By Jorge Cirett
During the 17th week of the year (April 24th to April 30th, 2023), 17 companies working in Mexico released news on their work. Five companies informed on exploration on their properties, six companies informed on Q1 2023 or full-year 2023 production/financial results. Two companies announced the closing and opening of financing rounds. A company corrected assay information on a previously issued drill intercept; one other provided an update on its intention to sue the Mexican government under a NAFTA legacy claim regarding the lack of action to terminate an illegal blockade. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Canada’s ministry of International Commerce, Mary Ng, expressed the preoccupation of foreign investors on the incoming changes to the Mining Law. The Mining Law was passed on Saturday morning by the Senate, and is set to return discretionary powers to the State on mining concessions. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Prismo Metals released assays from surface sampling at its Los Pavitos property; Regency Silver released good results from deep drilling at its Dios Padre project; Colibri Resource released results from drilling at Evelyn project. In Zacatecas, Radius Gold updated on exploration work at the Tropico property. ON MINING, Sierra Metals, Mag Silver, Santacruz Silver, Alamos Gold, Pan American Silver and Agnico Eagle released Q1 2023 production reports. ON FINANCING, Silver Viper closed a private placement for $3.3 M; Radius Gold is to raise $1.75 M. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Oroco Resource corrected assay results from one hole, previously issued last week, from its Santo Tomás project in Sinaloa. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Guanajuato Silver informed on managerial changes. Silver Bull is to sue the Mexican government if a deal is not reached on an incoming meeting regarding the lack of action by the government to terminate an illegal blockade on its Sierra Mojada project in Coahuila. Prismo Metals and Vizsla Silver formalized the joint technical committee to oversee exploration of the Panuco district in Sinaloa, with Peter Megaw, Craig Gibson and Jesus Velador as members. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, no relevant news.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The ministry of International Commerce of Canada, Mary Ng, expressed to Raquel Buenrostro, head of the Economy Secretariat (Secretaría de Economía) the preoccupation of foreign investors on the changes to the Mining Law, and the negative implications on North America supply chains.
- The Senate Commission on Regional Development and Legislative Studies approved without changes, by the ruling party coalition senators of Morena, PT, PVEM and PES parties, the reforms to the Mining Law, National Waters Law, Ecologic Equilibrium Law, Environment Law, and the General Law for prevention and Comprehensive Treatment of Tailings in Matter of Mining and Water Concessions. Among the changes is the reduction of mining concessions validity from 100 to 80 years (under certain conditions), the instauration of an auction system by the government for mining concessions, establishing that the concession title is to be issued AFTER the environmental, labor, energy, social and any other federal permit needed have been received (Note by Editor. – Speaking of putting the cart before the horse).
- On the changes to the Mining Law. (Note by editor) The reform to the Mining Law is directed to regain quasi absolute control of mining concessions by the government, establishing rules under which the concessions can be revoked on grounds of indigenous population, community issues, environmental issues and water scarcity, all on which the government plays the role of judge and party. This is part of a broader drive by the president to concentrate power in himself and his government coalition before the 2024 presidential elections.
- Prismo Metals Inc. released assays results from 354 surface samples on its 5,289 hectare Los Pavitos project in Sonora. Results from Las Auras are up to 0.5 m @ 14.35 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 12.25 gpt Au, while at Santa Cruz assays are up to 0.5 m @ 5.48 gpt Au, 269 gpt Ag; 1.5 m @ 1.0 gpt Au, 543 gpt Ag. “Las Auras is characterized by northwest trending veins and shears hosted in intrusions, while Santa Cruz is dominated by northeast trending veins that follow sedimentary bedding”. Drilling is expected to begin in Q2 2023.
- Regency Silver Corp. released results from two follow-up holes from the last drilling round discovery at the Dios Padre project in Sonora. Seven holes have been completed for a total of 4,251 m, of which six have intersected the targeted “pyrite +/- specularite +/- chalcopyrite supported breccia zone that hosts Au-Cu mineralization”. Highlighted core length intercepts comprise 18.15 m @ 0.24 gpt Au; 8.3 m @ 0.62 gpt Au; 19.25 m @ 0.19 gpt Au; 16.2 m @ 0.39 gpt Au; 20.65 m @ 0.51 gpt Au (including 9.2 m @ 1.06 gpt Au); 35.9 m @ 5.51 gpt Au; 128.35 m @ 0.84 gpt Au (including 21.3 m @ 0.54 gpt Au and 57.95 m @ 1.49 gpt Au), and 95.5 m @ 0.2% Cu; 34.35 m @ 0.42% Cu (including 12.05 m @ 0.98% Cu); 25.4 m @ 0.43% Cu; 23.9 m @ 0.19% Cu; and 15.1 m @ 19.2 gpt Ag. “Geophysical Induced-Polarity (IP) survey confirms robust anomaly connecting near surface response from Dios Padre silver mine down-dip to current Au-Cu mineralization being targeted in ongoing drill program, outlining a ~1000m long by ~900 m wide zone of strongly chargeable rock”.
- Prismo Metals Inc. signed a contract for a 2,500 m drilling program at its Palos Verdes project in the Panuco District in Sinaloa. “The drill program is designed to test the 65% of the strike length of the Palos Verdes vein that has not yet been drilled. It is believed that potential for a large ore shoot is present similar to the drilling accomplished by Vizsla Silver on their adjacent land package is present on Prismo’s concession. Previous drilling has intersected high grade mineralization with the best intercept of 2,336 g/t Ag and 8.42 g/t Au over a true width estimated at 0.8 meters within a larger mineralized interval with 1,098 g/t Ag and 3.75 g/t Au over a true width of 2.3 meters”.
- Radius Gold Inc. provided an update on the Tropico target in Zacatecas. “Radius geologists identified an elliptical zone of intensely silicified hydrothermal breccias approximately 450 m x 250 m. Several of the outcrops and float blocks are composed of chalcedonic and opaline sinter. The Tropico breccia is hosted within finely bedded siltstones and dirty limestones …”. Radius has an access agreement with the local community and land owners, has completed the geological mapping, contracted CSAMAT and IP geophysical surveys and is preparing for drilling upon receipt of the permits.
- Colibri Resource Corp. provided assays results from 1,062 m of core drilling in three holes and 1,205 m of reverse circulation drilling in five holes at its Evelyn project in Sonora. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 34.70 m @ 0.28 gpt Au (including 5.65 m @ 1.00 gpt Au); 4.50 m @ 0.34 gpt Au, 4.05 m @ 1.52 gpt Au (including 0.75 m @ 7.54 gpt Au). Highlighted RC intervals comprise 29.00 m @ 0.47 gpt Au (including 2.00 m @ 3.35 gpt Au and 6.00 m @ 0.97 gpt Au); 15.00 m @ 0.18 gpt Au; 20.00 m @ 0.11 gpt Au; 2.00 m @ 1.85 gpt Au; 10.00 m @ 0.47 gpt Au (including 2.0 m @ 1.10 gpt Au and 2.0 m @ 1.04 gpt Au). Colibri also released results from a “short hole” drilling program designed to explore under extensive alluvial cover, completing 1,548 m in 130 vertical holes at 25 m centers. Of the 954 samples (1 m width) recovered, 20% returned greater than 0.05 gpt Au, 11% greater than 0.1 gpt Au and 4 samples returned more than 0.7 gpt Au, peaking at 3.31 gpt Au.
- Sierra Metals Inc. announced first quarter 2023 production results, including figures from its operations in Mexico. At Bolivar, in Chihuahua, 299 K tonnes were processed at a rate of 3,417 tonnes per day (tpd), grading 0.87% Cu, 17.4 gpt Ag, 0.45 gpt Au, recovering 94.2% Cu, 84% Ag, 69.5% Au, to produce 5.39 M Lb Cu, 140 K Oz Ag, 3,037 Oz Au (7.6 M Lb CuEq). At Cusi (a non-core asset), in Chihuahua, 59.1 K tonnes were processed at a daily rate of 676 tpd, grading 141.8 gpt Ag, 0.13 gpt Au, 0.24% Pb, recovering 86.3% Ag, 46.6% Au, 88.7% Pb, to produce 343 K Oz Ag, 119 Oz Au, 282 K Lb Pb.
- Mag Silver Corp. reported production from the Juanicipio project (56% Fresnillo PLC– 44% Mag Silver) for Q1 2023. During the period 222 K tonnes grading 363 gpt Ag were processed to produce 2.25 M Oz Ag, 6,047 Oz Au. About 30% of that ore was processed at the Juanicipio beneficiation plant and the focus now is to attain the 4,000 tpd nameplate capacity on a sustained basis and achieve commercial production.
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. reported full year 2022 production, with figures on its Mexican operations. At Zimapan, in Hidalgo, 215 K tonnes were milled averaging 71 gpt Ag, 2.19% Zn, 0.63% Pb, 0.40% Cu, recovering 61.5% Ag to produce 301.2 K Oz Ag, 3,098 tonnes Cu, 1,036 tonnes Pb, 569 tonnes Cu (903.1 K Oz AgEq). The company had a consolidated production of 4.77 Moz AgEq. “Mine development was focused on opening higher grade stoping areas in Carrizal mine along with high productivity areas in Monte mine. Exploration efforts have been refocused to expand current mine resources”.
- Alamos Gold Inc. reported its financial results for Q1 2023, including figures from its operations in Mexico. At the Mulatos district in Sonora 50,500 Oz Au were produced at cash cost $839 per Oz Au and mine-site all-in sustaining cost of $914 per Oz Au. At La Yaqui Grande mine, 1.0 M tonnes of ore were mined, 5.83 M tonnes of waste moved (waste to ore ratio of 5.64), with 1.02 M tonnes stacked averaging 1.55 gpt Au, containing 50,992 Oz Au, crushed at 11,329 tpd, with a recovery of 75% Au. At the Mulatos mine, 1.0 M tonnes of ore were mined, 0.61 M tonnes of waste moved (waste to ore ratio of 0.61), with 1.23 M tonnes stacked averaging 0.92 gpt Au, containing 36,541 Oz Au, crushed at 13,700 tpd, with a recovery of 33%. For 2023 the company expects to produce between 175-185 K Oz Au at cash cost $900 – $950 per Oz Au.
- Pan American Silver Corp. provided its guidance for year 2023 production and costs, including figures for its Mexican operations. At La Colorada, in Zacatecas, the company expects to produce 5.5 – 5.9 M Oz Ag, 3,000 Oz Au. At Dolores, in Chihuahua, production is estimated at 2.2 – 2.5 M Oz Ag, 98,000 – 107,000 Oz Au.
- Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. reported first quarter 2023 results, including figures from its Mexican operations. At Pinos Altos, in Chihuahua, 364 K tonnes were processed at a daily rate of 4,044 tonnes, averaging 2.16 gpt Au, to produce 24,134 Oz Au at cash cost 1,364 per Oz Au and total cash cost of $1,116 per Oz Au. At La India, in Sonora, 660 K tonnes were processed at a daily rate of 7,333 tonnes, averaging 0.68 gpt Au, to produce 16,321 Oz Au at production cost of $1,231 per Oz Au and total cash costs of $1,308 per Oz Au. At San Nicolás, in Zacatecas, the 50/50 joint venture with Teck Resources Ltd. was completed, and the completion of a feasibility study is planned for 2024.
- Silver Viper Minerals Corp. closed the final tranche of its non brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $1.92 M. In total the company raised $3.3 M. Silver Viper is to pay $123.8 K in finder’s fees in connection with this offering, in addition to $40 K paid as finder’s fee on previous tranches. (La Virginia, Sonora).
- Radius Gold Inc. is to proceed with a non-brokered private placement aiming to rise a minimum of $1.75 M (Amalia, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Oroco Resources Corp. announced a correction to the assay results from one drillhole released last week from its Santo Tomás project in Sinaloa. The corrected results from hole N044 went from 352.5 m grading 0.83% Cu, 0.011% Mo, 0.072 gpt Au, 6.26 gpt Ag (0.93% CuEq), to 352.5 m grading 0.42% Cu, 0.006% Mo, 0.036 gpt Au, 3.13 gpt Ag (0.46% CuEq), roughly half the previously reported values.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd. announced Hernan Dorado Smith will take the position of Chief Strategy Officer and Mario Valdez has been promoted to Co-Chief Operating Officer, sharing the position of COO with Ramon Davila (El Cubo, Guanajuato).
- Silver Bull Resources Inc. provided an update regarding its legacy North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claim against Mexico. The company seeks to recover economic damages resulting from the illegal blockade of its Sierra Mojada project in Coahuila since September 2019. The illegal blockade has been allowed by the government to continue, despite numerous demands and requests by the company. Silver Bull will be seeking to recover no less than US178 M in damages suffered as a result of Mexico’s breach of NAFTA obligations. A meeting with government officials is scheduled on May 30, 2023 to reach, if possible, an amicable solution. If a settlement is not reached, a request for arbitration will be filed on June 2, 2023 with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
- Prismo Metals Inc. and Vizsla Silver Corp. formalized the establishment of a joint technical committee which will allow for the pursuit of district-scale exploration of the Panuco district in Sinaloa. The committee is to be comprised by Dr. Craig Gibson, President and CEO of Prismo, Jesus Velador, Vice President Exploration of Vizsla and Dr. Peter Megaw, Chief Operating Officer of Mag Silver Corp.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- No Relevant News.
On the image below: Sheeted quartz veining on a coarse-grained intrusive rock in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Jorge Cirett.