By Jorge Cirett
During the 20th week of the year (May 11th to May 17th, 2020), at least 43 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Camimex informed 23 mining companies supported 16 States on the Coronavirus emergency. The federal government announced the inclusion of the mining industries in the list of “essential” activities that could be performed under the Coronavirus emergency, starting on 18 May 2020…. only to backtrack a few days later with the announcement that mining companies “can begin to prepare” on 18 May, to start working on 01 June, 2020. Francisco Quiroga, sub-secretary of Mining, stated that the mining industry cannot wait until 01 June, 2020, for reactivation. The Supreme Court will evaluate the impugnation against the reform by which the federal government took control of the Mining Fund. First Majestic has taken steps to sue the federal government under provision of chapter 11 of NAFTA, on grounds of double taxation. ON EXPLORATION, in Sinaloa, Vizsla Resources released results from seven historic holes from the Plomosas Mine area at its Plomosas project. In Zacatecas, Alien Metals informed on two targets defined with the aid of IP, gravity, magnetic and geochemical surveys at its Donovan 2 property. ON MINING, Santacruz Silver, Great Panther Mining, Torex Gold, Capstone Mining, Alamos Gold, Consolidated Zinc and Newmont announced their coming back to production on 18 May 2020 (the date previously released by the government to end the mining lockdown). Fortuna Silver, Argonaut Gold, Sierra Metals, Starcore International and First Majestic released quarterly results. Excellon Resources will postpone the filing of its interim financial statements. ON FINANCING, Canuc Resources closed a financing round for $100 K., Americas Gold and Silver closed it bought deal financing for C$28.75 M. Silver Viper opened a private placement intending to raise up to C$5 M. Minaurum Gold announced a C$4.2 M financing, concurrent with the previously announced C$5 M financing. Endeavour Silver entered into an agreement to raise up to $23 M for its Terronera project. GR Silver Mining granted 1.38 M options to insiders. Starcore commenced trading on the OTCQB. Oceanus Resources is to change name to Silver Tiger Metals Inc. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, SilverCrest Metals released infill and expansion results on the high grade footprint of the Babi Vista vein, which by now stands at 400 m long by 200 m in height, 1 m wide, grading 20.26 gpt Au, 1,590 gpt Ag. GR Silver Mining released high-grade results from historic drill holes at its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. GoGold Resources released drill hole results from the Los Ricos South project in Jalisco. Golden Minerals filed a PEA on its Velardeña properties in Durango. Sierra Metals filed a technical report on the Bolivar mine, Chihuahua. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Vizsla Resources renegotiated the terms of the Rio Panuco agreement, reducing by $4.2 M the payments to be made before early 2022. Sonoro Metals withdrew the technical report on Cerro Caliche, Sonora, as required by the British Columbia Securities Commission. Discovery Metals announced the resignation of Jose Vizquerra from the board of directors. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Minera San Julian, Capstone, Fresnillo PLC, Endeavour Silver, Argonaut Gold, Peña Colorada, La Cantera Desarrollos Mineros, First Majestic, Newmont and Grupo Mexico informed on donations ad work realized to aid communities, mainly on subjects related to the Coronavirus emergency, like medical supplies and equipment (even the construction of a hospital), but comprising also a large array of investments and measures that benefit the mining communities.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Camimex informed 23 mining companies working in Mexico have supported 16 States in the country, with activities and donations of medical supplies to aid communities in the Coronavirus emergency. Mexico was the only country in North America that did not place mining within the essential industries to continue activities during the lockdown.
- The Consejo de Salubridad General (General Health Council) approved four agreements for the gradual lifting of measures to fight the Coronavirus, one of which is the declaration of mining as part of the essential industries that are permitted to continue work during the Covid-19 emergency (Important.- See note below).
- Adding to the confusion on government announcements, the sub-secretary of health prevention and promotion Hugo López Gatell informed mining, construction and automobile industries are to start activities until 01 June 2020. Most mining companies had already announced the commencement of activities on 18 May, 2020, as the mining industry had been declared essential, a term which has allowed other industries to continue activities during the Coronavirus emergency. In this twist of events, the sub-secretary said these industries can prepare for starting work on 01 June, 2020, and that further notice on physical modification of workspaces, schedules, and distance between workers, among other regulations to be announced on 18 May, 2020.
- Francisco Quiroga, sub-secretary of Mining, stated that the mining industry cannot wait until 01 June, 2020, for reactivation. This after the Health Secretariat established a two week preparation period for re-establishment of operations. “We cannot wait to the termination of the pandemic to get back to work. In mining we return to operate adhering to strict protocols and sanitary measures: since the people leaves home until they return”.
- The Supreme Court will evaluate (after five months wait) the impugnation against the reform by which the federal government took control of the Mining Fund. The Supreme Court also has to rule in the case of Puebla’s indigenous communities against the granting of mining concessions in their ground.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. “has taken steps to serve the Government of Mexico with a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim (“Notice”) under the provisions of Chapter 11 of North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”)”. The company claims the SAT (Servicio de Administración Tributaria, equivalent to the IRS in USA), has shown a strong deviation from several international treatises on double taxation. “The service of this Notice by the Company on the Government of Mexico initiates a 90-day process for the Government of Mexico to enter into good faith and amicable negotiations with the Company to resolve the current dispute”.
- Vizsla Resources Corp. released drilling results from seven holes on the Honduras vein and surface and underground sampling of the Animas, Cordon de Oro and Napoleon vein corridors at its Panuco project in Sinaloa. Highlighted drill intercepts comprise 4.35 m @ 208 gpt Ag, 0.83 gpt Au (including 1.0 m @ 432 gpt Ag, 1.55 gpt Au) and 2.60 m @ 151 gpt Ag, 1.02 gpt Au (including 0.70 m @ 294 gpt Ag, 2.09 gpt Au). Highlighted surface and underground sampling results comprise: 3.2 m @ 44 gpt Ag, 16.52 gpt Au (including (1.0 m @76 gpt Ag, 38.20 gpt Au); 11.90 m @ 140 gpt Ag, 1.67 gpt Au (including 2.90 m @ 249 gpt Ag, 3.84 gpt Au); 4.20 m @ 230 gpt Ag, 3.13 gpt Au (including 1.20 m @ 655 gpt Ag, 10.15 gpt Ag).
- Alien Metals Ltd. informed excellent targets have been generated at its Donovan 2 project in Zacatecas, from an IP survey, coincident with previous geophysical and sampling results. The two stronger targets comprise the North zone prospect known as Cerro de la Cruz where ground magnetics, gravity and IP geophysics all returned coincident anomalies and the Central prospect known as Los Alomos where historical anomalous rock samples and the ground IP geophysics returned coincident anomalies.
- Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. released financial results for the first quarter of 2020, without elaborating on figures from its Mexican operations. “As at March 31, 2020, the Company had $88.5 million of cash and cash equivalents…. and the company’s $150 M bank credit facility had been fully drawn”. AISC per silver ounce in the San Jose mine in Oaxaca was $10.70.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. released its operating and financial results for the first quarter of 2010, including figures from its Mexican operations. The El Castillo Complex in Durango produced 28,508 Oz AuEq at a cash cost of $941, with 5.28 M tonnes of waste moved and 5.63 M tonnes of ore mined and 4.68 M tonnes placed on the heaps @ 0.44 gpt Au, producing 27,270 Oz Au, 99 K Oz Ag. La Colorada in Sonora produced 13,028 Oz AuEq at a cash cost of $1,021 per Oz Au, with 4.68 M tonnes of waste moved, and 947 K tonnes of ore mined and 966 K tonnes loaded to the leach pads @ 0.35 gpt Au, producing 13,028 Oz Au, 54.2 K Oz Ag. The company is preparing to restart activities at its two operating units as restrictions to work on the Coronavirus emergency ease.
- Sierra Metals Inc. presented consolidated results for the first quarter of 2020. The Bolivar Mine processed a record 377.5 K tonnes in Q1 2020, representing a 43% increase over Q1 2019. Copper represents 40% of Sierra Metals’ revenue in Q1 2020, as the Company is trending towards copper as its main product as a percentage of revenue. During the period 8,048 m were drilled at Bolivar, Chihuahua, whereas at Cusi, also in Chihuahua, 2,172 m were drilled. The company held 36.9 M in cash and cash equivalents by the end of the period, with $49.2 M in working capital.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. announced production results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019, ended April 30, 2020, at its San Martin mine in Queretaro. During the quarter 56.k tonnes were milled @ 1.65 gpt Au, 25.3 gpt Ag, recovering 88.7% Au, 55.8% Ag, to produce 2,925 Oz AuEq.
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. commenced preparations to resume mining and milling operations at the Zimapan mine in Hidalgo on May 19, 2020.
- Great Panther Mining Ltd. intends to restart operations in Mexico this month in accordance with the Mexican federal government’s announcements of the lifting of restrictions that have suspended mining operations in the country since the start of April (Topia, Durango).
- Excellon Resources Inc. will postpone the filing of its interim financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis for the first quarter of 2020, relying on the blanket relief granted by Ontario Instrument 51-502, which provides for up to a 45-day extension for periodic filings (Platosa, Durango).
- Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. presented first quarter 2020 results. At San José, in Oaxaca, 246.8 K tonnes were milled, averaging 2,837 tonnes per day (tpd) @ 216 gpt Ag, 1.33 gpt Au, with recoveries of 92% Ag, 91% Au, to produce 1.57 M OZ Ag, 9,630 Oz Au at production cash cost $7.50 per Oz Ag and AISC $10.70 per Oz Ag.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. announced consolidated financial results for the first quarter 2020. Restart procedures are being taken after the announcement of the lifting of the Coronavirus emergency for mining companies, to start work by 18 May, 2020. The company ended the quarter with $145.2 M in cash and cash equivalents.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. plans to resume full production at its El Limón Guajes mining complex in Guerrero by the end of this month, following the designation of mining as an essential activity by the government.
- Capstone Mining Corp. announces it has safely started ramping up operational activities at its Cozamin mine in Zacatecas, following the Mexican federal government announcement on May 12, 2020 that mining is an essential industry.
- Alamos Gold Inc. expects to begin ramping up full operations at its Mulatos mine in Sonora on May 18, 2020. Following the Mexican government’s declaration of mining as an essential activity.
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. advised that the Mexican Government has instructed that all mining is to be considered an essential service, allowing the Plomosas mine and Aldama concentrator to re-commence operations from 18 May 2020. It is expected the ramp up back to full production will be completed by the end of May.
- Newmont Corp. expects to begin safely ramping up operations at Peñasquito in Mexico on May 18 following the government’s designation of mining as an essential activity. “On April 22, Peñasquito reached a definitive agreement with the San Juan de Cedros community (one of 25 neighboring communities) in Zacatecas, Mexico on land use, water availability, infrastructure and social investments. This includes access to 10,000 hectares for exploration and operational purposes, and resolves all outstanding issues with the community. The agreement was reached with the support of Mexico’s Ministry of Interior (SEGOB) and representatives of the State of Zacatecas and was signed by elected representatives of the Cedros community. The agreement is expected to be ratified in a General Assembly once COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings are lifted by the government. The agreement expressly states that any future disputes will be resolved through dialogue and free of blockades”.
- Canuc Resources Corp. closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $100 K (San Javier, Sonora).
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. announced its shares have been approved to commence trading on the OTCQB. “This listing on the OTCQB compliments the Company’s listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange” (San Martin, Queretaro).
- Americas Gold and Silver Corp. closed its previously announced bought deal financing with a syndicate of underwriters co‐led by Cormark SecuritiesInc. and Desjardins Capital Markets for aggregate gross proceeds of C$28.75 M (Cosalá, Sinaloa).
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. has established an on-line application for shareholders to subscribe for the new shares under the Entitlement Offer 23 April 2020 (Plomosas, Chihuahua).
- Silver Viper Minerals Corp. entered into a letter of engagement with Eight Capital and Red Cloud Securities Inc. for a private placement aiming to raise C$5 M in gross proceeds (La Virginia, Sonora).
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. granted incentive stock options to certain directors, officers, and consultants to purchase up to an aggregate of 1.38 M shares of the Company (Plomosas, Sinaloa).
- Minaurum Gold Inc. announced that, concurrent with its C$5 M marketed private placement announced on May 4, 2020, the company has agreed to issue up to a further 10.5 M units to raise additional C$4.2 M in gross proceeds (Alamo Silver, Sonora).
- Endeavour Silver Corp. entered into a sales agreement with BMO Capital Markets, CIBC Capital Markets, H.C. Wainwright & Co., TD Securities, Roth Capital Partners, B. Riley FBR and A.G.P., to sell common shares to raise gross proceeds of up to $23 M. No offers of sales of common shares will be made on the TSX or other trading markets in Canada. Net proceeds will be used to advance its Terronera project in Jalisco.
- Mithril Resources Ltd. advised that its 1 for 1 Non-Renounceable Rights Issue closed at 5:00pm on 14 May 2020 (Copalquin, Durango).
- Oceanus Resources Corp. announced that it is changing its name to Silver Tiger Metals Inc. on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company also announced a non-brokered private placement to raise up to $675 K (El Tigre, Sonora).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- SilverCrest Metals Inc. is to restart exploration and development work at its Las Chispas Project in Sonora by mid-May, using strict COVID-19 protocols. The company also released in-fill and expansion drill results for the BaBi Vista vein at Las Chispas. The updated high-grade footprint is 400 m along vein strike by 200 m in height, grading 20.26 gpt Au and 1,590 gpt Ag over an average true width of 1.0 m, and open in most directions. Highlighted results from the last drill holes comprise true width intervals of 0.6 m @ 3.29 gpt Au, 216 gpt Ag; 0.9 m @ 12.44 gpt Au, 1,103 gpt Ag; 0.6 m @ 1.17 gpt Au, 93 gpt Ag; 0.4 m @ 2.0 gpt Au, 232 gpt Ag; 1.8 m @ 78.83 gpt Au, 5,235 gpt Ag; 0.4 m @ 3.12 gpt Au, 302 gpt Ag; 0.4 m @ 2.05 gpt Au, 148 gpt Ag; 0.4 m @ 4.72 gpt Au, 401 gpt Ag.
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. reported high-grade drill results at its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. The results are from holes in the Plomosas mine area, drilled by previous operators of the property. Highlighted true width (TW) intervals comprise 1.74 m @ 118 gpt Ag, 30.64 gpt Au, 0.1% Pb, 0.1% Zn; 1.30 m @ 4.75 gpt Au; 4.23 m @ 57 gpt Ag, 1.35 gpt Au, 3.7% Zn, 3.3% Pb; 3.13 m @ 31 gpt Ag, 4.54 gpt Au, 5.8% Zn, 5.2% Pb; 4.96 m @ 52 gpt Ag, 2.60 gpt Au; 0.7% Zn, 3.1% Pb; 0.98 m @ 850 gpt Ag, 0.14 gpt Au, 0.8% Zn, 1.2% Pb; 14.09 m @ 185 gpt Ag, 0.07 gpt Au, 0.6% Zn, 0.8% Pb; 2.70 m @ 240 gpt Ag, 0.05 gpt Au, 0.9% Zn, 1.6% Pb; 3.42 m @ 240 gpt Ag, 0.05 gpt Au, 1.0% Zn, 1.6% Pb; 4.28 m @ 760 gpt Ag, 2.3% Zn, 1.5% Pb; 12.15 m @ 225 gpt Ag, 0.43 gpt Au, 3.0% Zn, 3.6% Pb; 1.45 m @ 1,659 gpt Ag, 0.19 gpt Au, 1.2% Zn, 3.7% Pb; 1.93 m @ 96 gpt Ag, 4.11 gpt Au, 0.8% Zn, 5.9% Pb.
- GoGold Resources Inc. released assay results from 15 diamond drill holes at the Los Ricos South project in Jalisco. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 14.6 m @ 1.64 gpt Au, 136 gpt Ag; 15.7 m @ 0.52 gpt Au, 22 gpt Ag; 18.0 m @ 0.65 gpt Au, 85 gpt Ag; 19.0 m @ 0.89 gpt Au, 208 gpt Ag (including 5.4 m @ 2.28 gpt Au, 559 gpt Ag and 3.2 m @ 3.13 gpt Au, 858 gpt Ag); 11.5 m @ 0.86 gpt Au, 61 gpt Ag.
- Golden Minerals Co. announced the filing on SEDAR of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and accompanying technical report for its Velardeña properties in Durango.
- Sierra Metals Inc. filed a 43-101 compliant technical report on the Bolivar mine in Chihuahua. “There are no material differences in the Report from those results disclosed in the Company’s press release dated March 31, 2020”.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Vizsla Resources Corp. renegotiated the terms of the Rio Panuco option agreement, extending it for one more year. The Silverstone option period has been extended into 2022 and the total Panuco mining district option payments between now and the beginning of 2022 will be reduced by over USD$4.1 M, from USD$5.63 M to USD$1.48 M. The total Panuco and Silverstone agreement is for USD$43.08 M in seven years.
- Sonoro Metals Corp. withdraws Cerro Caliche project development report filed on April 28, 2020, as a result of a review by the British Columbia Securities Commission. “The Company is amending the Report to correct problematic technical disclosures, and expects to publish a revised version in the next week” (Cerro Caliche, Sonora).
- Discovery Metals Corp. announced that Mr. Jose Vizquerra has resigned as a director of the company to focus on other professional commitments (Cordero, Chihuahua).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Minera San Julián (Fresnillo PLC), donated 20 tonnes of non-perishable food to the community of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, as well as 2,300 face masks.
- Capstone has donated approximately $150,000 pesos in Hacienda Nueva, Zacatecas. Food supplies and sanitizers are among the articles delivered.
- Fresnillo PLC is to finish construction of the Covid-19 Hospital, in Fresnillo, Zacatecas by the end of May.
- Fresnillo PLC donates medical equipment to the IMSS and General Hospital in Caborca, Sonora. The supplies include face masks, disinfectant gel and N95 face masks.
- Endeavour Silver informed that during 2019 70% of all training involved safety education; received the “Caso de Plata” safety award at Guanacevi, Durango; Completed an average of 47 hours of training for each employee; supported 118 students with scholarships; sponsored several events to engage with over 1,000 locals in communities near Terronera, in Jalisco; fully funded a multi-use recreational facility for El Cubo community; planted 51,000 trees in reforestation projects and paid $5 M in various taxes.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. informed it has delivered its 3,000th academic scholarship in Mexico, has initiated a local program with the community of Cerro del Gallo for the cleaning of the San Antón de las Minas River in Guanajuato, provided 150 food support pantries for families in San Juan del Rio in Durango and held the opening ceremony for the Argonaut Community House in La Colorada, Sonora, a center that the company donated to the community that is open for local stakeholders to interact with Argonaut team members and attend courses.
- Peña Colorada donated 1,000 lab coats for doctors and 1,000 K95 face masks in Colima.
- La Cantera Desarrollos Mineros installed the community lunch room in the El Encino neighborhood, in Guanajuato. The objective, partnering with the Municipality, is to assist the most needed with food supplies during the Coronavirus emergency; more than 60 families were serviced on the first day of operation.
- First Majestic delivered 900 health sets to inhabitants of Tayoltita, Durango.
- Newmont and the Zacatecas State signed an agreement to fight Covid-19. The company already has an integrated plan accepted by the Mining Sub-Secretariat, with a health perimeter and a protocol to follow should a Covid-19 positive case presents in the area. More than 24 tonnes of food has been delivered to persons in need on 25 communities, and Mx$5.25 M have been invested in the strengthening of hospital capacity; furthermore, 500 Covid-19 test kits were donated to the Health Secretariat and ventilators and screens are to be delivered to the desert health clinics.
- Grupo Mexico and Cemza donate medical equipment in Campeche. The two groups donated medical equipment and supplies to the General Hospital “María del Socorro Quiroga Aguilar”.
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: Quartz-graphite vein, Hermosillo District, Sonora. Picture by Jorge Cirett.