By Jorge Cirett
During the 50th week of the year (December 9th to December 15th, 2019), at least 18 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Bacanora Minerals lithium deposit in Sonora is considered the biggest resource of the metal in the world, according to Francisco Quiroga, Mining sub-secretary. Camimex calls to maintain the competitivity of the mining sector, as it is being threatened by a environmental tax proposal. Newmonts Goldcorp´s Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas is to lift Mexican gold production in 2020, according to BNamericas. Camimex invited the secretary of the environmental agency (SEMARNAT), Victor Manuel Toledo to visit one of the mining units, for him to review what sustainable mining is. He will also be visiting Hermosillo and Ures, meeting with authorities of the municipalities affected by a toxic leak on 2014. ON EXPLORATION, in Chihuahua, Mammoth Resources updated on exploration efforts by partner Centerra at its Tenoriba project; Kootenay Silver released good drilling results on its Columba property. ON MINING, Alamos Gold and Golden Minerals released results for the third quarter 2019. GoGold released results on the year ending in September 2019. ON FINANCING, Advance Gold closed the second tranche of its private placement for gross proceeds of $42 K. Azure Minerals announced the receipt of A$467 K of VAT back taxes (dating to 2016) from the government. Tamino Minerals is planning to become “Pink Current” very soon on the OTC. Odyssey Marine Exploration obtained commitments for up to $4.2 M. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Candelaria Mining released results on 15 new holes from the Mirador mine at the Altagracia project in Oaxaca. Pan American Silver announced an initial resource estimate, on the polymetallic skarn deposit at La Colorada, of 72.5 M tonnes @ 44 gpt Ag, 0.17% Cu, 2.02% Pb, 4.40% Zn, remaining open in most directions, and containing over 100 M Oz Ag. Defiance Silver updated on exploration efforts at its San Acacio project in Zacatecas and at its Tepal project in Michoacán. Prime Mining released surface road cut and trench assays from its Guadalupe de los Reyes project in Sinaloa. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Tamino Minerals has signed a LOI on the Ofelia property, in Sonora. Discovery Metals informed Eric Sprott now owns 21% interest in the company. Newmont Goldcorp announced a deal with the Cedros community on water resources. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. A mining gathering was held in Banamichi, Sonora. The Asociación de Mineros de Sonora celebrated its 40th anniversary. The first “Comité de Desarrollo Regional para las Zonas Mineras” was created in Sonora, to recommend the use of the Mining Fund in certain infrastructure projects in mining areas. Dr. Vagón, Grupo Mexico’s health itinerant clinic was at La Junta, and soon to be moved to the nearby Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, both in Chihuahua. The Consorcio Minero Benito Juárez and the Fundación Bécalos Televisa delivered 120 scholarships to excellency students. A fair was held in Tayoltita, Durango, to bring awareness of the mining work and environment to inhabitants and family members of mine workers. Minera Media Luna is showing a strong support for education in Guerrero, with shcolarships, internships and support to local schools. The Sonora miners association (AMSAC) signed an agreement with the Consejo Regulador del Bacanora, to source agave saplings on its greenhouses to the agave growers. The Mexican gray wolf has left the list of extinct species in the wild, moving to the category of species on extinction risk.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The lithium deposit in Sonora is the major project of its type in the World, according to Francisco Quiroga, Sub-Secretary of Mining, on an interview by a journalist known country wide. He cautioned on not hurrying up to celebrate, as the lithium still has to be extracted, and be metallurgically separated of the other minerals present in the ore (In this project, unlike other, lithium is contained in a clay). This project is assumed to have 243 M tonnes of lithium, surpassing the Thacker Pass deposit in Nevada, the second lithium deposit, with reserves of 179 M tonnes of lithium. The deposit is co-owned by the English company (not Canadian, as stated in the note) Bacanora Lithium and the Chinese Ganfeng Lithium, and located in the Bacadehuachi municipality (tens of kilometers from the Campo Verde Protected Natural Area and the Chihuahua border).
- Camimex calls for maintaining the competitivity of the Mining Sector in Sonora. The call was made by Karen Flores, Camimex head, on the first Universitary Mining Gathering held in Banamichi, Sonora. She called for a proposal to tax mining operations on environmental grounds to be repelled. Such tax would transform Sonora in one of the more expensive places to mine, in an industry that is already heavily regulated and taxed. According to the authorities, mining in 2018 provided more than 46 billion pesos (US$2.36 billion) in taxes, 9,000 billion pesos (US$461 M) in rights and more than 4,500 billion pesos (US$230 M) in resources for the Mining Fund.
- Newmont Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas is to lift Mexican gold production in 2020, when production by other big players is to decline. The combined production by the three biggest producers in Mexico, Fresnillo, Newmont Goldcorp, and Alamos Gold should reach 1.59 M Oz Au, above the 1.22 M Oz Au mines in 2019. This is a 30% increment year on year, achievable if the companies reach their mid-point guidelines. According to BNamericas this figure is more than half the 3.15 M Oz Au to be produced by more than 20 companies in Mexico. Fresnillo’s production reached 923 K Oz Au in 2018, expects to produce 885 K Oz in 2019, 785 K Oz in 2021 and 665 K Oz in 2022; the decline motivated by the end of production at the Noche Buena mine and less production at Herradura. Meanwhile, Peñasquito expects to produce 575 K Oz Au in 2020 , and a little bit more in 2021, before production starts to decline due to lower grades. Alamos Gold expects to produce 150 – 160 K Oz Au during 2019 in Mulatos, while the Chanate mine is to produce only 5 K Oz. Minera Frisco and Agnico Eagle have seen their gold production dwindle in 2019, while Torex Gold reached 138 K Oz Au produced during the third quarter, and the company expects to sell 430 K Oz Au this year. Leagold also is to increase production at Los Filos, expecting to double on the 200 K Oz Au forecasted for this year.
- Camimex invited Victor Manuel Toledo, secretary of the environment and natural resources (SEMARNAT) to visit one of the mining units, for him to review what sustainable mining is. Earlier in the day, in the morning presidential conference, Toledo stated that Semarnat is not against mining: “For Semarnat there is not good or bad mining, revisions have to be on a case by case basis, and confirm through inspection its adherence to norms”.
- Victor Manuel Toledo, secretary of the environment and natural resources (SEMARNAT) is to be in Hermosillo in December 18th for the presentation of a book on the toxic leakage of 2014, and in Ures to meet with affected parties and authorities of municipalities within the Rio Sonora basin.
- Alberto Orozco, president of the Sonora Mining Cluster, praised the visit that Victor Manuel Toledo (Environmental Secretary) is to make next week to a mining unit in Sonora. Orozco stressed the presence in Sonora of companies highly involved in the social and economic development of the producing regions in a sustainable manner. He also pointed that the Sonoran mining production is 36% of the national production, contributing with 18% of the State gross domestic product.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. updated on exploration efforts at its Tenoriba project, funded by partner Centerrea Gold Inc.. Field logistics have been set, all historical geologic data compiled for Centerra’s review and interpretation and a 3D model is under preparation; all un-assayed core was sent for analysis, and the previous drill program permit is being closed, and a new one is to be prepared. Strong argillic, argillic and minor vuggy silica is present on volcanic rocks on a 4 to 6 Km long belt, with geophysics re-processing pointing to a larger target than previously envisaged, and a new 30 line-Km survey is being planned. A large soil anomaly highlights the eastern part of the corridor. Mammoth is working on community consultation processes with the two ejidos (communal lands) involved.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. released results from six holes drilled at its Columba project in Chihuahua. Highlighted intervals comprise: 25.85 m @ 200 gpt Ag (including 11.5 m @ 415 gpt Ag, which includes 4.0 m @ 721 gpt Ag, which includes 1.9 m @ 982 gpt Ag) in silicified breccias in proximity to a lithological contact; 6.25 m @ 67 gpt Ag (including 2.09 m @ 172 gpt Ag); 3.0 m @ 314 gpt Ag (including 0.63 m @ 776 gpt Ag); 59.8 m @ 48 gpt Ag (including 9.57 m @ 146 gpt Ag); 6.63 m @ 103 gpt Ag and 1.0 m @ 124 gpt Ag. Several of the intercepts are in quartz veins in rhyolite, as quartz stockworks and as quartz-barite veins.
- Alamos Gold Inc. released some production figures for 2019, including data on its Mexican production. At Mulatos, in Sonora, during the first nine months of this year 20 K tonnes per day were stacked @ 0.92 gpt Au, with a recovery of 67%, to produce 108 K Oz Au at cash cost $772 and a mine-site AISC of $861. Production from the Mulatos district is expected to total 150-160 K Oz Au in 2020, with ore mined from the Mulatos, El Victor and San Carlos open pits, as well as new production from Cerro Pelon. “A total of $7 million has been budgeted at Mulatos for exploration in 2020 which includes 14,000 m of drilling focused in the Mulatos near-mine, Carricito and La Yaqui Grande areas. A number of regional exploration targets have been identified in 2019 from the property-wide VTEM geophysical survey that was completed in late-2018. A focus of the 2020 regional exploration program will be to further evaluate these targets through systematic mapping, sampling, and ground geophysics”.
- Golden Minerals Co. released results for the third quarter 2019. During the period Golden reported revenue of $1.9 M related to the lease of Velardeña’s oxide mill and costs of $0.6 M related to the services provided under the terms of the lease, for a net operating margin of $1.3 M. Exploration expenses were $0.9 M, Velardeña care and maintenance $0.4 M, administrative expenses $0.7 M for a total loss of $1.8 M for the quarter. Last October Golden entered into an agreement with Magellan Gold Corp. to sell the company’s option to earn a 100% interest in the Santa Maria and Las Marias exploration properties in Chihuahua. Cash and cash equivalents of $2.9 M by the end of the period.
- GoGold Resources Inc. announced financial results for the year ending 2019. During the last quarter period the company acquired the Los Ricos project in Jalisco, for share consideration of $5.4 M and cash $4.5 M, of which $3.9 M is payable over three years. During the period the company sold 1 M Oz Ag and 8,752 Oz Ag, produced 1.78 M Oz AgEq, had income of $8.1 M at an AISC of $14.82 per Oz AgEq and cash cost $11.80 per OZ AgEq, a gain of $11.8 M on the sale of the Santa Gertrudis project royalty and has a net working capital of $13.1 M.
- Advance Gold Corp. closed the second and final tranche of the private placement previously announced, for gross proceeds of $42 K (Tabasqueña, Zacatecas).
- Azure Minerals Ltd. announced that the Mexican tax office has paid this week the amount of MX$6.19 M, approximately A$467 K. This is the interest component from a previous payment, bringing the total received by Azure to A$1.23 M. The payments are the result of the successful resolution of the company’s legal action for the recovery of IVA (the equivalent to GST, or VAT) dating to the 2016 financial year. A fee of 15% is payable to the legal and tax advisors involved (Alacrán, Sonora).
- Tamino Minerals Inc. is planning to become Pink Current very soon on OTC markets, abiding to OTC disclosure lines. As of the end of September 2019, the company has 370.6 M shares, of which Pedro Villagran holds 138.8 M and Joseph Berry 33 M.
- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. obtained commitments for up to $4.2 M in funding in two separate arrangements. A group of existing shareholders is to provide up to $2 M in funding ($539 K already submitted) as advance against a portion of multi-million dollar payment Odyssey expects to receive within the next six months, related to a previously completed ship-wreck project. In addition, “a term sheet has been executed and definitive agreements are being drafted with the group that has already committed up to $6.5 million in non-recourse legal funding for the NAFTA action for up to an additional $2.2 million” (Bay of Ulloa, Baja California Sur).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Gold Resource Corp. released drill results from 15 holes from the Mirador mine area in the Altagracia project in Oaxaca. The Mirador mine is 16 Km NW from the Company’s Aguila project and processing facilities. Highlighted results comprise: 9.21 m @ 0.24 gpt Au, 260 gpt Ag (including 0.73 m @ 0.58 gpt Au, 1,085 gpt Au); 1.38 m @ 4.39 gpt Au, 1,455 gpt Ag; 1.08 m @ 1.81 gpt Au, 2,190 gpt Ag; 5.99 m @ 1.04 gpt Au, 206 gpt Ag (including 1.54 m @ 2.02 gpt Au, 590 gpt Ag); 3.72 m @ 1.44 gpt Au, 910 gpt Ag (including 1.0 m @ 2.84 gpt Au, 2,610 gpt Ag); 2.67 m @ 1.10 gpt Au, 354 gpt Ag.
- Pan American Silver Corp. announced an initial mineral resource estimate for the large polymetallic deposit discovered in 2018 at La Colorada mine in Zacatecas. The inferred mineral resource is 72.5 M tonnes @ 44 gpt Ag, 0.17% Cu, 2.02% Pb, 4.40% Zn, remaining open in most directions and containing 102 M Oz Ag, 3.2 M tonnes of Zn, 1.5 M tonnes of Pb, and 121 K tonnes of Cu. Most of this mineralization is contained within a larger mineralized skarn 500 m x 600 m, between 600 and 1,700 m of depth. To make the geologic interpretation and resource estimation, 65 drill holes totalling 54,000 m of drilling were utilized.
- Defiance Silver Corp. updated on exploration efforts to be made at its San Acacio project in Zacatecas. Targeted core re-logging and selective re-assay is on-going and will continue through 2020, while field exploration involves surface geochemistry outside the resource area, systematic underground mapping and sampling and regional targeting are carried out.
- Defiance Silver Corp. announced OreQuest has been planning an exploration program at Tepal, in Michoacan. The aim is to follow up on high-grade drill results as the 1.42 m @ 25 gpt Au, 565 gpt Ag of last year campaign, which is coincidental with highly anomalous surface geochemistry and an untested chargeability anomaly.
- Prime Mining Corp. released results from surface exploration at it Los Reyes property in Sinaloa. The trenching program has an advance of 25% with highlighted results of 5 m @ 1.0 gpt Au, 11 gpt Ag; 10.5 m @ 2.0 gpt Au, 18 gpt Ag; 16.5 m @ 2.5 gpt Au, 40 gpt Ag; 36.0 m @ 1.84 gpt Au, 13 gpt Ag; 34.5 m @ 4.2 gpt Au, 21 gpt Ag; 13.5 m @ 1.54 gpt Au, 37 gpt Ag in rod cuts, and 9 m @ 0.92 gpt Au, 22 gpt Ag; 4.5 m @ 2.66 gpt Au, 30 gpt Ag; 13.5 m @ 1.42 gpt Au, 49 gpt Ag; 13.5 m @ 1.59 gpt Au, 28 gpt Ag; 7.5 m @ 1.84 gpt Au, 37 gpt Ag; 16.5 m @ 1.04 gpt Au, 23 gpt Ag; 15.0 m @ 5.58 gpt Au, 23 gpt Ag in trenches. The company is working with the database of 493 historic drill holes to establish a new 43-101 compliant resource (currently holding 380 K and 155 K Oz Au in the indicated and inferred categories respectively).
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Tamino Minerals Inc. informed it has singed a letter of intent (LOI) on the Ofelia property in Sonora. The LOI terms state four years of staged payments totalling US$1 M plus a 2% NSR, and provides a 90-day term for due-diligence work.
- Discovery Metals Corp. announced that with the conversion of 3.3 M subscription receipts to shares, Mr. Eric Sprott owns now approximately 21% interest in the company (Cordero, Chihuahua).
- Newmont Goldcorp. announced that the Peñasquito mine and the nearby San Juan Cedros community (one of 25 neighbouring communities) in Zacatecas, agreed to an infrastructure solution for sustainable water availability for the community. The 30-year water agreement includes additional water wells to supplement the 600 K liters per-day reverse osmosis drinking water plant the company built in 2018.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- A Mining Gathering was held in Banamichi, Sonora, with more than 600 attendees, mostly students, with the purpose of letting them know the opportunities for internships and employment in mining units. Among the attendees were also governors of mining states, the ambassadors of mining countries, Congress representatives, Union leaders, 14 majors and representatives for mining companies, mining associations and mining communities.
- The Asociación de Mineros de Sonora (Sonora’s Miners Association, or AMSAC) celebrated its 40th The celebration included a series of presentations and a formal dinner. Among the speakers were Francisco Quiroga (Mining Sub-secretary), Karen Flores (Camimex), Ernesto [Ríos (Americas Mining) and Lourdes McPherson (Argonaut Gold).
- The first “Comité de Desarrollo Regional para las Zona Mineras (Mining Zones Development Committee) was created in Hermosillo, Sonora. The finality of such committees is to assess and approve investment projects derived from the Mining Fund, incorporating all interest groups. The committee is integrated by:The fist session is to be held in February 28, 2020, and the second on August 28, 2020.
- Dr. Vagón is to be at La Junta, Chihuahua. From the 12 to the 16 of December, 2019. Among the services to be provided are: general consult, dermatology, pediatric care, geriatric care, odontology, chiropractic, physic rehabilitation, optometry, audiometry, mastography, colposcopy, family planning, lab test, diabetics clinic, psychology and nutrition. This itinerant train-mounted clinic has the capacity to Attend 550 persons daily.
- The Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility Fair San Dimas 2019, was held on December 6 in Tayoltita, Durango. The different departments of the First Majestic mine displayed details on their work on the mining process, in a didactic and entertaining way, to workers, suppliers, municipality and State authorities, as well as their families and local inhabitants. Radio Plata (Silver Radio) was commissioned, the first radio station to be located in the vicinity, is part of the company’s Centro Cultural, where educative, social and cultural activities are to take place.
- Minera Media Luna is showing a strong support for education in Guerrero. With support from local authorities in Cocula, the Instituto Tecnológico de Iguala, the Universidad Tecnológica Autónoma del Norte de Iguala, the State government, the Instituto Estatal para la Educación de Jóvenes y Adultos de Guerrero and the general population in Cocula, the company has: installed programs for diminishing the educative lag in primary and secondary education; taken 36 students in internships from local universities; supported 86 students through scholarships; invested $500 K pesos along with the Cocula municipality for the hiring of primary education personnel; participated in the Fourth Week of Mining on the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero…. And several other programs in education not posted here for lack of space.
- AMSAC, the Sonora Miners Association, signed an agreement with the Consejo Regulador del Bacanora (Regulatory Council for Bacanora, a spirits drink). Under this agreement , several mining companies are to grow the needed agave saplings for the production of Bacanora in their green houses, to be transplanted in the field by the agave growers.
- Minera Peña Colorada presented the “Ilustred Guide to Wildlife in the Minatitlan Microbasin”, at the Feria Internacional del Libro 2019, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. This work was accomplished with the support of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and the Benemérita Universidad de Puebla.
- The Mexican gray wolf has left the list of extinct species on the wild, moving to the category of species on extinction risk. This is the result of an international effort among the USA and Mexican governments, with the participation of Grupo Mexico. The declaration comes after 12 liberations and the documentation of 9 successful litters with some 30 puppies on the wild. Grupo Mexico, as well as other mining companies, has an UMA (Environmental Management Unit) that take care and reproduce threatened species.
- Dr Vagón, Grupo Mexico’s health train, is to be on Ciudad Cuahutémoc, Chihuahua, from December 18 to December 22. The 17 train carriages itinerant clinic has the capacity to attend 600 persons per day, providing for a wide array of services, like diagnostics, ailment prevention, dermatology, odontology, physical rehabilitation, optometry, audiometry, psychology, nutrition, diabetes and chiropractic treatments.
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On the image below: Sheeted quartz veinlets from an orogenic gold project in Oaxaca. Picture by Jorge Cirett