the J Vein. “Drilling not only confirmed intercepts of high-grade Ag, but also potential bulk-minable Ag mineralization with significant exploration potential remaining along strike and depth on several veins”.
- GoGold Resources Inc., released drill results from 10 holes collared at its Los Ricos project in Jalisco, being 4 holes in the Main Zone, 4 holes in San Juan area, and 2 holes in the southern area of the property. Highlights of the holes collared in the Main Zone include hole LRGG-19-056 with 05 g/t Au and 186 g/t Ag (2.97 g/t AuEq or 223 g/t AgEq) over 26m, and hole LRGG-19-063 with 0.53 g/t Au and 85 g/t Ag (1.67 g/t AuEq or 125 g/t AgEq) over 24.5m. In San Juan area, highlights include hole LRGG-10-069 with 1.11 g/t Au and 103 g/t Ag (2.48 g/t AuEq or 146 g/t AgEq) over 16.3m. In the southern area of the property, hole LRGG-19-068 encountered 0.92g/t Au and 161 g/t Ag (3.07 g/t AuEq or 230 g/t AgEq) over 7.8m. “The core drilling campaign is focused on defining the mineralized halo around the historical high grade ore shoots as defined by the underground workings and the 65 historical RC drill holes on the property. The program has now been expanded for additional testing along 3.2 km of the Los Ricos mineralized zone”.
- Mexus Gold US, reported that Au recovery continues at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora. Initial leaching results showed 0.48 g/t Au but slowed due to improper pH control. To solve this issue, Mexus installed an automatic pH/cyanide aeration control pumping system, and now is working properly. This recent correction will allow for a substantial increase in Au recovery from the 1.8 g/t Au head ore.
- Endeavour Silver Corp., announced the cessation of mining operations on its El Cubo mine, Guanajuato on November 30, 2019 due to exhaustion of reserves. The company reported that milling operation will continue for a week until the ore stock has been processed and the mill cleaned for concentrates. All employees will be laid off and the mine will be placed on short term care and maintenance. Suspension costs were estimated in $3.5M-4.0M, including final severance payments for all employees.
- Consolidated Zinc Limited, reported October 2019 production results from its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. The company increased its ore mining production to 4,827 tonnes with grades of 16.5% Zn, 8.4% Pb, and 45 g/t Ag to produce 1.78M Lb Zn, 907.2K Lb Pb and approximately 4.7K Oz Ag. It reported that Zn and Pb recoveries during October 2019 were 62.3% Zn to Zn concentrate, and 21.2% Pb to Pb concentrate. Consolidated Zinc produced 430 tonnes of Zn metal in concentrate at 55% Zn concentrate grade, and 104 tonnes of Pb metal concentrate, including 4,769 Oz Ag at a 52% Pb concentrate grade.
- Galore Resources Inc., closed its second and final tranche of a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of CAD $92, 634 for a total financing of CAD $279,816 (Dos Santos project, Zacatecas). The company also announced the TSX acceptance to a shares for services arrangement with COMEFIN S de RL de CV, who conducted a core drilling program at its Alamo project. The agreed service payment is a combination of shares and cash.
- Orex Minerals Inc., closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of CAD $800K. Gross proceeds will be used to maintain its 40% share of the Sandra-Escobar project in good standing, funds its 40%share of the upcoming work program, and to make the necessary payments under its existing option to acquire 100% interest in the Cordero project, Durango.
- San Marco Resources Inc., closed a non-brokered private placement to raise gross proceeds of $448,600 (Chunibas project, Sonora).
- Vangold Mining Corp., provided an update of its private placements and anticipated the closing of a third and final tranche this month for gross proceeds of $707,500 subject to acceptance of the TSX Venture Exchange. Upon final closing of the private placement, Vangold will have issued an aggregate of 25,809,500 units for aggregate gross proceeds of $1,290,475 (El Pinguico project, Guanajuato).
- McEwen Mining Inc., announced that it has priced an underwritten public offering for aggregate gross proceeds of $50M (El Gallo mine, Sinaloa).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Premier Gold Mines Limited, released drilling results from its Lupita Area and announced the extension of high-grade mineralization at its Mercedes mine in Sonora. Highlights from October drilling include hole L19-457D with 15.8 g/t Au and 69 g/t Ag over a true width of 1.4m and hole L19-496D with 10.03 g/t Au and 58 g/t Ag over a true width of 4.6m at San Martin area ; and hole L19-488D with 9.41 g/t Au and 34 g/t Ag over a true width of 8.9m and hole L19-480D with 7.96 g/t Au and 32 g/t Ag over a true width of 3.6m at Lupita Extension area. More drilling delineation is planned in 2020 to upgrade mineralization to an indicated mineral resource. “Given a spacing of less than 60 m of drilling at San Martin during 2019, a portion of the mineralization will warrant inclusion into mineral resources at year end”.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., announced its Best drill hole to date at its Las Chispas project in Sonora, at a newly defined zone named 118 Zone. Hole LC-19-118 intersected 44.3 g/t Au and 4,551 g/t Ag (7,873 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 8.6m, including 213.66 g/t Au and 21,671 g/t Ag (37,695 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 1.7m. Also, hole LC19-123 intersected 2.63 g/t Au and 452 g/t Ag (649 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 0.5m, and 3.54 g/t Au and 616 g/t Ag (881 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 5.5m, including 12.69 g/t Au and 2,255 g/t Ag (3,207 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 0.9m.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc., reported drill results of the last round and extended mineralization 300m down-dip of the existing reserves at the Sub-Sill deposit at its Limon-Guajes mine complex in Guerrero. Highlights include hole SST-156 with 35.17 g/t Au and 49 g/t Ag over 6.1m and 12.56 g/t Au and 29 g/t Ag over 4.93; hole SST-135 with 21.64 g/t Au and 15 g/t Ag over 3.5m; hole SST-139 with 19.54 g/t Au and 3 g/t Ag over 5.9m; hole SST-132 with 13.94 g/t Au and 5 g/t Ag over 8.9m and 15.78 g/t Au and 8 g/t Ag over 5.2m; and hole LDGU-047 with 13.89 g/t Au and 15 g/t Ag over 12.8m.
- Impact Silver Corp, provided and update on its operations at its Zacualpan Mining District, in the State of Mexico, and reported the presence of native Ag at its Guadalupe mine, on the main Lipton Vein named the Jewelry Shop. Impact is expanding production in its Guadalupe mine, adjacent to the Guadalupe plant, and has upgraded the shaft and infrastructure to access additional veins for mining. At La Negra mine, the company recently started an initial production from the open pit to feed the plant with ore grading 200 g/t Ag. Work is in progress to determine the full upside potential of this zone. At San Ramon Deeps mine, the drilling program below current mining levels intersected new high grade mineralization which may allow renewed expansion of production. A new underground drill station is being excavated to drill the depth extensions of this new mineralization.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Discovery Metals Corp., announced that is already trading on the OTCQX Best Market in the USA under the symbol DSVMF (Cordero project, Chihuahua).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- IMMSA, donated 60K plants to the municipal government of San Luis Potosi to reforest the city. The Director of Municipal Services, Gonzalo Benavente González, explained that a total of 40 thousand forest trees such as pine trees, ash trees, jacaranda trees, white cedars were received, in addition to 20 thousand ornamental plants such as daisies, carnations, lavenders, rue, mint, peppermint, among other aromatic species. Finally, he said that the plants will be used to continue reforesting the various areas of the city that lack green areas, likewise donated to citizens and delivered to educational events to continue promoting the sustainable development of the capital.
- Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán (Fortuna Silver), boosted “Access to Education” through a scholarship program. Since its creation in 2009, the Cuzcatlán scholarship program is aimed at primary, secondary, middle-upper and higher students of the municipality of San José del Progreso and agencies, where Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán operates the San José mine. The objective is to support students to continue their studies and prevent school dropout. For the 2018-2019 period, the educational project promoted by the company and the Municipal Education Region benefits 773 families that receive direct economic and in-kind support for their children through a total investment of MXP $1.99M.In addition to the Scholarship program, Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán contributes with resources for internet service, teaching materials and septic tank cleaning of all San José del Progreso schools and agencies. Year after year, Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán works to create shared development with the communities in which it operates and this program is an example of sustainable mining in Oaxaca.
- The Red Cross delegation of Torreon, Coahuila, recognized Peñoles as a socially responsible company for donations and all the support received to join the collection that the Red Cross makes every year to obtain resources and continue improving. “Last year Peñoles donated a new and equipped ambulance with everything and two other semi-new ones. In addition, about MXP $4M were invested in an operating room, emergency rooms, and floors. We did four more doctor´s offices, we now have specialists and we have been adding doctors”, said the president of the board, Juan Raymundo Jaime Ramírez.
- Peñasquito, launched the program “Together We Leave Legacy”. Twenty seven communities in the region where Minera Peñasquito operates will benefit from the program “Together We Leave Legacy”, a project that aims to improve the conditions of educational infrastructure and boost sports in this region of the Zacatecan semi-desert.
- Ternium S.A., allocated USD $60M to sustainable plan in Monterrey, so that all the handling of the product it generates has the guarantee that it will not cause emissions to the atmosphere, said César Jiménez, General Director of the steel company. “We have just opened a smoke collection system three months ago at the Puebla plant to minimize emissions to the atmosphere, we had already installed the same system as our Guerrero plant in Monterrey a few years ago and now we are in the next stage”. The director stressed that the most important issues within Ternium’s agenda are sustainability, safety and environmental care, where relevant investments have been made in all its plants, which total around 200 million dollars in recent years.
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On the picture above, quartz blade texture in a low sulphidation epithermal chalcedonic quartz vein system from a prospect in Durango, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia.