By Jorge Cirett
During the 41st week of the year (October 11th to October 17th, 2021), at least 25 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. To note, six companies posted exploration advances on their properties, six released Q3 reports and one on commencement of mining, two on financing and eight more on project development or resource definition and one more on mining concessions acquisitions. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Mexico’s president presented a proposal to change the law in the energy industry, but also restricting lithium exploration and production to the government. Several other elements could be included in the bill, referred to as “strategic minerals”, without elaborating, although a government party senator named cobalt, niquel, rare earths and even copper. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Benjamin Hill Mining released results from geophysical processing and from fluid inclusion studies that support a buried intrusive source for the mineralization at the Benjamin Hill property; Canuc Resources updated on its deep drilling program at San Javier; Colibri Resources received the permit to drill Evelyn. In Chihuahua, Kootenay silver increased land holdings at its Columba project. In Sinaloa, Vizsla Silver presented drilling results from the Tajitos zone at its Panuco project. ON MINING, Guanajuato Silver commenced mining at El Cubo, in Guanajuato. First Majestic Silver, Golden Minerals, Gold Resource, Magna Gold, Aura Minerals and Avino Silver & Gold Mines presented its Q3 2021 reports. ON FINANCING, Candelaria Mining informed one of its lenders, Accendo Banco, had its operating permit revoked by Mexican authorities. Xali Gold announced Sun River Gold arranged a financing for US$6.5 M for the tailings project at El Oro, Estado de Mexico. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, GR Silver Mining filed a NI-43-101 technical report on the Plomosas project, Sinaloa. Orla Mining provided an update on the construction of the Camino Rojo Oxide project. Prime Mining released further drilling results from Los Reyes, Sinaloa. Fabled Silver Gold released underground drilling results for Santa Maria, in Chihuahua. GoGold Resources reported results from drilling at El Favor, on its Los Ricos North project located in Jalisco. Golden Tag resources is adding 4,500 m to its 2021 drilling program at San Diego, Durango. Capitan Mining reported results from drilling at El Capitan, in Durango. Zacatecas Silver is drilling the Panuco and Las Cruces areas, at its Zacatecas project, results pending. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Argonaut Gold acquired from Fresnillo PLC 4,791 ha in key concessions surrounding its San Agustin mine in Durango. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Minera Media Luna, Peñols, Newmont Peñasquito and Pan American Silver informed on community programs in education and health.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Mexico is far from being a powerhouse in lithium production according to the Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 by BP. Australia, Chile and China hold 81.2% of reserves and 86.5% of lithium production, whereas Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, the United States and Zimbabwe account for 20.5% of reserves and 12.8% of the production. Camimex (Cámara Minera de México) points that the constitutional reform presented by the Mexican president lacks technical support, as even if there are several lithium projects in Mexico, none has proven economic viability. The most visible of these projects, in Sonora, is said to be the largest lithium prospect in the Globe, but its economic viability has still to be proven, as to date there is not a single mine of lithium in clays in the World.
- Mexico will not grant lithium concessions, said the Mexican president. He stated that even if his electricity reform is not approved by congress, his government has the power to reject any request for a concession to mine lithium. “We will deny any request for a concession to mine lithium and we have the power to do so. We want this to be established in the constitution, lithium belongs to the state”.
- Nationalistic views with control on “strategic minerals” have been voiced by Morena, the party in power in Mexico. Besides the explicit aim by the President to save all lithium extracting and processing activities for the government, his recent proposal also refers, without elaborating, to be applied in other “strategic minerals”. A senator form Morena mentioned these other minerals could include cobalt, nickel, rare earths and copper, although a spokeswoman from the Economy Secretariat mentioned that the list of strategic minerals was to be provided by the Mexican Geological Survey at a later date.
- Canuc Resources Corp. updated on the exploration program at its San Javier project in Sonora. Three holes have been completed and a fourth one is in progress, currently at 922 m of depth and ongoing. Chalcopyrite has been encountered from 302 m and is still visible at 922 m of depth. “The drill hole has intersected a broad zone of variably stockworked and brecciated Barranca sediments with minor andesitic dykes. The Barranca sediments show contact metamorphism from about 461 m and downward, variable amounts of magnetite bearing veinlets, stringers and breccia matrix throughout”. The first two holes intercepted Barranca Formation sedimentary rocks with magnetite veinlets and best intercepts of 2.35 m @ 126 gpt Ag and 2.0 m @ 243 gpt Ag. The third hole was drilled on the Tarahumara Formation volcanic rocks for 500.5 m before being terminated due to drilling problems, intercepting several volcanic lithologies, chalcocite from 38 m of depth and sulfides including chalcopyrite from 332 m. Scattered gold and copper values on short intervals were intercepted, of up to 1.19 gpt Au and 0.41% Cu. Results for the current hole are still pending.
- Colibri Resource Corp. received the needed permit to drill up to 56 holes at the Evelyn project in Sonora. “The fully funded drill program of up to 10,000 metres is expected to be conducted in two phases”.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. increased its land holdings at its Columba project in Chihuahua. The company applied for a 10,825 hectare concession, supporting the decision to do so on the high-grade silver intercepts on drilling of the property.
- Vizsla Silver Corp. presented the results from 23 new drill holes from the Tajitos vein at its Panuco project in Sinaloa. Highlighted true width intercepts comprise 1.38 m @ 1.16 gpt Au, 79 gpt Ag; 1.34 m @ 7.94 gpt Au, 960 gpt Ag; 0.70 m @ 4.16 gpt Au, 2,082 gpt Ag; 2.15 m @ 1.09 gpt Au, 188 gpt Ag; 1.38 m @ 2.83 gpt Au, 527 gpt Ag; 8.7 m @ 0.51 gpt Au, 99 gpt Ag; 1.99 m @ 2.46 gpt Au, 615 gpt Ag; 0.86 m @ 3.37 gpt Au, 315 gpt Ag; 1.39 m @ 3.26 gpt Au, 73 gpt Ag; 1.3 m @ 2.47 gpt Au, 600 gpt Ag; 1.50 m @ 9.90 gpt Au, 2,607 gpt Ag; 0.7 m @ 5.73 gpt Au, 1,115 gpt Ag; 4.38 m @ 1.62 gpt Au, 216 gpt Ag. The footprint of the Tajitos zone has been recognized for 800 m along strike and 300 m of depth.
- Benjamin Hill Mining Corp. informed the seven kilometer long trend of epithermal mineralization at its Benjamin Hill project in Sonora is related to a well-defined magnetic anomaly. A magnetic high more than 12 kilometers long and 4 km wide lies beneath the surface, crossing the property in a N-NE orientation, with the Au-Cu mineralization parallel to the crest of the magnetic high. “Our hypothesis explains that the magnetic anomaly corresponds to a partially exhumed fertile pluton. We suggest the mineralization seen at surface was driven by the heat engine of a buried pluton providing hydrothermal fluids that formed mineralized tabular bodies enriched with Au, Ag, and Cu (i.e. veins and breccias), as well as fluids that caused hydrothermal alteration halos (phyllic, epidote-magnetite and argillic alteration)…”.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. updated on drilling at its Tenoriba project in Chihuahua. The company informed heavy rainfall during August and September is subduing by now, and that they expect an increase in the drilling rate that produced only 420 m of core in 8 weeks. “Mammoth intends to initially drill 2 – 4 holes within each target zone then move to another target zone to drill a similar number of holes”. Results on the first holes are pending.
- Benjamin Hill Mining Corp. informed on results of fluid inclusion studies at its Benjamin Hill property in Sonora. The salinity and homogenization temperatures point to an epithermal system with an overprinting magmatic influence, and exhumation depths between 150 m and 750 m in the mineralized structures. “This observation combined with recent geophysical data, supports the hypothesis of the existence of a mineralized plutonic source with a high possibility for Au-Cu metallic enrichment and porphyry potential”.
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd. commenced to process silver-gold ore at its El Cubo mine and mill in Guanajuato. Prior to the start of mill operations, 20 K tonnes of material from El Cubo were mined and stockpiled, to be processed at 750 tonnes per day (tpd) in the plant with a capacity for 1,500 tpd, or over 500 K tonnes per year.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. presented production results for the third quarte 2021, including figures from its three Mexican operations. At San Dimas, Durango, 214.2 K tonnes were processed at a rate of 2,328 tpd and a grade of 289 gpt Ag, 3.14 gpt Au, recovering 95% Ag, 96% Au to produce 20,767 Oz Au, 1.89 M Oz Ag. At Santa Elena in Sonora 234.9 K tonnes were processed grading 74 gpt Ag, 1.04 gpt Au, recovering 91% Ag, 96% Au to produce 508.6 K Oz Ag, 7,498 Oz Au. At La Encantada in Coahuila, 263.6 K tonnes were processed grading 134 gpt Ag, 0.02 gpt Au, recovering 80% Ag, 90% Au to produce 905 K Oz Ag, 114 Oz Au.
- Golden Minerals Co. reported third quarter 2021 production from its Rodeo mine in Durango. The mill processed an average of 532 tpd at a grade of 4.0 gpt Au, recovering 76.5% Au to produce 4,777 Oz Au, 12,196 Oz Ag. Golden’s guidance for 2021 continues between 12 K – 14 K Oz Au and 25 K – 30 K Oz Ag.
- Gold Resource Corp. presented preliminary third quarter 2021 production results. At its Arista mine in Oaxaca 98 K tonnes were milled at a rate of 1,353 tpd, grading 2.68 gpt Au, 91 gpt Ag, 0.37% Cu, 2.3% Pb, 4.8% Zn, to produce 6,933 Oz Au, 265.8 K Oz Ag, 1,808 tonnes Pb, 3,920 tonnes Zn. The cash cost per AuEq Oz was between $250-$290 and the AISC per AuEq Oz between $250-$290.
- Magna Gold Corp. reported Q3 2021 production results. At San Francisco, in Sonora, 1.72 M tonnes were mined @ 0.46 gpt Au, and 4.52 M tonnes of waste moved (2.62 strip ratio), 1.76 M tonnes were processed @ 0.45 gpt Au, with 25,663 Oz Au placed in the pads to produce 19,102 Oz Au, 7,115 Oz Ag. The guidance for the year remains at 55-65 K Oz Au.
- Aura Minerals Inc. announced preliminary production results for the third quarter of 2021, including figures from its Mexican operations. At Aranzazu, in Zacatecas, Aura produced 6,404 Oz Au, 106.1 K Oz Ag, 8.15 M Lb Cu, or 26,745 Oz AuEq.
- Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd. released its production report for the third quarter 2021. The Avino mine in Durango successfully recommenced operations at a 1,000 to 1,500 tpd rate (with a 2,500 tpd plant capacity) with 58.2 K tonnes produced, 61,8 K tonnes processed (with aid of some stock piled material) grading 48 gpt Ag, 0.83 gpt Au, 0.58% Cu, recovering 86% Ag, 75% Au, 85% Cu to produce 77.9 K Oz Ag, 1,183 Oz Au, 685.5 K tonnes Cu.
- Candelaria mining Corp. informed one of its lenders, Accendo Banco S.A. had its authorization to operate as a banking institution revoked by the Mexican National Banking and Securities Commission. “The Company has a US$9.0 million loan facility in place with Accendo and to date has drawn US$1.5 million under the loan facility. The Company anticipates that its ability to draw any further funds from its loan facility with Accendo may be impaired by these developments.” (Pinos, Zacatecas).
- Xali Gold Corp. announced that Sun River Gold has arranged a financing of US$6.5 M to build an put in operation the tailings reprocessing operation at El Oro, Estado de México. “Sun River has the option to acquire 100% of the Tailings Project from Minera CCM by making staged payments totalling US$500,000 (paid), bring the tailings into commercial production by October 31, 2021 (extended to March 31, 2022 due to COVID), and grant to the Company a 5% NPI, Life of Mine royalty (the “Candente Royalty”) as well as the Municipality’s 8% NPI on production from the properties” (El dorado, Nayarit).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. filed a technical report on the Plomosas project, in Sinaloa. The report envisages 3.4 M Oz Ag, 53 K Oz Au, 73 M Lb Zn, 48 M Lb Pb (10.3 M Oz AgEq) in indicated resources and 8.6 M Oz Ag, 85 K Oz Au, 149 M Lb Zn, 116 M Lb Pb (21.0 M Oz AgEq) in inferred resources. The report includes information from over 100,000 meters of drilling in 476 historic and 80 new drill holes. A 14,000 meters drilling program with seven rigs is in progress.
- Orla Mining Ltd. provided a construction update for the Camino Rojo Oxide project in Zacatecas. To date Camino Rojo is 89% complete with the ramp up of mining operations according to plan, and the crushing and conveying system, reclaim tunnel, overland conveyor and grasshopper conveyors completed. The Merrill-Crowe plant and refinery are 98% complete. In the year 757.1 K tonnes have been mined at a grade of 0.86 gpt Au, of which 511.2 K tonnes have been crushed and 220.2 K tonnes stacked.
- Prime Mining Corp. informed on further drilling results from its Los Reyes project in Sinaloa. Highlighted true width (TW) intercepts comprise 11.8 m @ 6.12 gpt Au, 62 gpt Ag, (including 5.5 m @ 12.02 gpt Au, 61 gpt Ag); 13.1 m @ 3.36 gpt Au, 83 gpt Ag; 13.2 m @ 2.18 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag; 8.4 m @ 2.85 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag; 1.4 m @ 3.89 gpt Au, 13 gpt Ag in the Zapote South step out holes, and 3.8 m @ 14.51 gpt Au, 82 gpt Ag; 2.2 m @ 3.96 gpt Au, 9 gpt Ag; 2.1 m @ 5.55 gpt Au, 164 gpt Ag; 2.90 m @ 2.07 gpt Au, 248 gpt Ag; 3.9 m @ 1.90 gpt Au, 78 gpt Ag; 0.9 m @ 3.86 gpt Au, 448 gpt Ag; 4.0 m @ 1.55 gpt Au, 230 gpt Ag in the Tahonitas step out drilling. The boiling level at Zapote, with its corresponding higher grades, has been identified 50 m below previous reports, expanding the exploration targets.
- Fabled Silver Gold Corp. released further assay results from its Santa Maria property in Chihuahua. The underground drilling was successful in intersecting a geochemically anomalous intrusive rock with a 54.6 m interval grading 0.02 gpt Au, 9 gpt Ag (including three intervals 1.5, 1.5 and 1.2 m in width grading 20, 21 and 23 gpt Ag respectively) and another hole returning 4.5 m @ 13 gpt Ag.
- GoGold Resources Inc. reported results of 10 new holes from El Favor east zone, extending the mineralized strike by over 450 meters at its Los Ricos North project in Jalisco. Some of the core-length intervals intercepted comprise 27.0 m @ 0.44 gpt Au, 64 gpt Ag; 3.0 m @ 0.51 gpt Au, 86 gpt Ag; 22.3 m @ 0.31 gpt Au, 118 gpt Ag (including 1.0 m @ 3.96 gpt Au, 944 gpt Ag); 7.7 m @ 0.46 gpt Au, 147 gpt Ag; 24.2 m @ 0.45 gpt Au, 105 gpt Ag (including 2.0 m @ 4.16 gpt Au, 794 gpt Ag); 6.1 m @ 1.32 gpt Au, 328 gpt Ag; 2.1 m @ 0.63 gpt Au, 179 gpt Ag; 11.4 m @ 0.26 gpt Au, 136 gpt Ag (including 6.0 m @ 0.38 gpt Au, 179 gpt Ag); 20.1 m @ 0.22 gpt Au, 68 gpt Ag (including 1.0 m @ 2.59 gpt Au, 563 gpt Ag); 18.3 m @ 0.30 gpt Au, 98 gpt Ag (including 5.6 m @ 0.90 gpt Au, 255 gpt Ag). El Favor East mineralization is now known for 900 m, of which 600 m have been drilled.
- Golden Tag Resources Ltd. announced the addition of 4,500 meters of diamond drilling to its exploration program for 2021 at its San Diego project in Durango. That meterage is in addition to the 4,716 meters already sunk and reported in 2021. The program discovered epithermal mineralization near the surface, the following are some selected core-length intervals: 273.65 m @ 0.10 gpt Au, 43 gpt Ag, 0.2% Pb, 0.3% Zn (76 gpt AgEq); 50.17 m @ 0.05 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag, 0.9% Pb, 0.7% Zn; 99.53 m @ 0.09 gpt Au, 27 gpt Ag, 0.7% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 25.55 m @ 0.08 gpt Au, 37 gpt Ag, 0.3% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 86.64 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 39 gpt Ag, 0.9% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 169.83 m @ 0.04 gpt Au, 32 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.8% Zn; 116.45 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 42 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.7% Zn; 134.37 m @ 0.13 gpt Au, 20 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.7% Zn; 191.57 m @ 0.04 gpt Au, 35 gpt Ag, 0.8% Pb, 0.8% Zn.
- Capitan Mining Inc. reported results form five reverse circulation (RC) drill holes at El Capitan, in Durango. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 6.1 m @ 0.15 gpt Au; 13.7 m @ 0.32 gpt Au; 44.2 m @ 0.13 gpt Au, 3 gpt Ag; 6.1 m @ 0.12 gpt Au, 5 gpt Ag; 10.7 m @ 0.12 gpt Au, 27.4 m @ 0.23 gpt Au; 62.5 m @ 0.38 gpt Au, 4 gpt Ag; 35.1 m @ 0.14 gpt Au; 21.3 m @ 0.19 gpt Au; 18.3 m @ 0.15 gpt Au; 6.1 m @ 0.29 gpt Au; 13.7 m @ 0.39 gpt Au, 4 gpt Ag; 85.3 m @ 0.16 gpt Au; 19.8 m @ 0.15 gpt Au, 4 gpt Ag.
- Zacatecas Silver Corp. provided an update on the drilling program at Panuco, within its Zacatecas property in Zacatecas. Four drill holes were completed for a total of 1,088m at Panuco, while two more were completed at Las Cruces vein system and one more is ongoing. Results are pending.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Argonaut Gold Inc. has acquired key mineral concessions from Fresnillo PLC for a cash consideration of US$5.75 M. The acquired package comprises a 4,791-ha concession and four key small concessions totalling 27 ha, which will allow Argonaut to expand the pit, increase mineral reserves and extend mine life.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Minera Media Luna informed on educational programs presented at communities in Guerrero.
- Peñoles presented its company-wide water saving strategy on all its activities.
- Newmont Peñasquito updated on activities with positive results in near-by communities.
- Panamerican Silver informed on community health programs near its La Colorada mine in Zacatecas.
On the image below: Galena bearing milky quartz vein on a project in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Jorge Cirett.