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

By Jorge Cirett

During the 36th week of the year (August 31st to September 6th, 2020), at least 22 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. The dominant news on the country relating to the mining industry during the week, was the cancellation of the Sub Secretary of Mining (created during the last presidential term), headed by Francisco Quiroga, who had gained the trust of the enterprises and organizations of the industry by his relentless and hands-on daily effort to help better the mining industry in Mexico. He will be missed, unlike his predecessor. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Sub Secretary of Mining was cancelled, its role absorbed within the Economy Secretary; loud complaints from the mining industry organizations followed, to fall on deaf ears. Pending investments in mining for the near future of US$1991 M. The Sonora Mining Fund Committee approved the investment of US$3.5 M on an aqueduct. FIFOMI has US$164 M in current credits to the mining industry. The Mining Fund is gone, for the purposes it was created for. (This is a measure taken by the actual federal government against the opinion of all mining enterprises and organizations. In my personal point of view, it opens the way to the use of the funds in a very centralized manner, same that can be exploited for political gains by those in power. There was just no need for this change). The very Mexican “illegal mine blockade roulette” now struck Equinox’s Los Filos mine in Guerrero. ON EXPLORATION, in Baja, Comet Resources updated on its Santa Teresa property. In Sonora, Redstar Gold updated on its Cumaro project. In Sinaloa, Viszla Resources released drilling results at Panuco. In Veracruz, Azucar Minerals released drilling results from El Cobre.  ON MINING, Santacruz Silver reported second quarter 2020 results. Equinox Gold’s Los Filos mine in Guerrero is affected by an illegal blockade. ON FINANCING, seven companies made announcements regarding the opening or closing of financing rounds: Southern Silver Exploration ($456 K), Barksdale Resources ($6.3 M), GoGold Resources (C$30 M), Silver Dollar Resources ($10.5 M), Inomin Mines ($400 K), Americas Gold and Silver (C$39.4 M), Alien Metals (£1.25 M). Gold79 Mines, Golden Tag Resources and Redstar Gold granted stock options to officers, directors and consultants. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Silver Bull Resources updated on the legal battle and an illegal blockade at its Sierra Mojada project in Coahuila. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Odyssey Marine Exploration received funds for the legal battle to obtain the government permit to mine its Exploraciones Oceánicas phosphate project offshore Baja California Sur. Tarachi Gold acquired the Juliana group of properties, increasing the size of its Tarachi property to 3,708 hectares. Inomin Mines executed the agreement on the acquisition of the La Gitana and Peña Blanca properties in Oaxaca. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Peñasquito, First Majestic, Minera San Javier, Alamos Gold and SilverCrest informed on donations, community involvement and safety measures on the areas near their operations.

ON MEXICO ISSUES

  • Francisco Quiroga, in his last day as Sub-Secretary of Mining, called for the AIMMGM (Asociación de Ingenieros Mineros, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México) to play a leading role in the transformation of the industry and its relationship with the public sector.
  • The AIMMGM installed the newly elected board for the 2020-2022 period.
  • The Secretaría de Economía announced the cancellation of the Mining Sub-Secretary, onward from September 1st, 2020.
  • The cancellation of the Mining Sub-Secretary by the federal government brought loud complaints from companies and organisms within the industry (not that these complaints are to be attended to). The Cámara Minera de México (CAMIMEX), the Asociación de Ingenieros Mineros, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México (AIMMGM), the Mining Task Force of the Cámara de Comercio del Canadá en México, the Sonora, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Sinaloa and Zacatecas Mining clusters, the Colegio de Ingenieros de Minas, Metalurgistas y Geólogos de México (CIMMGM) and the organization Mujeres en la Minería (WIM Mexico) extended its congratulations to Francisco Quiroga, departing Mining Sub-Secretary and expressed the profound disagreement for the disappearance of the Sub Secretary of Mining.   
  • Camimex (Cámara Minera de México) informed Mexico has a list of projects that add up to $1,991 M dollars in programmed investment. Amongst these are the Campo Morado mine in Guerrero, La Yaqui Grande in Sonora, as well as the Orysivo project in Chihuahua, the Centauro Profundo project in Sonora and the Media Luna project in Guerrero. Mexico had a production peak of 123,364 kg of gold in 2015, same that has declined to 73,451 kg in 2019.
  • The Mining Fund Sonora Committee approved the investment of MX$75 M pesos (US$3.5 M) for the construction of the Macoyahui-Alamos aqueduct. The project includes 24.5 Km of PVC tubing and five pumping stations.
  • INEGI informed the mining activity is resuming after the COVID lockdown. Sulphur, iron,, lead, gold, copper, silver, fluorite are among the commodities that have seen their production significantly increased. In January 2020 the industry generated 381,456 direct jobs and more than 2 M indirect jobs, according to the IMSS.
  • Request for the Mining Sub Secretary to stay in Chihuahua by Omar Bazán, deputy, and the Chihuahua Mining Cluster.
  • The Fideicomiso de Fomento Minero (FIFOMI) has $3,530 M pesos (US$164 M) on current credits to the mining sector.
  • The Mining Fund is gone, for the purposes it was created for. Graciela Márquez, Economy Secretary confirmed the resources no longer are going to be distributed among mining municipalities, but through different agreements with government organisms and federal programs to help mining communities.
  • Graciela Márquez, Economy Secretary, stated the disappearance of the Mining Sub-Secretary is not to affect the mining industry as all relevant structures stay in place (We beg to disagree).

ON EXPLORATION

  • Radius Gold Inc. informed on exploration at its Amalia and Plata Verde projects in Chihuahua. At Amalia, “phase 4 drilling funded by JV partner Pan American Silver remains on stand-by due to COVID-19. Semarnat, the permitting agency in Chihuahua, has returned to work on a limited scale and Pan American has recently provided updated information requested by Semarnat”. At Plata Verde, there is advance in the signing of agreements to expand the property package. “The next phase of field work will consist of geophysical programs to identify feeder systems and expansions of the known mineralization under the thin (>100m) cover volcanics”.
  • Redstar Gold Corp. announced its Cumaro project in Sonora is adjacent to SilverCrest’s Picacho property. “Previous drilling on SilverCrest Metals’ Picacho vein, two kilometres north of the Cumaro property, returned intersections including 13.9 metres at 16.22 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 33.9 g/t silver in hole PDD07-013, and 4.1 metres at 3.86 g/t gold and 35.0 g/t silver…” in other hole on the Dos Amigos vein. The company believes there is a down-thrown block on the eastern side of the property, where the extensions of the veins exposed on the western side could be present on a much shallower level.
  • Comet Resources Ltd. Informed in a corporate presentation on its Santa Teresa property in Baja California. Santa Teresa is a high-grade mesothermal lode gold deposit (ie.- orogenic gold) with an existing NI 43-101 inferred resource of 64 K Oz Au capped at 20 gpt Au, with a cutoff grade of 4 gpt Au and average grade of 8 gpt Au. Historical drilling has intersected quartz veins grading up to 958 gpt Au over 1 m, and multiple other drill results above 30 gpt Au. The deposit is open along strike and at depth.
  • Vizsla Resources Corp. announced a fourth new discovery at its Panuco project in Sinaloa. The first four drill holes at the Tajitos vein have been completed on the Cinco Señores vein corridor. Highlighted intercepts from the three first drill holes comprise 4.5 m @ 1,200 gpt Ag, 7.29 gpt Au (including 1.15 m @ 2,210 gpt Ag, 16.13 gpt Au); 1.15 m @ 812 gpt Ag, 4.59 gpt Au. ”The Tajitos vein zone is composed of a quartz breccia vein with an early white locally banded quartz supporting andesite lithic clasts, followed by a later white to greyish quartz supporting brecciated clasts of earlier white quartz veins. This zone was then cut by a later white to clear quartz vein with local dark bands or patches of fine-grained sulphides that is cutting a zone of quartz psuedomorphs after bladed calcite and pink rhodochrosite. The better grades are in the earlier breccias associated with dark bands or dark patches of very fine-grained disseminated sulphides. This vein zone is hosted in a package of andesite flows and tuffs”.
  • Azucar Minerals Ltd. released drilling results from its El Cobre project in Veracruz. The holes in the Primo target returned 23.75 m  @ 0.22 gpt Au, 0.08% Cu; 8.50 m @ 0.71 gpt Au, 0.24% Cu; 123.50 m @ 0.14 gpt Au, 0.14% Cu. Azucar is currently preparing its facilities  and implementing the health protocols required to enable a safe return to work.

ON MINING

  • Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. Reported operating and financial results for the second quarter 2020. At Veta Grande in Zacatecas, 37.1 K tonnes were milled to produce 204.6 K Oz AgEq at cash cost $17.68 per Oz AgEq and an AISC of $19.70 per Oz AgEq. At Rosario in San Luis Potosi, 20.8 K tonnes were milled to produce 141.4 K Oz AgEq at cash cost $14.23 per Oz AgEq and an AISC of $15.59 per Oz AgEq.
  • Equinox Gold Corp. reports that “mining activities at its Los Filos mine in Mexico have been suspended since September 3, 2020 as the result of an illegal road blockade by members of the nearby Carrizalillo community. The individuals allege non-compliance with the community social collaboration agreement signed in 2019. The mine remains staffed with a reduced workforce to maintain appropriate safety, security and environmental systems. Equinox Gold is in active discussions with the Carrizalillo community leaders to resolve the issues”.

ON FINANCING

  • Gold79 Mines Ltd. Approved the granting of 6 M stock options to officers, directors and consultants of the company (Taviche, Oaxaca).
  • Southern Silver Exploration Corp. plans to conduct a non-brokered private placement to raise $456 K (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango).
  • Golden Tag Resources Ltd. Granted 9.9 M incentive stock options to management and directors (San Diego, Durango).
  • Barksdale Resources Corp. increased the size of its non-brokered private placement financing for gross proceeds of up to $6.3 M (San Javier, Sonora).
  • GoGold Resources Inc. entered into an agreement on a bought deal basis with a syndicate of underwriters for the acquisition of shares for gross proceeds of C$30 M (Los Ricos, Jalisco).
  • Silver Dollar Resources Inc. has arranged a non-brokered private placement to raise up to $10.5 M (La Joya, Durango).
  • Redstar Gold Corp. announced the granting of 20.73 M stock options to directors, officers and consultants of the company (Cumaro, Oso Negro and La Lola, Sonora).
  • Inomin Mines Inc. announced a non-brokered private placement to raise up to $400 K in gross profits (La Gitana, Oaxaca).
  • Americas Gold and Silver Corp. closed its previously announced and up-sized bought deal financing for aggregate gross proceeds of C$39.4 M (Cosalá, Sinaloa).
  • Alien Metals Ltd. announced that it has conditionally raised £1.25 M (Los Campos and Los Celsos, Zacatecas).

ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Silver Bull Resources Inc. updated on its Sierra Mojada project in Coahuila. Sociedad Cooperativa de Exploración Minera Mineros Norteños, S.C.L. (Mineros Norteños), the group which is illegally blocking the Sierra Mojada project, has filed an appeal in the recently reopened Mexican courts to try and overturn a favorable ruling for Silver Bull on their lawsuit against the Company filed in 2014. The company sees the whole lawsuit as frivolous (looking for payment of an NSR on production that has not taken place), and explains Mineros Norteños has lost already three rulings, and Silver Bull expects a final ruling on the case, which cannot be appealed by Mineros Norteños, to be handed down from the courts within the next 6 months. Mineros Norteños has illegally blocked access to the project since September 2019.

ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES

  • Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. had a financing transaction that provides the company with $11.3 M, a portion of which will be used to fund operating expenses of the “Exploraciones Oceánicas” phosphate project offshore Baja California Sur. “The investor group was anchored by Odyssey’s existing NAFTA funding partner, Poplar Grove LLC. Poplar Grove is managed by Drumcliffe LLC, a private investment management firm that oversees high-value litigation funding portfolios of over $14 billion in claims”.   
  • Telson Mining Corp. announced the resignation from its board of directors by Remigio Martínez Muller.
  • Tarachi Gold Corp. entered into an arm’s length option agreement with Exploradora Cobre de Bacanoras S. de R.L. de C.V. to acquire 100% interest in the group of mining concessions known as the Juliana, Juliana No.1, Juliana No.2 and Las Morita mining concessions covering 1,140 hectares in Sonora. “Tarachi’s projects now consist of the San Javier, Pretoria, Chivitas, Jabali, Juliana, Texana and Tarachi concessions for a total of 3,708 ha in the Mulatos District. The deal involves the payment of $40 K on the execution date, $30 K on six months, $30 K on 12 months, $30 K on 18 months, $60 K on 24 months, $60 K on 30 months, $150 K on 36 months, $150 K on 42 months, $150 K on 48 months, $700 K on 54 months and $700 K on 60 months, and the issue of 4 M common shares, 400 K of those on the execution date, 1 M shares on 12 months, 1 M shares on 24 months and 1.5 M shares on 26 months. The transfer of the concessions is subject to a 3% NSR from production, with the company having the right to buy at any time 1/3 of the NSR for $1 M.
  • Inomin Mines Inc. announced the execution of the agreement to acquire the La Gitana and Peña Blanca projects in Oaxaca. Inomin is acquiring 100% interest on both properties for 1 M common shares of Inomin, $25 K cash and the grant of 1.5 % NSR on the Peña Blanca property, of which 0.5% can be bought at any time for $1 M.

ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • Peñasquito continues to apply bio-security protocols. Up to date 27,359 fast test have been applied in the facilities and neighboring communities, resulting in six confirmed cases.
  • First Majestic Silver Corp. invested during 2019 US$3.8 M in local community, health youth programs, infrastructure and access to clean water. Over 25,600 medical consultations were provided in local communities. Planted 105,730 native plant species through reforestation initiatives .
  • Minera San Javier (NewGold) donated personal medical equipment to hospitals in San Luis Potosí, and personal medical equipment and sanitization supplies to the Cerro San Pedro municipality health clinics. The company continues to deliver food pantries to persons in need in Planta del Carmen, La Zapatilla, Monte Caldera, Cuesta de Campa, Calderón, Portezuelo and Cerro San Pedro.
  • Alamos Gold donated medical equipment and a mobile unit to the Sahuaripa DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) in Sonora.
  • SilverCrest’s Las Chispas project has accumulated 600 days without accidents in Sonora.

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: The whitish ledge from left to center is a silicified paleo water table in the Mexican Altiplano. Picture by Jorge Cirett.

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