By Jorge Cirett
During the 7th week of the year (February 15th to February 21st, 2021), there were at least 42 press releases by companies working in Mexico. To note, nine companies posted exploration advances on their properties (with GoGold’s Casados discovery deemed the most significant), six presenting quarterly results, two informing on power cuts, six posting on financing or share options, nine on project development and two on corporate issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Mexican mining sector is dealing with several (government induced) challenges and great opportunities. The Nuevo Leon State government intends to push its mining sector. Camimex points out the goal of the energy bill should be to promote the reduction of the electricity cost. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Tarachi Gold released drilling results from the San Javier concession; Tocvan Ventures initiated the next exploration campaign at Pilar. In Chihuahua, Radius Gold released drilling results from the Amalia project; Silver Spruce is to carry a LidDar survey at Pino de Plata; Mammoth Resources released observations by independent consultants on its Tenoriba property. In Sinaloa, Prismo Metals presented drilling results on Palos Verdes; Vizsla Silver informed seven rigs are now churning at Panuco; Brigadier Gold released drilling results from its Picachos project. In Jalisco, Stroud Resources informed on the approval of its drilling permit for Santo Domingo, Hostotipaquillo. ON MINING, Starcore International, Pan American Silver, Golden Minerals, Hecla Mining, Newmont, and First Majestic released quarterly and full year 2020 reports. Excellon and Gatos Silver informed on work affected by the power cuts in the north of the country. ON FINANCING, SGold79 Mines and Vizsla Silver granted options to directors, officers and employees; Consolidated Zinc, Orogen Royalties, Van Gold Mining and Brigadier Gold informed on their financing rounds. Heliostar Metals qualified to trade on the OTCQX Best Market. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Avino Silver will drill 12,000 m on the Avino property. Sonoro Gold released results from 24 holes at Cerro Caliche. VanGold released positive results from the PEA on El Cubo and El Pinguico in Zacatecas. McEwen Mining filed the FS on the Fenix project. GoGold Resources made a discovery at Los Ricos North. Coeur Mining released the 2020 resource estimate for Palmarejo. Capitan Mining released drilling results from the Peñoles project. Golden Tag released results from drilling at San Diego, Velardeña. GR Silver Mining reported drilling results from Plomosas. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Azure Minerals is divesting its Mexican portfolio. Premier Gold shareholders had to vote in February 19 on the arrangement with Equinox Gold. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Minera Media Luna is to make a large investment during the next three years at the Media Luna project in Guerrero, with a significant impact in the communities of the area.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The Mexican Mining Sector is dealing with several challenges and great opportunities, according to mining companies executives. The outright denial to grant mining concessions, the lack of a medium term regulatory view, security issues, the blockage by SEMARNAT of several projects, the lack of clarity and rules and lagging paperwork have to be weighed against the great mineral potential of the country, and its qualified workforce.
- The Nuevo Leon State government seeks to foster the mining activity on the southern part of the state. Nuevo Leon has significant deposits of barite, clays, limestone, dolostone, gypsum, phosphorite and talc, among other minerals.
- Camimex (Cámara Minera de México) pointed out that the goal of an energy bill should be to promote the reduction of the electricity cost, not to favor any given company. With the introduction of the auto supply figure a few years ago mining companies saw the electricity cost go down from US$0.12-$0.13 Kw/hr to US$0.065 Kw/hr, while those that rely on the government supplied electricity pay US$0.08 and $0.09 Kw/hr. Miners in Perú and Chile pay US$0.06 Kw/hr and those in USA and Canada US$0.04 Kw/hr and US$0.02 Kw/hr respectively.
- Newmont’s Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas produced 520 K ounces of gold and 934 K gold equivalent ounces in 2020. Production for 2021 is estimated at 660 K ounces of gold and 1.12 M gold equivalent ounces.
- Radius Gold Inc. reported results from its phase four drilling program operated by Pan American Silver Corp. at its Amalia project in Chihuahua. Highlighted true width results comprise 6.5 m @ 0.59 gpt Au, 151 gpt Ag; 0.60 m @ 1.48 gpt Au, 475 gpt Ag; 5.0 m @ 1.73 gpt Au, 70 gpt Ag; 5.5 m @ 0.93 gpt Au, 99 gpt Ag. The high-grade San Pedro ore shoot has been defined for 410 meters down-dip.
- Tarachi Gold Corp. released assay results from the first nine diamond holes completed on the San Javier concession, at its Tarachi project in Sonora. Highlighted core-length intervals comprise 3.0 m @ 1.58 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 1.80 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 6.08 gpt Au, 14.4 m @ 0.21 gpt Au; 9.0 m @ 0.61 gpt Au; 4.0 m @ 0.86 gpt Au, 2.6 m @ 1.52 gpt Au, 2.0 m @ 11.90 gpt Au (including 1.0 m @ 21.10 gpt Au); 12.0 m @ 0.63 gpt Au; 5.6 m @ 5.39 gpt Au; 1.0 m @ 15.70 gpt Au; 17.0 m @ 0.62 gpt Au; 10.6 m @ 1.6 gpt Au. “the gold mineralization is situated along open brittle structures containing over 20 percent sulphides, mainly pyrite with minor quartz veining/veinlets”.
- Prismo Metals Inc. presented results from its initial five-hole 573 m diamond drilling program at its Palos Verdes project in Sinaloa. The program was designed to test for mineralization continuity to depth and along strike to previous reconnaissance drilling. Highlighted true width results comprise 3.2 m @ 0.13 gpt Au, 69 gpt Ag, 0.14% Cu, 0.1% Pb, 0.3% Zn; 2.5 m @ 0.24 gpt Au, 17 gpt Ag, 0.09% Cu, 0.2% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 1.3 m @ 0.73 gpt Au, 38 gpt Ag, 0.19% Cu, 0.6% Pb, 3.9% Zn; 0.9 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 6 gpt Ag, 0.06% Cu, nil Pb, 1.4% Zn.
- Silver Spruce Resources Inc. has contracted Eagle Mapping Ltd. to carry out a LiDar survey on the Pino de Plata property in Chihuahua. The survey is to produce an orthorectified color aerial photography and an accurate digital elevation model (DEM).
- Vizsla Silver Corp. announced the arrival of two drill rigs to its Panuco property in Sinaloa. With these, a total of seven rigs is now operating in Panuco. The company completed over 28,000 m of drilling last year and plans to complete more than 40,000 m in the first half of 2021.
- Brigadier Gold Ltd. provided results from its diamond drill and underground sampling programs at Picachos, Sinaloa. Drill core length highlighted true width (TW) intervals comprise 30 m @ 1.27 gpt Au, 212 gpt Ag; 3.5 m @ 1.07 gpt Au, 18 gpt Ag, 0.39% Cu, 0.15% Zn; 6.4 m @ 0.15% Zn; 10.8 m @ 0.22% Zn; 1.6 m @ 5.08 gpt Au, 35 gpt Ag, 1.90% Cu, 0.22% Zn; 183.5 m @ 0.21 gpt Au, 2 gpt Ag, 0.19% Pb, 0.37% Zn (including 0.9 m @ 10.65 gpt Au and 1.0 m @ 6.26 gpt Au, 0.54% Pb, 0.28% Zn). Highlighted trench TW intervals comprise 0.4 m @ 49.60 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag, 0.34% Pb, 0.37% Zn; 0.8 m @ 9.70 gpt Au, 0.52% Pb, 0.32% Zn; 2.6 m @ 2.32 gpt Au, 0.14% Zn; 1.0 m @ 20.14 gpt Au, 36 gpt Ag, 0.14% Cu, 0.74% Pb, 2.51% Zn; 2.0 m @ 11.55 gpt Au, 0.12% Cu, 0.23% Pb, 0.47% Zn; 0.7 m @ 7.95 gpt Au, 43 gpt Ag, 3.26% Cu, 0.22% Pb; 0.5 m @ 109.14 gpt Au, 20 gpt Ag; 4.5 m @ 2.56 gpt Au, 4 gpt Ag, 0.19% Cu, 0.64% Pb, 0.86% Zn; 1.2 m @ 23.45 gpt Au, 6 gpt Ag, 0.19% Pb, 0.12% Zn “Of the 28 holes drilled to date, fourteen (1704 metres) were drilled to test the San Agustín Vein, 10 holes (1029 metres) tested surface exploration targets defined by trenching, 2 holes (168 metres) tested under the historic San Antonio Mine and one hole tested under the historic La Gloria Mine”. A second drill rig is being added for the commencement of the phase two drilling campaign.
- Stroud Resources Ltd. informed the drill permit application has been approved for its Santo Domingo property in Hostotipaquillo, Jalisco. The first phase consists of 12 drill holes, and a second phase comprises 38 holes to expand the mineral resources. “Stroud’s exploration of the two main mineralized zones has drilled through many of the workings. These zones; La Rayas and Guadalupe, are a series of banded to breccia style epithermal quartz carbonate vein systems represented with miargyrite, galena, sphalerite, argentite and native silver and gold. La Rayas is 30 to 35 metres wide and Guadalupe is 15 to 30 metres wide. Both are parallel structures with greater than a 700-metre strike length and about 300 metre depth”.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. released observations by independent consultants on its Tenoriba property in Chihuahua. According to them the mineralization in the area is of epithermal high sulfidation type and occurring near the angular unconformity between the Lower and Upper Volcanic Groups. A thorough 2-year exploration program was recommended to evaluate the main prospect areas and to address areas that have to date seen little or no work.
- Tocvan Ventures Corp. announced the start of the next phase of exploration at El Pilar in Sonora. The planned work is to include mapping and sampling of key target areas across the project. The property is interpreted as a structurally controlled low-sulfidation epithermal system in andesitic and rhyolitic volcanic rocks.
- Excellon Resources Inc. informed it is looking for alternative energy sources for its Platosa mine in Durango. The energy utilised by the company is generated with natural gas, and it has seen its price multiplied up to a hundred times due to the intense cold wave in Texas. The price increase is expected to be a short-term event.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. announced production results for the third quarter ended January 31, 2021. At its San Martin mine in Queretaro, 57.3 K tonnes were milled @ 1.66 gpt Au, 22.9 gpt Ag, recovering 88.8% and 57.1% respectively to produce 3,063 Oz AuEq. A 6,000 m drill program has been implemented on the northwestern and eastern parts of the mine, matched with a development program of approximately 1,200 meters to cover both zones under exploration.
- Mexus Gold US. continues mining at its Santa Elena project in Sonora. After a slowdown due to a Covid outbreak, operations are now gaining pace.
- Pan American Silver Corp. reported audited financial results for 2020 and the Q4 of the same year, including some figures from its Mexican operations. At La Colorada, in Zacatecas, 1.19 M Oz Ag, 800 Oz Au were produced in Q4 and 5.02 M Oz Ag, 3,500 Oz Au during the year. At Dolores, in Chihuahua, 0.76 M Oz Ag, 30,500 Oz Au were produced in Q4 and 5.02 M Oz Ag, 98,000 Oz Au during the year. Cash cost and AISC per Ag Oz for the year stood at $6.99 and $10.80 for La Colorada and ($2.48) and $6.17 for Dolores.
- Golden Minerals Co. released financial results for 2020. During the year the Rodeo open pit in Durango was started, with ore to be processed at the Velardeña oxide mill and an expected production between 12 K and 14 K Oz Au for 2021. In Yoquivo, Chihuahua, several new veins were discovered. The lease of the Velardeña mill to Hecla was terminated in November 2020, gathering $5.6 M in revenue. The Santa María property was farmed out for $4 M, whilst the Velardeña mine and sulfide mill might restart late in 2021. Cash and cash equivalents of $9.7 M by the end of the period.
- Hecla Mining Co. presented 2020 results, including some figures from its Mexican operations. At San Sebastian, in Durango, 1.0 M Oz Ag, 7,223 Oz Au were produced in the year (0.2 M Oz Ag, 1,159 Oz Au in Q4), with the mill operating at 474 tpd when in production. Also in San Sebastian, El Tigre and El Bronco veins that were discovered under thick soil cover in 2020, can be up to 8.5 m in width and extend for more than 1.6 km. The best true width intercepts are 2.90 m @ 1,384 gpt Ag, 6.84 gpt Au for El Bronco vein and 1.07 m @ 504 gpt Ag, 2.80 gpt Au for El Tigre vein.
- Newmont Corp. announced Q4 and full year 2020 results, including figures from its Peñasquito operations in Zacatecas. During the quarter 201 K Oz Au and 246 K Oz AuEq were sold at an AISC of $746 and $795 per Oz respectively. For the year, 512 K Oz Au were produced and 934 K Oz AuEq at an AISC of $806 and $828 per Oz respectively. For 2021 production from Peñasquito is expected to reach 660 K Oz Au and 1,120 K Oz AuEq.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. released its financial results for the fourth quarter and year 2020. For the year, 2.21 M tonnes were processed to produce 11.6 M Oz Ag, 20.38 M Oz AgEq at a cash cost of $5.09 per Oz Ag and an AISC of $13.92 per Oz AgE.
- Gatos Silver Inc. reported electricity from Mexico’s national power grid supplying its Cerro Los Gatos mine in Chihuahua has been restricted, due to recent severe winter storms in Texas. The project facilities have power generators capable of sustaining the mine and field camp operations, but not the processing plant; underground mining will continue at a reduced rate and a planned shutdown for the processing plant will be completed during this temporary power restriction.
- SGold79 Mines Ltd. granted 500 K common shares to Mr. Paul Carrelo, the newly appointed independent director (Higo Blanco, Oaxaca).
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. informed there are firm commitments to raise A$2.55 M in gross proceeds. The funds are required to relieve short term cashflow pressure due to operational issues at third-party processing facilities since November 2020. (Plomosas, Chihuahua).
- Orogen Royalties Inc. cancelled the previously announced private placement (royalties in Ermitaño, Sonora).
- VanGold Mining Corp. has further expanded its non-brokered private placement financing for gross proceeds of $16.95 M (El Cubo, Guanajuato).
- Heliostar Metals Ltd. announced it has qualified to trade on the OTCQX Best Market, upgrading from the OTCQB Venture Market (La Lola, Sonora).
- Vizsla Silver Corp. granted 2.14 M options to directors, officers, employees and consultants (Panuco, Sinaloa).
- Brigadier Gold Ltd. announced a non-brokered private placement financing to raise up to $1 M.
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Avino Silver and Gold Mines Ltd. has a 12,000 meters drilling program for its 1,104 hectares Avino property in Durango. Of these, 2,000 meters are planned on El Trompo vein, 3,000 meters on the Santiago vein, 2,500 meters on the Avino ET area and 4,500 meters on the Avino West area. Other areas that area to see investment include a dry stack tailings and improvements on circuit 4. Capital expenditures are expected to be between $6 to $8 M.
- Vangold Mining Corp. announced positive results from the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the combined El Cubo and El Pinguico project in Guanajuato. There are 718.6 K tonnes @ 160 gpt Ag, 1.90 gpt Au containing 7.2 M Oz AgEq as indicated resources and 1.45 M tonnes @ 214 gpt Ag, 2.78 gpt Au containing 20.4 M Oz AgEq as inferred resources. “On an after-tax basis, the Combined Project generates a Base Case NPV (5%) of $32.9 M and an IRR of 105%, excluding El Cubo acquisition costs. Using commodity prices of $22.41/oz Ag and $1756/oz Au, which are +15% above the Base Case (yet still lower than current spot prices), the after-tax NPV(5%) is $79.0 M and the IRR is 344%”.
- Sonoro Gold Corp. released assay results from 24 holes at its Cerro Caliche project in Sonora. Some of the highlighted core length intervals comprise 6.10 m @ 0.73 gpt Au, 18 gpt Ag; 7.62 m @ 3.09 gpt Au, 7 gpt Ag; 4.57 m @ 0.75 gpt Au, 1 gpt Ag; 6.10 m @ 0.78 gpt Au, 1 gpt Ag; 3.04 m @ 1.15 gpt Au, 1 gpt Ag; 3.05 m @ 2.32 gpt Au 2 gpt Ag. The Buena Suerte zone strike length is now 900 m long, and continuous mineralization has been confirmed along 2 kilometers of the El Rincón-Veta de Oro-Abejas vein and stockwork. A new zone, Bellotoso, has been identified, with a 2 kilometers strike length.
- McEwen Mining Inc. filed the feasibility study (FS) on the Fenix project, Sinaloa. The report envisions a 9.5-year mine life with after-tax IRR of 28% using $1,500/Oz gold and $17/Oz silver. Average annual production is projected at 26 K Oz Au in Phase 1 and 4.5 M Oz AgEq in Phase 2.
- GoGold Resources Inc. released results of nine diamond drill holes from the Casados deposit in the Los Ricos North project. Limited historical mining averaged 1.5 m in width at the Casados vein, but the present drilling intercepted mineralized widths over 20 m, and a second vein, also greater than 20 m in width. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 6.4 m @ 0.19 gpt Au, 42 gpt Ag; 6.9 m @ 0.24 gpt Au, 44 gpt Ag; 56.5 m @ 0.37 gpt Au, 144 gpt Ag; 22.5 m @ 0.32 gpt Au, 97 gpt Ag (including 4.9 m @ 1.05 gpt Au, 307 gpt Ag); 27.5 m @ 0.48 gpt Au, 214 gpt Ag (including 1.3 m @ 4.67 gpt Au, 2,390 gpt Ag); 59.9 m @ 0.30 gpt Au, 84 gpt Ag; 20.3 m @ 0.51 gpt Au, 143 gpt Ag; 22.5 m @ 0.29 gpt Au, 84 gpt Ag; 53.3 m @ 0.40 gpt Au, 99 gpt Ag; 21.4 m @ 0.63 gpt Au, 136 gpt Ag; 21.3 m @ 0.34 gpt Au, 104 gpt Ag; 19.3 m @ 0.42 gpt Au, 135 gpt Ag.
- Coeur Mining Inc. reported its 2020 mineral reserves and resources, including figures from its operations in Mexico. At Palmarejo in Chihuahua, 68,850 m were drilled in 180 holes across 11 targets. Highlighted results include 6.9 m @ 4.3 gpt Au, 151 gpt Ag; 5.2 m @ 6.4 gpt Au, 179 gpt Ag at the La Patria zone; 3.4 m @ 2.8 gpt Au, 525 gpt Ag at the Bavisa zone and 6.8 m @ 9.7 gpt Au, 640 gpt Ag; 11.2 m @ 6.1 gpt Au, 430 gpt Ag; 6.0 m @ 9.1 gpt Au, 568 gpt Ag on the Hidalgo zone.
- Capitan Mining Inc. reported results from the last two holes of its 2020 drill campaign at Peñoles, in Durango. Highlighted core length intercepts comprise 64 m @ 0.50 gpt Au, 7 gpt Ag (including 13.7 m @ 0.93 gpt Au, 7 gpt Ag); 21.3 m @ 0.25 gpt Au; 15.2 m @ 0.25 gpt Au; 42.7 m @ 0.17 gpt Au, 35.1 m @ 0.31 gpt Au; 35.1 m @ 0.21 gpt Au, 4 gpt Ag. The Hanging Wall zone has been confirmed and delineated for over 600 m.
- Golden Tag Resources Ltd. released results from its ongoing 4,500 m drilling program at the San Diego property in Durango. The infill sampling of historic holes highlighted core intercept results comprising 9.36 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 51 gpt Ag, 0.26% Pb, 0.23% Zn; 50.52 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 25 gpt Ag, 0.24% Pb, 0.29% Zn; 175.30 m @ 0.09 gpt Au, 30 gpt Ag, 0.64% Pb, 0.55% Zn (including 48.41 m @ 0.12 gpt Au, 34 gpt Ag, 0.69% Pb, 0.80% Zn and 27.30 m @ 0.16 gpt Au, 58 gpt Ag, 1.30% Pb, 0.76% Zn) in one hole; 50.05 m @ 0.04 gpt Au, 0.43% Pb, 0.41% Zn; 9.90 m @ 0.06 gpt Au, 19 gpt Ag, 0.51% Pb, 0.37% Zn; 298 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 30 gpt Ag, 0.67% Pb, 0.70% Zn.
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. reported results from the current drilling program in the San Juan area of its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. Highlighted core length intercepts comprise 2.5 m @ 2,195 gpt Ag, 1.12 gpt Au, 0.3% Cu; 8.8 m @ 87 gpt Ag, 0.31 gpt Au, 0.8% Pb, 1.9% Zn; 1.1 m @ 244 gpt Ag, 0.53 gpt Au, 1.0% Pb, 2.1% Zn, 0.4% Cu; 22 m @ 70 gpt Ag, 0.15 gpt Au, 0.3% Pb, 0.3% Zn; 15.0 m @ 42 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 0.3% Pb, 0.2% Zn; 3.4 m @ 578 gpt Ag, 0.20 gpt Au, 0.5% Pb, 1.3% Zn; 8.7 m @ 0.4% Zn; 18.3 m @ 2 gpt Ag, 0.06 gpt Au, 0.1% Pb, 0.7% Zn. These drilling results continue to define high-grade epithermal mineralization in the San Juan area and towards the nearby San Francisco vein.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Azure Minerals Ltd. announced it is looking to divest its Mexican properties portfolio. The company “has commenced a strategic review of its precious metals and base metals projects in Mexico, including the 100%-owned Alacrán silver-gold-copper and Oposura zinc-lead-silver projects”.
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. reminded its shareholders of the meeting that was to be held on February 19th to vote on the arrangement between Premier Gold and Equinox Gold Corp. regarding the acquisition of the company (Mercedes, Sonora).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Minera Media Luna announced an investment of 12 billion pesos (12 thousand million pesos, or US$600 M) in the next three years at its Media Luna project in Guerrero. Currently, at its Limon-Guajes mine 70% of the 900 employees and 1,300 contractors are from the state. It was also stated that about 40% of its workforce is composed by women.
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 vein on the old Mazatlán-Durango road, geologist Guillermo Contreras for scale. Picture by Jorge Cirett.