The Mining and Exploration News in Mexico: Highlights on the Third Week of August, 2020

By Jorge Cirett

During the 34th week of the year (August 17th to August 23rd, 2020), at least 36 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. To note, twelve of those were either opening or closing rounds of financing, several presenting oversubscriptions. Even with the difficulties to assign the total amount to any given week, the announcements on this period add up to $38.3 M and C$90.5 M, standing out Chesapeake’s $20 M and Americas Silver C$35 M. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Guanajuato Mining Cluster is being consolidated; The MIA on Camino Rojo in Zacatecas has been approved; A new Mining Museum opens in Zimapan, Hidalgo; Francisco Quiroga, Mining Undersecretary stressed community acceptance is vital for mining companies; Minera Peñasquito and the Cedros Ejido have signed a new agreement; Foreign investment decreased during the first half of 2020; Neida Patricia Madrid, is the first large shovel female operator in Mexico; The Mexican mining industry lost 4 billion dollars in two months. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Tarachi Gold released assay results from trenching at its Tarachi project. In Zacatecas, VanGold Mining accessed the #6 level on the Pinguico mine. Advance Gold is extending the IP survey at Tabasqueña. ON MINING, Odyssey Exploration continues to seek a favorable resolution on the litigation to obtain the development permit for its offshore Exploraciones Oceanica project in Baja California Sur. Americas Silver informed the illegal blockade at its Cosalá complex in Sinaloa was lifted, and the process for new union elections is coming. Mexus Gold is acquiring more heavy equipment for its Santa Elena mine in Sonora. Premier Gold informed of positive cash flow under its new reduced production plan at Mercedes, in Sonora. ON FINANCING, twelve companies made announcements regarding the opening or closing of financing rounds: Golden Tag ($7 M), VanGold Mining ($3.97 M), Southern Silver Exploration (C$14 M), Sable Resources (C$9 M), Tarachi Gold (C$9.49 M), Minera Alamos (C$13 M), Defiance Silver (C$7 M), Americas Silver (C$35 M), Chesapeake Gold ($20 M), Orex Minerals ($5.5 M), Monarca Minerals (C$3 M), Silver Spruce ($1.8 M). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Azure Minerals has sent samples for metallurgical studies from the Mesa de Plata deposit at its El Alacrán project in Sonora. Prime Mining released trench results from Los Reyes, in Sinaloa. Discovery Metals released drilling results from high-grade veins from its Cordero deposit in Chihuahua. Aura Minerals updated on exploration efforts at its Aranzazu project in Zacatecas. GoGold Resources released results from six more holes at Los Ricos North, in Jalisco. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Southern Silver entered into a definitive agreement with Electrum Global Holdings to acquire Electrum’s interest in the Cerro Las Minitas project in Durango. Evrim Resources and Renaissance Gold completed its merger and name change to Orogen Royalties. Sun River Gold has increased its ownership in an additional 5% NPI of the mine tailings project at El Oro, Estado de Mexico. VanGold Mining signed an agreement to re-purchase the underlying royalties on its El Pinguico project in Guanajuato. Zanzibar Gold appointed Sergio Trelles as special advisor to the board. Megastar Development amended the option agreement to extend the dates for expenditures at the Rama de Oro, Yautepec and Magdalena projects in Oaxaca. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Grupo Mexico, Fresnillo PLC, Peñoles, Minera Media Luna and Minera Fresnillo informed on donations and community involvement measures on the areas near their operations.

ON MEXICO ISSUES

  • The Guanajuato Mining Cluster is being consolidated. The move seeks to develop local industries as service providers for the mining industry.
  • SEMARNAT (the Mexican environmental agency) approved the Environmental Impact Report (MIA) of Orla Mining to develop the Camino Rojo Oxide project in Zacatecas.
  • The Mining Museum has been inaugurated in Zimapan, Hidalgo.
  • Francisco Quiroga, sub secretary of Mining, in the Camimex organized “Mining in the New Normality” forum, stressed that the main challenge for mining companies is to work on its acceptance by communities.
  • Minera Newmont announced the signing of the agreement between the company and the Cedros Ejido in Peñasquito, Zacatecas. To work free of illegal blockades, the company is to solve the damage to the El Socavon spring, build infrastructure to promote physical activities, develop a social area, build a civic plaza and revise the temporal occupation agreements of the mining unit at Cedros. To reach this accord 60 workshops were held with the mediation of the governor Alejandro Tello, Francisco Quiroga (Mining sub secretary) and the Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez.
  • The foreign direct investment in Mexico decreased during the first half of 2020 in sectors like mining, electricity and tourism. The economic crisis has coupled with changes in the regulation of the electricity generation market and the cancellation of already permitted developments like the investment by Constellation Brands and its Brewery in Baja California, to reduce the attraction to invest in the country.
  • First woman to be operator of a mechanical shovel in Mexico, Neida Patricia Madrid, Minera Buenavista del Cobre employee is the first woman to operate this 22 m high, 12 m wide machine used to load ore into off-road dump trucks. Born in Cananea, Sonora, Neida Patricia was selected for training after working for several years as dump truck operator.
  • The Mexican mining industry lost 4 billion dollars in two months, according to Francisco Quiroga, Mining Sub-secretary. Even so, he pointed that the industry has benefited of a 17% depreciation of the Mexican peso, and the rise on the price of metals, like silver in 58%, gold in 28%, and copper in 41%. Silver production was expected to reach 324 M Oz, but after the Coronavirus emergency lockdown, the outlook has been reduced to 270 million ounces, although with a much better price.  

ON EXPLORATION

  • VanGold Mining Corp. informed the continuation of its summer program at El Pinguico project in Zacatecas. Rehabilitation work has now safely accessed the #6 level, which is believed to have been inaccessible since 1913. Work is underway to access also the #5 and #7 levels. Sampling of the bottom of the backfill on the #7 level is expected to be possible.
  • Advance Gold Corp. informed four additional lines of induced polarization are being surveyed to increase detail on an anomaly at its Tabasqueña project in Zacatecas. Drilling continues, with samples to be sent to the lab once the current hole being drilled is completed.
  • Tarachi Gold Corp. released high-grade results from channel sampling at La Dura historic underground mine on the Jabalí concession pf the Tarachi project in Sonora. Rock-saw samples returned 62.55 m @ 6.34 gpt Au (including 2.0 m @ 42.65 gpt Au); 9.4 m @ 0.63 gpt Au; 4.35 m @ 4.42 gpt Au; 6.25 m @ 1.13 gpt Au.   

ON MINING

  • Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. reported results for the second quarter 2020. During the period, the focus has been seeking the advance of its offshore “Exploraciones Oceanicas” phosphate project in Baja California Sur. “Odyssey’s legal teams are working two separate, but concurrent processes, while Odyssey continues to work through diplomatic channels in attempts to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with Mexico .…… While we are hopeful an agreement will be reached, we must continue to pursue our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claim against Mexico to protect our shareholders’ rights”.
  • Americas Gold and Silver Corp. reported consolidated financial and operational results for the second quarter of 2020. The illegal blockade that had been in place at the Cosalá operations in Sinaloa since the end of January 2020 “has been resolved favourably without negotiation or compromise with those responsible for the illegal action…. The Company has worked with government authorities to secure a democratic election to ratify a legitimate union to represent its workers which is now set for September 9, 2020”. The company finished the earn-in agreement for the San Felipe project (Sonora) with Hochschild, by providing notice and agreeing to pay the remaining $3.75 M plus VAT in common shares.
  • Mexus Gold US. Informs on the acquisition of more mining equipment for its Santa Elena mine in Sonora, The company aims to increase its mine output to 500 tonnes per day to the leach pad.
  • Premier Gold Mines Ltd. Informed the Mercedes mine in Sonora is generating positive cash flow under its revised production plan. “Following a two-month suspension of operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mine operations resumed under a new simplified production plan developed by the Mercedes team….. Ongoing exploration at Mercedes has returned positive results and is prioritized on extending mine life through the growth of reserves in proximity to existing mine workings and the delineation of future resources at the San Martin and Marianas zones. Results to-date have been positive”.

ON FINANCING

  • Golden Tag Resources Ltd. closed its non-brokered private placement for total gross proceeds of $7.0 M. Eric Sprott participated with the acquisition of 10.7 M shares. A commission fee of C$345.7 K was paid to Red Cloud Securities Inc., PI Financial Corp., PowerOne Capital Markets Limited, Canaccord Genuity Corp. y Haywood Securities Inc. (San Diego-Velardeña, Durango).
  • VanGold Mining Ltd. closed the final second tranche of its non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $278.6 K, adding up to total gross proceeds of $3.97 M (El Pinguico, Zacatecas).
  • Southern Silver Exploration Corp. has closed a brokered placement for C$10 M and a non-brokered placement for gross proceeds of C$4 M. The company paid fees to agents of $312 K, 1.56 M compensation options, a corporate finance fee of $237.9 K and 1.19 M corporate finance options.
  • Sable Resources Ltd. increased the size of its private placement to up to C$9 M (Margarita and Vinata, Chihuahua).
  • Tarachi Gold Corp. closed its non-brokered private placement, which was oversubscribed, for gross proceeds of CAD$9.49 M (Tarachi Gold, Sonora).
  • Minera Alamos Inc. entered into an agreement with National Bank Financial Inc. on a bought deal private placement for gross proceeds of approximately C$10 M. Later on the week Minera Alamos produced another press release where the private placement was increased to C$13 M (Santana, Sonora).
  • Defiance Silver Corp. entered into an agreement with Red Cloud Securities Inc. for a private placement to raise up to C$7 M (San Acacio, Zacatecas).  
  • Americas Silver and Gold Corp. announced it is increasing the size of its previously announced offering from C$25 M to C$35 M in gross proceeds (Cosalá, Sinaloa).
  • Chesapeake Gold Corp. closed its previously announced non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $20 M. Eric Sprott acquired $12.5 M in shares, same that coupled with prior shares in his possession amount to 15.5% of the issued and outstanding shares of Chesapeake.  “The net proceeds from the Private Placement will be used to undertake Metates metallurgical test work and ongoing regional exploration and for general working capital” (Metates, Durango).
  • Orex Minerals Inc. closed its previously announced non-brokered private placement to Eric Sprott, for gross proceeds of $5.5 M. The investment by Eric Sprott represents 19.6% ownership in non-diluted basis, and 26.8% on partially diluted basis (Sandra, Durango).
  • Monarca Minerals Inc. announced the closing of the previously announced non-brokered private placement, for gross proceeds of C$3 M. Aggregate fees of C$212 K were paid, and 4.24 M of finders warrants issued (Tejamen, Durango).
  •  Silver Spruce Resources Inc. increased and closed its previously announced private placement, for gross proceeds of $1.8 M. Finders fees of $138.3 K and 165 K broker warrants were paid (Mezquite, Sonora).

ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Azure Minerals Ltd. has sent samples from its Mesa de Plata deposit at its Alacrán project (Sonora) for advanced metallurgic testwork. Previous metallurgic studies highlighted the presence of romeite, a silver-rich mineral that neither floats nor leaches, and subsequent studies point to that mineral being amenable to recovery by gravity separation methods. Three reverse circulation holes were drilled specifically to collect high-grade samples containing silver-rich romeite, which intercepted 10.5 m @ 805 gpt Ag (including 6 m @ 1,284 gpt Ag); 15.0 m @ 677 gpt Ag (including 3.0 m @ 1,832 gpt Ag); 10.5 m @ 774 gpt Ag. “If processing by a combination of gravity separation, flotation and leaching is successful, the Company is aiming for total silver recoveries of ~90%”.
  • Prime Mining Corp. reported results of ongoing surface sampling on the Los Reyes project, Sinaloa. One trench returned 42.0 m  (18.0 m estimated true width, or TW) @ 1.93 gpt Au, 26 gpt Ag, including 4.0 m TW @ 7.46 gpt Au, 98 gpt Ag; Other trenches returned: 16.5 m @ 1.28 gpt Au, 103 gpt Ag; 16.5 m @ 0.89 gpt Au, 14 gpt Ag; 42.0 m @ 0.85 gpt Au, 20 gpt Ag; 52.5 m @ 0.9 gpt Au, 13 gpt Ag; 33.0 m @ 1.0 gpt Au, 20 gpt Ag; 10.5 m @ 2.01 gpt Au, 7 gpt Ag.
  • Discovery Metals Corp. released results from four diamond drill holes targeting “extensive” veins at its Cordero project in Chihuahua. These holes are part of a 55,000 m program that commenced on September 2019, of which 22,600 m have been completed in 62 holes. Highlighted intercepts comprise: 4.7 m @ 635 gpt Ag, 0.15 gpt Au, 12.3% Pb, 5.3% Zn (including 1.9 m @ 1,035 gpt Ag, 0.06 gpt Au, 20.0% Pb, 6.4% Zn); 5.6 m @ 135 gpt Ag, 0.18 gpt Au, 2.7% Pb, 1.6% Zn); 1.3 m @ 587 gpt Ag, 0.67 gpt Au, 9.4% Pb, 2.4% Zn; 2.0 m @ 846 gpt Ag, 0.33 gpt Au, 2.6% Pb, 0.1% Zn; 0.7 m @ 433 gpt Ag, 0.12 gpt Au, 1.4% Pb, 7.1% Zn. Four rigs are currently operating at the site.
  • Aura Minerals Inc. provided an update of exploration at its Aranzazu mine in Zacatecas. “The deposit at Aranzazu consists of a tertiary age Gold-Copper-Silver skarn type mineralization subdivided in three main zones, Mexicana, Glory Hole and Cabrestante, striking 1.2 kilometers along a structure….”. During 2020 the company intends to perform infill drilling in the Glory Hole zone, an extension drill program at the Glory hole and Cabestrante zones and important exploration effort mainly in El Cobre skarn target 3 km NW form the Aranzazu mine. Highlighted TW drill intercept results comprise: 11.37 m @ 0.90 gpt Au, 0.88% Cu, 14 gpt Ag; 43.02 m @ 3.68 gpt Au, 6.46% Cu, 95 gpt Ag; 24.01 m @ 4.88 gpt Au, 8.6% Cu, 127 gpt Ag; 26.79 m @ 1.20 gpt Au, 2.09% Cu, 22 gpt Ag; 10.72 m @ 1.78 gpt Au, 1.12% Cu, 16 gpt Ag, 6.0 m @ 0.93 gpt Au, 1.70% Cu, 17 gpt Ag; 2.0 m @ 2.21 gpt Au, 2.94% Cu, 36 gpt Ag.
  • GoGold Resources Inc. released assay results from six more drill holes at La Trini deposit on its Los Ricos North project in Jalisco. Highlighted core-length intercepts comprise: 29.4 m @ 1.77 gpt Au, 122 gpt Ag (including 8.8 m @ 5.11 gpt Au, 286 gpt Ag); 28.4 m @ 1.07 gpt Au, 103 gpt Ag; 20.7 m @ 0.16 gpt Au, 58 gpt Ag; 25.2 m @ 0.25 gpt Au, 94 gpt Ag; 19.0 m @ 0.1 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag; 32.2 m @ 0.62 gpt Au, 79 gpt Ag; 15.7 m @ 0.38 gpt Au, 85 gpt Ag.

ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES

  • Southern Silver Exploration Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement with Electrum Global Holdings L.P. to acquire Electrum’s 60% interest in the Cerro Las Minitas project in Durango for current and future payments totaling US$15 M. On the closing of the date of the transaction the company has to pay US$5 M and issue US$2 M in shares.  
  • Evrim Resources Corp. and Renaissance Gold Inc. announced the completion of its merger, and the concurrent name change to Orogen Royalties Inc. “Underpinning Orogen’s strategic royalty focus are two organically created cornerstone assets: (i) a 2% net smelter return royalty (“NSR”) on the Ermitaño West gold-silver deposit in Sonora, Mexico, where production by First Majestic Silver Corp. is slated to begin in 2021(1); and (ii) a 1% NSR on the Silicon gold project in Nevada, U.S.A., which is being advanced by AngloGold Ashanti S.A.”.
  • Candente Gold Corp. announced that Sun River Gold has made the final payment of US$111 K to increase their ownership in an additional 5% NPI (Net Profit Interest) of the Mine Tailings at El Oro, Estado de México. “Sun River has the option to acquire 100% of the Tailings Project by making staged payments totalling US$300,000 (paid), bring the tailings into commercial production by October 31, 2021, and grant to the Company a 10% NPI, Life of Mine royalty (the “Candente Royalty”) as well as the Municipality’s 8% NPI on production from the properties. Sun River had the right to reduce the NPI payable to the Company to 5% by paying an additional US$200,000 in payments (now paid)”.
  • VanGold Mining Corp. signed an option agreement to re-purchase three underlying royalties on its El Pinguico project in Guanajuato. The company will pay C$1.68 M (C$5 K paid) and issue 3.75 M units of VanGold to Exploraciones Mineras del Bajio, S.A. de C.V.. The royalties to be scraped are: 1) a 4% NSR on all broken material, 2) a 3% NSR on all in-situ newly discovered material and 3) a 5% NPI on all in-situ newly discovered material. “Upon exercise of the Option, VanGold’s Mexican subsidiary, Obras Mineras El Pinguico, S.A de C.V., will own its undivided 100% interest in the El Pinguico silver and gold project free from royalties, save for a 15% net profits royalty in favour of EMBSA solely on the existing above ground and underground stockpiles of mineralized material. There will be no other royalties, net smelter returns or otherwise, on the El Pinguico project including the existing stockpiled material”.
  • Zanzibar Gold Inc. announced the appointment of geologist Sergio A. Trelles Monge as a special advisor to the board of the company. “Mr. Trelles was the Director General of Mining Promotion of the State of Sonora, Assistant Director of Mining Resources of Mexico’s Geological Survey. He was also President of the Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, Civil Association [Asociación de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas, y Geólogos de México A.C]. and Chairman of the College of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, Civil Association [Colegio de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México A.C].”.
  • Megastar Development Corp. has amended the option agreements to acquire 100% interest in the Rama de Oro, Magdalena and Yautepec projects in Oaxaca, by extending the due dates for the exploration expenditures on each project. “The Rama de Oro expenditure commitment of US $350,000 was extended from May 9, 2020 to May 9, 2022 and the Magdalena and Yautepec expenditure commitments, in the aggregate amount of US $310,000, were extended from June 1, 2021 to December 1, 2021. In consideration of the extension, the Company has agreed to pay an aggregate US $12,500 to the vendor, who is a director of the Company”.  

ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • Grupo Mexico donated eight thousand tree seedlings to the Salamanca Municipality in Guanajuato.
  • Fresnillo PLC, through Minera Penmont and Innovec, has been sponsoring online workshops for kids in 22 communities of Caborca, Sonora.
  • Minera Penmont distributed 4,000 washable face masks in 22 communities of the Caborca municipality, and expects to deliver another 6,000 before the end of the week.
  • Peñoles has more than 1,500 local service providers in the La Laguna region (Torreón-Gómez Palacio-Lerdo). The company has 3,500 workers and generates another 2,000 full time jobs. No one was fired during the pandemic emergency, while 450 vulnerable employees were been sent home with full pay and are now in the process of returning to work following government directives.
  • Minera Media Luna built an artificial swamp for treatment of residual waters in Cocula, Guerrero.
  • Minera Fresnillo and Concretos Lanzados de Los Mochis donate meals for community dinner rooms in Zacatecas.  

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: Artisanal kaolin mine above a low sulfidation epithermal system in Guanajuato. Picture by Jorge Cirett.

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