The Mining and Exploration News in Mexico: Highlights on the First Week of July, 2020.

 

Visible Gold in a high sulphidation epithermal system

By Miguel A Heredia

During the twenty seven week of the year (June 29th to July 5tt, 2020), at least 41 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, with eleven disclosing deals and corporate issues, nine announcing financial rounds, eight commenting on Mexican issues, six discussing on social issues, three informing on exploration results, two reporting on resources and developments, and two communicating production and financial results. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Miguel Angel Lucero Olivas, Senator of the Labour Party (PT), submitted for the consideration of the plenary, a proposal with Point of Agreement at the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in regards to the 34 constitutional controversies promoted by the Government of the state of Chihuahua and various municipalities of Chihuahua, Sonora, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí, regarding the mining Fund. Gerardo Duran Alarcon, Director of the Chihuahua Mining Cluster estimated that the mining industry projects a drop between 17-20% in production and 10% in exports during the current year compared to 2019.  Francisco Quiroga Fernandez reported that authorities of the Undersecretariat of Mines of the Ministry of Economy (SE), have been carrying out verification tours to corroborate compliance with health protocols. Alfredo Tijerina Guajardo, Director of the Mining Development Trust Fund (Fideicomiso de Fomento Minero) (FIFOMI) announced that it is granting resources to support exploitation work of small and medium sized mining firms. Javier Villarreal Gamez, Undersecretary of Labor of the National Committee of the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM) stated that the government must give security to investment in mining. Francisco Quiroga Fernandez, Undersecretary of Mining stated that the Mining Industry in Mexico has made a great effort to maintain jobs and wages during the pandemic. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), mining and metallurgical production fell 25.1% in April 2020 compared to April 2019.  ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Sonoro Metals announced plans for a 6,000m 2020 Phase 1 drill program at its Cerro Caliche project. In Chihuahua, Radius reported high-grade surface sampling results from its Amalia project. In Durango, Canasil announced the commencement of an initial core drill program to test Ag-Au targets at its Nora project.  ON MINING, Consolidated Zinc advised that it has returned to pre-COVID-19 production rates at its Plomosas mine and Aldama processing plant in Chihuahua. Gold Resource announced the milestones of a decade of production, generating over $1 billion in revenue and distributing over $114M in shareholder dividends from its Oaxaca Mining Unit in Mexico. ON FINANCING, Golden Goliath announced a private placement to raise gross proceeds of up to $2.5M (San Timoteo project, Chihuahua). Mag Silver entered into a sell agreement for gross proceeds of up to USD $50M (Juanicipio project, Zacatecas).  San Marco increased its previously announced non-brokered private placement to up to $3.5M (Chunibas project, Sonora). Oroco closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $1.65M (Santo Tomas project, Sinaloa). Radius received from Pan American a payment of USD $150K in partial fulfillment of the Amalia JV agreement. Telson increased its previously announced non-brokered private placement to up to $1.4M (Tahuehueto project, Durango). VanGold concluded its warrant acceleration bonus program in which 7,159,500 warrants were exercised for gross proceeds of $1,715,950 (Pinguico project, Guanajuato). Excellon signed a binding term sheet for a fully subscribed financing of CAD $8M through the private placement of secured convertible debentures of the company. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Prime Mining released surface and underground sampling results from its Los Reyes project in Sinaloa. Endeavour reported drill results from the El Curso property at its Guanacevi mine in Durango. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Discovery Metals reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders (Cordero project, Chihuahua). Magna Gold granted stock options to certain officers, directors and consultants of the company (San Francisco Mine, Sonora). One World Lithium provided a default status report to approve a temporary management cease trade order (Salar del Diablo project, Baja California Norte). Silver Dollar appointed Mr. Perry Durning and Mr. Frank (Bud) Hillemeyer as technical advisors to the Company (La Joya property, Durango). Silver One announced the initiation of trading on the OTCQX (Peñasco Quemado project, Sonora). Argonaut and Alio completed merger to create a North American, diversified precious metals producing company (El Castillo mine, Durango).  Brigadier announced the appointment of Oscar Mendoza as special advisor Cuatro Ciénegas project, Coahuila). Canuc reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders and appointed a new member to its board of directors (San Javier project, Sonora). Mammoth reminded shareholders of the granting of a Management Cease Trade Order (Tenoriba project, Chihuahua).  Sierra Metals reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders (Cusi mine, Chihuahua). Defiance confirmed that the Company’s management is unaware of any material change in the Company’s operations that would account for the recent increase in market activity (San Acacio project, Zacatecas). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Agnico Eagle launched its policy “Stay Safe Stay Watchful”, as countries where the company is operating are now cautiously emerging from the global blockade. Minera Penmont (Fresnillo plc) meets extraction regulations with new technology and innovative tools (La Herradura mine, Sonora). Minera Peña Colorada delivered the Medical Care Unit to the General Hospital of Manzanillo in Colima state. The Grupo Mexico Foundation donated over 45,000 medical supplies to the Zacatecas Health Secretariat, and three pressure ventilators to the regional hospital of Nueva Rosita, Coahuila. Minera san Julian (Fresnillo plc), delivered additional 4,000 face mask to the Municipal Council of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua.

 ON MEXICO ISSUES

  • Miguel Angel Lucero Olivas, Senator of the Labour Party (PT), submitted for the consideration of the plenary, a proposal with Point of Agreement at the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in regards to the 34 constitutional controversies promoted by the Government of the state of Chihuahua and various municipalities of Chihuahua, Sonora, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí, regarding the Mining Fund. The formal name of the well-known “Mining Fund” is the Fund for the Development of Mining Production Areas and is administered through of a financial instrument established by the 2019 Income Law, article 25 section IX. The total amount collected is MXP $4,320M.  The distribution will be made as follows:  80% (Fund for the Development of Mining Production Zones), that is to say approximately MXP $3,500M; 10% for the Ministry of the Economy (SE) and 10% for the Federal Government. (Note:  The SE has given its 10% to the Federal Government since last year.) The Ministry of Economy will distribute the 2018 Mining Fund resource directly or in coordination through an agreement with states, municipalities and other dependencies, and according to the guidelines.
  • Gerardo Duran Alarcon, Director of the Chihuahua Mining Cluster estimated that the mining industry projects a drop between 17-20% in production and around 10% in exports during the current year compared to 2019. He noted that expectations are given by the cessation of activities that the industry had due to the contingency, as well as by the exercise of a fiscal framework that does not favor investment, as well as for political, economic and insecurity issues. The fiscal framework is not new, since it arose from the 2013 tax reform in which it was decided to cancel the deductibility of investment in exploration. Virtually since then, investment started to slow down and this year it has practically stopped. The director said that exploration work involves a high amount of investment in dollars and if it does not obtain the expected results, it practically loses one hundred percent and that makes it unattractive to bet on the search for more deposits.
  • Francisco Quiroga Fernandez reported that authorities of the Undersecretariat of Mines of the Ministry of Economy (SE), have been carrying out verification tours in mining companies to corroborate compliance with health protocols in order to ensure that the restart of economic activity does not undermine the effort made by the authorities of different levels of government and society, as a whole, to face the challenge of COVID-19. He stated that verification tours have allowed corroborating that many companies are showing a great sense of co-responsibility. They are working together with health authorities, municipal presidents and workers’ representatives to reinforce the capacity for medical attention.
  • Alfredo Tijerina Guajardo, Director of the Mining Development Trust Fund (Fideicomiso de Fomento Minero) (FIFOMI) announced that it is granting resources to support exploitation work of small and medium sized mining firms. FIFOMI is focused mainly on providing low-interest rate loans to companies in the sector, basically those considered small, with annual turnover of up to MXP $200M, and medians with income of up to MXP $900M. He added that in mining there are three major phases to which financing is provided: exploration, development and exploitation, and that FIFOMI concentrates on the latter, since it is considered that the first two phases require so-called risk capital.
  • Javier Villarreal Gamez, Undersecretary of Labor of the National Committee of the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM) stated that the government must give security to investment in mining. It is necessary that the Federal Government encourages, promotes and gives security to private investment in mining, through reforms, especially in fiscal matters, if necessary, because it would generate certainty, contrary to the prevailing situation at the moment. He stressed that mining is essential for national development, since it represents 3 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and constitutes 8% of industrial GDP. He considered it difficult to forecast the pace of mining recovery in the remainder of 2020 and the prospects for 2021, but assured that the bet of all the sectors involved should be in favor of this industry remaining active. Noting that mining generates 370 thousand direct jobs and 2.3 million indirect jobs, which generates a production chain of 2.6 million total jobs, he commented that this sector is the source of raw materials for practically all industries in the country, from that of medications up to aerospace, just to name a few. He stressed that the jobs generated by mining are well paid, between 80 and 100% higher than in the rest of the industries, with contributions of profits that also far exceed the average of companies in other areas. Javier Villarreal, also general Secretary of the National Union of Workers of the Mining-Metallurgical Industry of the CTM, explained that the authorities must take actions to keep that sector growing.
  • Francisco Quiroga Fernandez, Undersecretary of Mining stated that, one month after the Mining Industry in Mexico has reactivated its activities, the mining sector has made a great effort to stay afloat in the face of adversity. He highlighted the effort that the sector has made to maintain the jobs and full wages of its workers. He also pointed out that only 75% of the workers have returned to the mines, while 25% more remain working from their homes, under the strict implementation of safe work and coordinated work with local authorities.
  • According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), mining and metallurgical production fell 25.1% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, this caused by the suspension of operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This index that considers the activities of extraction, processing, smelting and refining of metallic and non-metallic minerals, decreased by 24.4% based on seasonally adjusted figures in the fourth month of 2020 compared to March. The INEGI reported that the production of non-coking coal decreased by 85.4% in an annual variation, while the production of lead decreased 53.3%, zinc 49%, gold 40.9%, coke 36.1%, pellets of iron 22.5%, silver 21.1% silver, fluorite 14.4%, gypsum and copper 10.8%. In contrast, sulfur was increased by 1.2%.

ON EXPLORATION

  • Sonoro Metals Corp., announced plans for a 6,000m 2020 Phase 1 drill program to test 20 targets at its Cerro Caliche project in Sonora. This program is part of the 50,000m of core and RC drilling announced previously by the company. The aim of the Phase 1 drill program is to test previously drilled, shallow, Au-bearing epithermal mineralization for the presence of deeper high-grade Au mineralization at elevations of 200-300m below surface. The Phase 1 drilling is expected to take up to five months.
  • Radius Gold Inc., reported high grade surface sampling results from its Amalia project in Chihuahua. Surface sampling from the untested California target have returned grades of up to 1.5 m @ 27 g/t Au. Radius has resumed the processing of the permits for stage 4 drilling at its Amalia project and expects to obtain them within the next six weeks.
  • Canasil Resources Inc., announced the commencement of an initial core drill program to test Ag-Au targets at its Nora project, which consists of structurally-controlled epithermal veins. The program will be focused on the undrilled Candy vein and Canasil plans to drill four sections, spaced over a strike length of 500m, all below high-grade Ag-Au samples from vein outcrops and rock dumps from earlier underground workings.

ON MINING

  • Consolidated Zinc Limited, advised that it has returned to pre-COVID-19 production rates at its Plomosas mine and Aldama processing plant in Chihuahua. Based on June production figures, the company anticipated the third quarter will be a better operational quarter than it has seen this year.
  • Gold Resource Corporation, the milestones of a decade of production, generating over $1 billion in revenue and distributing over $114 million in shareholder dividends from its Oaxaca Mining Unit in Mexico. “The Company announced commercial production from its Oaxaca Mining Unit (OMU) on July 1, 2010 estimating the Arista Mine’s life of mine at a minimum of nine years while only having three to four years of internally delineated resource at that time. Today, July 1, 2020, marks the milestone of one full decade of production from the OMU exceeding the Company’s then nine-year 2010 mine life estimate. With approximately four years of current proven and probable reserves, there is a strong possibility of a second decade of production ahead for the OMU”.

ON FINANCING

  • Golden Goliath Resources Ltd., announced a private placement to raise gross proceeds of up to $2.5M. The financing will consists of a combination of flow-through units priced at $0.20 with a half warrant priced at $0.30 and non flow-through units priced at $0.15 with a full warrant priced at $0.30 (San Timoteo project, Chihuahua).
  • Mag Silver Corp., entered into a sales agreement to raise gross proceeds of up to USD $50M.The sale of common shares will be made through “at the market distributions”. The company plans to use the net proceeds to fund the completion of construction of its Juanicipio project in Zacatecas, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.
  • San Marco Resources Inc., increased its previously announced flow-through non-brokered private placement from $2M to up to $3.5M, due to strong investor demand (Chunibas project, Sonora).
  • Oroco Resource Corporation, closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $1.65M. Net proceeds will be used to advance its Santo Tomas project in Sinaloa, including site preparation for an exploration drill program, the acquisition of surface rights and permits, a 3D IP geophysical survey, and general corporate purposes.
  • Radius Gold Inc., received from Pan American Silver Corp., a payment of USD $150K in partial fulfillment of the Amalia project JV agreement.
  • Telson Mining Corporation, increased its previously announced non-brokered private placement and now intends to rise $1.4M. Net proceeds will be used to advance the construction of its Tahuehueto mine in Durango and for general working capital.
  • VanGold Mining Corp., concluded its warrant acceleration bonus program announced May 27, 2020 and June 12, 2020 for share purchase warrants ranted in connection with the Company’s 2019 non-brokered private placement financing. In total, 17,159,500 warrants were exercised under the bonus program for 17,159,500 common shares at a price of $0.10 per share for gross proceeds of $1,715,950 (Pinguico project, Guanajuato).
  • Excellon Resources Inc., signed a binding term sheet for a fully subscribed financing of CAD $8M through the private placement of secured convertible debentures of the company. The proceeds will be used to repay the USD $6M bridge loan with Sprott Private Resource Lending II (La Platosa mine, Durango).

ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Prime Mining Corp., released surface and underground sampling results from the Tahonitas deposit within its Los Reyes property in Sinaloa. Significant results were obtained at TR-1 with 3.24 g/t Au and 46 g/t Ag over 10.5m, including 8.37 g/t Au and 55 g/t Ag over 3m; TR-2 with 0.72 g/t Au and 18 g/t Ag over 30m, including 1.86 g/t Au and 18 g/t Ag over 7.5M; and TR-3b with 1.78 g/t Au and 71 g/t Ag over 63m, including 11.68 g/t Au and 334 g/t Ag over 4.5m and 5.7 g/t Au and 292 g/t Ag over 6m. The current Tahonitas deposit is modeled as part of a conceptual open pit that includes the Zapote South deposit.
  • Endeavour Silver Corp., reported drill results from the El Curso property at its Guanacevi mine in Durango. A total of 18 drill holes were collared on the Santa Cruz vein, of which 12 hit high grades over mineable widths. Drilling highlights include the following intersections: hole UCM-27 with 3.25 g/t Au and 1,085 g/t Ag (1,410 g/t AgEq) over a true width (TW) of 10m, including 14.88 g/t Au and 5,500 g/t Ag (6,988 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.5m; hole UCM-26 with 1.87 g/t Au and 762 g/t Ag (948 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 5.1m, including 3.5 g/t Au and 2,026 g/t Ag (2,376 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.6m; and UCM-25 with 1.43 g/t Au and 986 g/t Ag (1,129 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 4.8m, including 7.3 g/t Au and 7,451 g/t Ag (8,181 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.5m.

ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES

  • Discovery Metals Corp., reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders (Cordero project, Chihuahua).
  • Magna Gold Corp., granted a total of 2, 250,000 incentive stock options to purchase common shares of the company to certain officers, directors and consultants of the company. Such options are exercisable at a price of $0.98 for a period of five years (San Francisco mine, Sonora).
  • One World Lithium Inc., provided a default status report to approve a temporary management cease trade order on the basis that it would be unable to file its annual consolidated financial statements, accompanying management’s discussion and analysis and related CEO and CFO certifications, for the year ended December 31, 2019 (Salar del Diablo project, Baja California Norte).
  • Silver Dollar Resources Inc., appointed Mr. Perry Durning and Mr. Frank (Bud) Hillemeyer as technical advisors to the Company. Perry and Bud formed La Cuesta International Inc. in 1993 and are recognized for their outstanding record of grassroots discoveries, particularly the San Sebastian, San Agustin, and Pitarrilla deposits in Durango, Camino Rojo in Zacatecas, and Los Gatos in Chihuahua.
  • Silver One Resources Inc., announced the initiation of trading on the OTCQX. The OTCQX Best Market provides value and convenience to U.S. investors, brokers and institutions seeking to trade Silver One shares under the ticker symbol SLVRF (Peñasco Quemado project, Sonora).
  • Argonaut Gold Inc., and Alio Gold Inc., completed the business combination to create a North American, diversified precious metals producing company with a strong portfolio of growth assets. Argonaut common shares will continue trading on the TSX, and Alio shares are expected to cease trading on the NYSE American on July 1, 2020 and be de-listed from the TSX after close of business on July 3, 2020 (El Castillo mine, Durango).
  • Brigadier Gold Limited, announced the appointment of Oscar Mendoza as special advisor to review and generate opportunities in Mexico that align with Brigadier’s plan for growth. (Cuatro Ciénegas project, Coahuila).
  • Canuc Resources Corporation, reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders and appointed a new member of its board of directors (San Javier project, Sonora).
  • Mammoth Resources Inc., reminded shareholders of the granting of a Management Cease Trade Order (Tenoriba project, Chihuahua). “The company found it prudent to employ this Exemption, Instrument 51-502 which enables Mammoth excemptive relief to delay the filing of its audited annual financial statements, the accompanying management’s discussion and analysis, as well as the associated CEO and CFO certifications for the year ended January 31, 2019, due June 1, 2020 and that these filings are expected to be completed within the 45 day period, July 15, 2020”.
  • Sierra Metals Inc., reported results from its annual general meeting of shareholders (Cusi mine, Chihuahua).
  • Defiance Silver Corp., confirmed that the Company’s management is unaware of any material change in the Company’s operations that would account for the recent increase in market activity (San Acacio project, Zacatecas).

ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, launched its policy “Stay Safe Stay Watchful”, as countries where the company operates are cautiously emerging from the global blockade. The company is helping communities and employees to stay safe as they embrace the “new normal.” In order to minimize the spread of this virus. At its Pinos Altos and la India mines in Sonora, Mexico, the decision was made to have the mine’s doctors work at the health centers in the surrounding communities, so they can examine local patients and make home visits to ensure that vulnerable members of the community receive adequate medical care.
  • Minera Penmont (Fresnillo plc), announced that it meets extraction regulations with new technology and innovative tools that allow the protection of the environment, the safety of employees in production plants and the protection of communities and their environment. Minera Penmont has the cyanide management permit from its creation and the origin of its mining activity, which was granted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). In addition, it has the authorization of COFEPRIS and all the permits requested by the General Law of Ecological Balance and Protection of the Environment (LGEEPA). In addition to the previous legislation, Fresnillo plc joined, since 2011, the Cyanide Code, an international voluntary program developed by the International Institute of Cyanide Management (ICMI). This Code was established in 2002 and aims to reduce the potential exposure of workers and communities to harmful concentrations of cyanide; In addition, ICMI conducts audits of processes to recertify Minera Penmont’s credentials every three years; meanwhile, the company exclusively purchases cyanide from manufacturers certified by the Institute. Based on this program, the company works under the following criteria: protect communities and the environment during cyanide transport; protect workers’ health and safety from exposure by this substance and train workers and emergency response personnel in its handling.
  • Consorcio Minero Peña Colorada S.A. de C.V., delivered the Medical Care Unit to the General Hospital of Manzanillo in Colima state. With an investment of MXP $ 4.6M the company carried out the transformation of this 1,200 m2 space, which consisted of conditioning and equipping 3 completely separate and independent medical care modules: general and specialty medical consultation, hospitalization area for men and women, and a dedicated space for major emergencies and observation. This facility has the capacity to serve up to 108 patients a day, originating from Manzanillo, Minatitlán and neighboring municipalities of Jalisco.
  • The Grupo Mexico Foundation, donated approximately 45,000 medical supplies to the Zacatecas Health Secretariat, and three pressure ventilators to the regional hospital of Nueva Rosita, Coahuila. The material received in Zacatecas was: 4,500 masks and 4,337 protective glasses, 4,000 aprons, 6,400 mouth guards, 32 goggles and 25,200 monitor electrodes. Also, nitrile gloves, antiseptic soap and intubation cannulas. All this will help the health authorities to face the current health contingency. In Coahuila, three pressure ventilators were delivered for the care of patients with COVID-19, although the medical director of the hospital pointed out that at the moment there has been no need to use these mechanical ventilators.
  • Minera San Julian (Fresnillo plc), delivered a third package with additional 4,000 face mask to the Municipal Council of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, which are made by a sewing workshop in the town of Yerbitas. This personal protective equipment will be distributed to the population of the different towns of the municipality, with the objective of carrying out preventive work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.

On the picture above, visible gold (VG) in a high sulphidation epithermal system in a prospect in Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Miguel A Heredia.

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