By Jorge Cirett
During the 12th week of the year (March 16th to March 22nd, 2020), at least 30 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Javier Corral, Chihuahua’s governor proposed the Major’s National Association they take part on the current constitutional controversy about the use of the Mining Fund. Mining companies around Mexico and the Camimex prepare for the Coronavirus by cancelling meetings, fairs and gatherings, and promote precautionary measures among its personnel, contractors and communities The AIMMGM convention in Chihuahua, the AMSAC convention in Cananea, and the Discoveries Conference in Guadalajara were to be held at the end of April, but have been re-scheduled due to the Coronavirus effects to later dates on July, August and September. ON EXPLORATION, in Baja California, One World Lithium has obtained the drilling, environmental and occupancy permits to commence drilling on the southern part of the project. In Sonora, Colibri announced the completion of phase 1 drilling at Evelyn. In Chihuahua Century Metals and Reyna Silver are to continue the exploration of the Guigui project near Santa Eulalia. ON MINING, Starcore filed the results of the last quarter. Mexus Gold continues leaching in Sonora. Avino Silver, Torex gold, McEwen Mining, Impact Silver, Great Panther, Excellon, Argonaut Gold, GoGold Resources, Endeavour Silver, Equinox Gold and Fortuna Silver informed on the measures taken to protect their business, people and communities from the effects of the Coronavirus epidemic. ON FINANCING, Silver Spruce entered into debt settlement agreements for $350 K. First Majestic intends to repurchase up to 10 M shares. SilverCrest Metals received notice from National Bank Financial to terminate their agreement to purchase up to $9.1 M shares. Almaden Minerals amended its private placement to reflect current market conditions. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Prime Mining informed on recent work at its Guadalupe de Los Reyes project in Sinaloa, and how it might impact on the next resource estimation. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Century Metals provided an update on the acquisition of Reyna Silver (and its Guigui project in Chihuahua). Riverside Resources informed on its capitalization, business and current BHP strategic funding. Excellon Resources continues on the acquisition path of Otis Gold. Hecla Mining informed on current hedges to deflect the turmoil on the metals market. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Minera Media Luna informed on a community campaign to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on neighboring villages to its operations.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Javier Corral, Chihuahua’s governor, proposed on the Executive Committee of the Major’s National Association (Asociación Nacional de Alcaldes) that they take part on the constitutional controversy promoted by the Chihuahua government to rescue the Mining Fund from the Federal government.
- Mining Companies across Mexico prepare for the Coronavirus, Grupo Mexico, Agnico Eagle, Alamos Gold, Fresnillo PLC and Minera El Boleo are among the companies that have installed policies aimed to reduce the chances of infection among its employees, workers and contractors, including the cancellation of fairs and meetings, as well as work from home programs and access control programs at its installations.
- The AIMMGM convention in Chihuahua to be held on 21-24 April has been changed to 20-24 July, aiming to reduce the Coronavirus spread on the population. On the same grounds the AMSAC (Asociación de Mineros de Sonora) that was to be held on 29 April-1 has been postponed to 3-4 September.
- The Discoveries Mining Conference to be held in Guadalajara in late April has been postponed, on the same venue, to 10-12 August 2010.
- CAMIMEX (Cámara Minera de México) informed it is reducing all non-essential activities and avoiding in-person meetings, although maintaining the offices open to facilitate operations. The organism makes a strong plea to companies and the general population to follow all the preventive measures possible.
- Colibri Resource Corp. announced the completion of the phase 1 drilling program at its Evelyn project in Sonora. Five holes were collared in the program that measured 815.6 m in total.
- Century Metals Inc. and Reyna Silver Corp. are engaged on a merger that intends to advance the 4,554 ha Guigui project in the Santa Eulalia district in Chihuahua. Studies on the project for the last 25 years include detailed geologic mapping and sampling, gravimetrics, ground magnetics, CSAMT (Controlled Source Audio Magneto-Tellurics), NSAMT (Natural Source Audio Magneto-Tellurics), Airborne ZTEM/magnetics, satellite hyperspectral and definition of drilling targets. The planned budget for 10,000 m for compiling and re-processing all prior work and 10,000 m of diamond drilling is $2.44 M.
- One World Lithium Inc. announced that drilling, environmental, and occupancy permits have been approved to drill two key locations at the south end of the Salar del Diablo Property in Baja California. The proposed exploration holes are located 50 km south of the previous drill holes in the north portion of the property. Mike Rosko of Montgomery Associates has recommended these locations, as “there is evidence of historic and currently active hydrothermal activity in the south and that hydrothermal activity can be a source of lithium such as in the Lithium Triangle in Chile and Argentina”.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. filed the results for the Q3 ended on 31 January, 2020. At the company’s San Martin mine in Queretaro, 58.3 K tonnes were milled @ 1.84 gpt Au, 30.1 gpt Ag, recovering 90.1% Au, 50.9% Ag, to produce 3.1 K Oz Au, 29.6 K Oz Ag during the quarter; on the year 301.9 K tonnes were milled @ 1.63 gpt Au, 39.6 gpt Ag, recovering 86.2% Au, 58.4% Ag, to produce 13.7 K Oz Au, 224.5 K Oz Ag (16.4 K Oz AuEq), at cash cost $1,061 per Oz AuEq.
- Mexus Gold US. continues gold production at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora (Not to mistake for First Majestic’s Santa Elena mine, also in Sonora).
- Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd. reported that there is not been impact on day to day operations at the Avino mine in Durango. The company restricted entrance to external visitors and no-one at the mine-site has tested positive for the COVID-19. Two medical doctors are monitoring and educating the labour force and employees daily.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. announced that to date the company had no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 infection at the El Limón – Guajes operations in Guerrero. “At the operation, we have stopped international travelers from coming to site. Social distancing efforts at site are being implemented, which includes isolating delivery drivers. Aggressive cleaning of communal areas has also been ramped up. Education initiatives on infection prevention have been extended to the surrounding communities”.
- McEwen Mining Inc. reported fourth quarter and full year 2019 results, including figures from its Mexican operations. Production from residual leaching at El Gallo, in Sinaloa, was 2,490 Oz Au Eq for the quarter and 16,333 Oz Au for the year.
- Impact Silver Corp. informed operations continue as the Coronavirus situation is monitored daily. “In conjunction with local authorities we are actively disseminating information on COVID-19 precautionary measures to our employees and their families. We will continue to monitor their health and for signs of early symptoms of the virus on a regular basis to ensure safety of our staff” (Zacualpan, Estado de Mexico).
- Great Panther Mining Ltd. announced that it has been closely monitoring the latest developments of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19. “All operations and offices have implemented travel restrictions, supervision, monitoring and response plans to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and outbreak” (Topia, Durango).
- Excellon Resources Inc. informed the company is in regular contact with local health authorities at its Platosa (Durango) and Miguel Auza (Zacatecas) operations, and continue to monitor global trends on the Coronavirus pandemia. Among other measures “we have restricted site access to essential personnel and essential suppliers. We are conducting health screening at the gate and have provided our security and health personnel with additional protective measures. We have increased the frequency of workplace cleaning and disinfection, including transport vehicles, and have also increased the number of hand sanitizer stations across the work sites. We have implemented social distancing by doubling the number of buses transporting employees to site, significantly modifying food provision services and increasing office space for administration staff, as well as preparing to adjust our existing work-from-home policies as conditions dictate”.
- Argonaut Gold. Has implemented protocols to minimize the risks of COVID-19 virus, both to employees and business. “At each site, Argonaut is following government health protocols, has implemented additional protocols and is closely monitoring the situation with local health authorities” (La Colorada, Sonora).
- GoGold Resources Inc. informed that “The constantly changing COVID-19 situation is unprecedented and for many is a time filled with uncertainty. We’d like to ensure our shareholders that operations at Parral and Los Ricos continue as normal as we monitor the situation” (Parral, Chihuahua; Los Ricos, Jalisco).
- Endeavour Silver Corp. has implemented plans to minimize the risks of the COVID-19 virus both to the employees and to the business. “At each site, Endeavour is following government health protocols and is closely monitoring the situation with local health authorities. The Company has posted health advisories to educate employees about the COVID-19 symptoms, best practices to avoid catching the virus, and procedures to follow if symptoms are experienced” (El Compas, Zacatecas).
- Fortuna Silver Mines Ltd. has been monitoring the effects of the spread of the Coronavirus, particularly in the jurisdictions that host its mining operations. The company “has placed its Health Safety Security and Environmental Committee in permanent session and is continually assessing the related health and safety risks to the Company’s personnel and contractors at its operations and offices. Preventative measures implemented at our offices and mines include: restrictions on travel, enhanced communication on prevention of contagion and viral effects, increased hygiene initiatives, monitoring personnel and visitors at our sites for symptoms of COVID-19, identification of personnel in high risk categories, reducing mine site personnel to a minimum level essential for continued operations and limiting visitors to those whose visits are considered critical” (San José, Oaxaca).
- Equinox Gold Corp. “is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and has taken precautionary measures at its mine sites and offices to help protect the safety of the Company’s workforce and local communities” (Los Filos, Guerrero).
- Silver Spruce Resources Inc. has entered into debt settlements with several creditors and one officer and director to settle $350 K. Under the terms of the debt settlement agreements 7 M shares were issued (Pino de Plata, Chihuahua).
- First Majestic Silver Corp. board has approved the extension of its share repurchase program over the next year, period on which the company aims to re-purchase up to 10 M shares (San Dimas, Durango; Santa Elena, Sonora).
- SilverCrest Metals Inc. received notice from National Bank Financial Inc. purporting to terminate its obligations pursuant to an agreement whereby NBF had asked for and agreed to purchase on a “bought deal” basis 9.1 M common shares at price of $8.25 per common share, based on the “disaster out” clause of the agreement. “SilverCrest intends to pursue its legal remedies against NBF for breach of NBF’s obligations under the terms of the Agreement” (Las Chispas, Sonora).
- Almaden Minerals Ltd. amended its private placement in order to reflect current market conditions. The purchase price for units has been reduced from $0.41 to $0.37 and the exercise price for warrants from $0.65 to $0.50, while the offering size has been increased from 4.9 M to 5.4 M units (Ixtaca, Puebla).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Prime Mining Corp. informed recent work at its Guadalupe de Los Reyes project in Sinaloa hints to the potential of linking resources. Recent new trenches and road cuts sampling indicate mineralization linkage between the Zapote North and Zapote South orebodies. “Independent engineers are currently assessing and calculating a new resource model, which is now expected to be updated by the end of Q1 2020”. The historic resource is 530 K Oz Au, 10 M Oz Ag, established for Vista Gold in 2013.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Century Metals Inc. provided an update on the acquisition of all the shares of Reyna Silver Corp. (which owns the Guigui project in Chihuahua). Century is to consolidate to its shares to 5.35 M, both companies are to undertake private placements and Century will issue shares to Reyna Silver’s shareholders and warrants to the holders of warrants, and Century will issue shares to Mag Silver Corp., which is to hold 19.9% of the consolidated shares. Century and Reyna are raising up to $6.8 M in conjunction with the acquisition through concurrent financings. To date, Reyna has raised $5.06 M and Century $1.49 M. The Acquisition is a reverse takeover, and the definitive agreement is expected to be settled before the end of March 2020.
- Riverside Resources Inc. provided an update on its operations. Currently the company has more than C$2 M in cash, no debt, 63 M shares outstanding and posted to receive $1 M from BHP in May, as part of a generative copper exploration strategic funding agreement. The company also holds marketable securities worth over C$1 M and has retained NSR’s on previously partnered projects. By the end of the month Riverside will have a vote to spin-out the Peñoles project in Durango.
- Excellon Resources Inc. and Otis Gold Corp., announced that they have filed a joint circular in connection with the acquisition by Excellon of all the shares of Otis, pursuant to a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act of British Columbia (Platosa, Durango).
- Hecla Mining Co. provided a summary of the activities undertaken to protect its business, employees and local communities from COVID-19. Among the actions taken, contracts have been secured for $16 per Oz Ag for the second quarter, and $1,450 and $1,650 per Oz Au for the second and third quarter respectively. The company has implemented and followed recommended health and hygiene protocols, restricted mine site staff to essential personnel and contractors, stockpiled critical mining supplies (up to six months’ worth in some cases) to protect against possible future supply disruptions (San Sebastian, Durango).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Minera Media Luna has a community campaign to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the region of the Limon-Guajes mine in Guerrero. The campaign includes an informative preventive health circle inward and outward of the mining complex, into the communities of Acalmantlila, Nuevo Balsas, Real de Limón, La Fundición and Atzcala, among others.
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On the image below: potassic feldspar alteration in a meta granitoid in Oaxaca, picture by Jorge Cirett.