By Jorge Cirett
During the 9th week of the year (March 1st to March 7th, 2021), there were at least 34 press releases by companies working in Mexico. To note, ten companies posted exploration advances on their properties, three presented quarterly results, five posted on financing or share options (for C$2.25 M, C$23 M and C$12 M), three more on project development and six on corporate issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Zacatecas government is promoting talks between Canadian mining companies and mining concession owners. Mining companies raise US$280 million for Mexican projects. First Majestic initiated and arbitration process under NAFTA against the Mexican government. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Silver Viper presented the highest gold results in drilling to date at La Virginia; Heliostar Metals commenced drilling at La Lola and started exploration at Cumaro and Oso Negro; Tocvan Ventures informed on detailed mapping and sampling at Pilar. Tarachi Gold started the second phase underground drilling campaign at La Dura mine at its Tarachi project. In Chihuahua, Kootenay Silver initiated the second phase drilling at Columba; Mammoth Resources began an IP survey at Tenoriba. Monarca Minerals is seeking a key surface access permit at San Jose. In Sinaloa, Oroco Resource conducted a helicopter magnetic survey at Santo Tomas. In Zacatecas, Zacatecas Silver is to explore the Zacatecas Silver project; Alien Metals commenced drilling at Donovan 2. ON MINING, Endeavour Silver, Fresnillo PLC and Great Panther Mining released quarterly and/or full year 2020 reports. ON FINANCING, One World Lithium, Silver Tiger Metals and Santacruz Silver Mining released news on their financing rounds for C$2.25 M, C$23 M and C$12 M respectively. Zacatecas Silver started trading on the TSX. Candelaria Mining granted options for 1 M shares. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Sonoro Gold released metallurgical tests results from Cerro Caliche. GR Silver released results from one drill hole at Plomosas. Galore Resources released results from five holes drilled in 2019. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Empress Royalty is acquiring a silver stream on production from Telson’s Tahuehueto mine in Durango. Orex Minerals is in a 40-60 joint venture with Pan American Silver to explore the Sandra Escobar project in Durango. Ganfeng´s increased interest (to 50%) in Bacanora Lithium has been authorized by China. First Majestic Silver requested an arbitration procedure under NAFTA regarding a tax dispute with the Mexican government. Silver One Resources completed the sale of three properties to Silverton Metals, which in turn completed its qualifying transaction. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Peñoles, Fresnillo PLC and First Majestic Silver informed on actions and awards received by the companies relating to social responsibilities.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The Zacatecas government is promoting talks between Canadian mining companies and mining concession owners.
- Mining companies raise US$480 million for Latin America projects. Gold and silver projects obtained US$194 million and US$121 million respectively. Most of that amount is directed to Mexico (US$280 M), Argentina (US$88.6 M), Brasil (US$42.8 M) and Chile (US$26.7 M). Specific projects financed include Las Chispas (Sonora), San Antonio (Sonora), Tahuehueto (Durango) and Cordero (Chihuahua).
- First Majestic initiated and arbitration request under NAFTA against the government of Mexico. The request comes after failed attempts by the company to engage in negotiations with the government.
- Silver Viper Minerals Corp. reported good drilling results from its La Virginia project in Sonora. Highlighted true width intervals comprise 80.08 m @ 18 gpt Ag, 0.69 gpt Au; 11.89 m @ 363 gpt Ag, 21.2 gpt Au (including 0.3 m @ 738 gpt Au, 10,681 gpt Ag, 6.74% Pb, 7.11% Zn); 28.95 m @ 44 gpt Ag, 0.77 gpt Au; 10.16 m @ 42 gpt Ag, 1.06 gpt Au; 0.92 m @ 231 gpt Ag, 11.80 gpt Au; 2.59 m @ 52 gpt Ag, 0.94 gpt Au; 1.52 m @ 78 gpt Ag, 1.07 gpt Au. “The upper portions of hole LV21-289 (azimuth 090, dip -450 ) encountered mineralized stringer intervals thought to represent the southern projection of the Western Zone. More consistent mineralization was encountered starting at 280 metres down hole, returning a down hole length measuring 130 metres core length with an average grade of 18 g/t silver and 0.69 g/t gold. Beneath this interval, a well mineralized breccia zone was encountered, starting at 424.85 metres down hole for 19.30 metres core length averaging 363 g/t silver and 21.2 g/t gold, and thought to represent the projection of El Rubi structure”.
- Zacatecas Silver Corp. described its Zacatecas Silver Project in Zacatecas. The 7,826 ha Zacatecas Silver property in the Zacatecas district, includes the Panuco deposit and the Muleros, El Cristo and San Manuel-San Gill prospects. Panuco has an historic resource of 19.47 M Oz Ag in 3.95 M tonnes @ 153 gpt AgEq (136 gpt Ag, 0.01% Pb, 0.11% Zn). At Muleros three veins can be traced for 3 km; El Cristo is the NW extension of the Veta Grande system, same that is reported to have produced over 200 M Oz Ag; San Manuel-San Gill is a relatively unexplored vein system and an 800 m long hematitic breccia is also present.
- Alien Metals Ltd. announced the commencement of its drilling program at the Donovan 2 copper gold project in Zacatecas. The 2,500 m of drilling is to test targets defined by an IP geophysical survey conducted late in 2020. “Pursuant to the terms of the Earn-in Agreement, Capstone can acquire a 65% interest in Donovan 2 through committed expenditure and cash payments totalling ~US$3.9million. Capstone can move to an 80% interest in the Project through free-carrying Alien to completion of a prefeasibility study”.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. initiated a 5,000 meters core drilling program at Columba, Chihuahua. “The program will focus on step out and infill drilling on impressive results to date in the high-grade F vein and its associated hanging wall vein, a new discovery blind to surface. Focus will then shift to expanding on numerous other high-grade results such as found in holes CDH 20-030 (415 gpt silver over 11.15 meters including 721 gpt silver over 4.07 meters) in the JZ area and CDH 20-082 (1,186 gpt silver over 4.6 meters) in the B Vein”.
- Oroco Resource Corp. completed the airborne component of a helicopter magnetics survey over the Santo Tomas project in Sinaloa. The survey comprised 2,231 line-kilometers with tie-line separations of 50 m and 500 m in east-west and north-south orientations respectively; processed results are to be received within two months. Meanwhile, 3D IP surveys continue on the Brasiles zone. Oroco holds a 61.4% interest that can be increased to 81.0% in the core 1,173 ha of the Santo Tomas project, and a 77.5% interest in 7,808 ha surrounding and adjacent to the core concession.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. has begun induced polarization/magnetometer surveys to infill most of the 60% of the 6-kilometer trend not covered by the previous geophysical survey at Tenoriba, Chihuahua. A total of approximately 70 line-kilometers are to be completed.
- Heliostar Metals Ltd. commenced exploration of its projects in Sonora. An initial 1,500 m drilling program has begun at La Lola, focusing in the up to 40 meters wide La Barra vein and its potential to depth. At Cumaro, will map and sample extensions to veins that have ore grade intercepts on the neighboring SilverCrest’s Picacho property. “Exploration at the Oso Negro project will focus on mapping and sampling outcropping veins that yielded samples up to 2,680 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 100.5 g/t gold. These veins have never been drilled”.
- Tocvan Ventures Corp. informed detailed mapping and sampling of key targets areas have taken place at its Pilar project in Sonora. The aim of the work is to advance these targets to drill ready status, for a phase II drill program. The Main Zone Extension comprises 800 m southeast of the Main Zone, with highly anomalous gold in soils and rock grab samples and an historic hole with a 13.5 m @ 5.6 gpt Au, 22 gpt Ag intercept. The 4-Trench zone is a 600 m trend with highly anomalous gold in soils and rock grab samples and an historic hole intercept of 7.5 m @ 3.3 gpt Au, 31 gpt Ag. The project has over 17,700 meters of historic core and RC drilling, with intercepts of up to 61 m @ 0.8 gpt Au; 16.5 m @ 53.5 gpt Au, 53 gpt Ag; 13 m @ 9.6 gpt Au; 9 m @ 10.2 gpt Au, 46 gpt Ag.
- Monarca Minerals Inc. continues to advance the permitting process for drilling of the San Jose project in Chihuahua (near the USA border). Currently the company is in negotiations with the authorities of communal lands for their permit to proceed with drilling activities in their land.
- Tarachi Gold Corp. started the second phase of underground drilling at the historic La Dura mine at its Tarachi project in Sonora. “In addition to the underground drilling at La Dura, a surface RC drill rig will be mobilized to the Jabali mineral concession in mid-March to test the 400m-long area between the La Dura mine and the artisanal workings at Zaragoza…”.
- Endeavour Silver Corp. released its financial results for the Q4 and 2020 full-year. The company operates three mines in Mexico: Guanaceví in Durango, Bolañitos in Guanajuato and El Compas in Zacatecas. The company produced 3.5 M Oz Ag, 37,139 Oz Au (7.1 M Oz AgEq) at cash cost $5.55 per Oz Ag and at an all-in sustaining cost of $17.59 per Oz Ag, both net of gold credits. The year-end balance sheet was $61.1 M, with working capital at $70.4 M and a long term debt of $6.1 M.
- Fresnillo PLC. Presented its financial results for 2020, a year during which it produced 53 M Oz Ag and 769.6 K Oz Au. At Fresnillo, cash cost stands at $5.9 and AISC at $12.92 per silver ounce; At Saucito, cash cost stands at $0.8 and AISC at $6.94 per silver ounce. At San Julián Veins (Chihuahua), cash cost stands at ($6.0) and AISC at $5.04 per silver ounce; At San Julián DOB (Chihuahua), cash cost stands at $7.0 and AISC at $8.85 per silver ounce; At Ciénega (Durango), cash cost stands at ($276.2) and AISC at $618.32 per gold ounce; At Herradura (Sonora), cash cost stands at $727.9 and AISC at $881.92 per gold ounce; Finally, at Noche Buena (Sonora), cash cost stands at $1,158.5 and AISC at $1,502.92 per gold ounce. Exploration expenses for the year were $107.3 M. Shafts at Fresnillo and Juanicipio are being bored to 1,000 meters of depth; commissioning of Juanicipio is expected for Q4 2021, with a forecasted yearly production of 11.7 M Oz Ag, 43.5 K Oz Au. “the longer-term prospects for gold are good, supported by the potential new mines at Rodeo and Orisyvo”. Cash position at the end of the year was US$1,070 M.
- Great Panther Mining Ltd. reported consolidated financial results for 2020, including figures from its Topia (Durango) and Guanajuato Mine Complex operations in Mexico. During the period 50,868 tonnes were mined in Mexico, milling 49,498 tonnes @ 270 gpt AgEq.
- Zacatecas Silver Corp. announced its common shares have begun trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (Zacatecas Silver, Zacatecas).
- One World Lithium Inc. closed its previously announced C$1.5 M non-brokered private placement with an oversubscription that brought the total in gross proceeds to C$2.25 M. The company granted incentive stock options to certain of its directors, officers, management and consultants (Salar del Diablo, Baja California).
- Silver Tiger Metals Inc. closed it previously announced bought deal offering for gross proceeds of C$23 M. The underwriters were paid a 6% commission on the gross proceeds (El Tigre, Sonora).
- Candelaria Mining Corp. granted incentive stock options to employees, directors and officers of the company for 1.02 M shares (Pinos, Guanajuato; Caballo Blanco, Veracruz).
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. announced a non-brokered private placement intended to raise up to C$12 M (Zimapan, Hidalgo).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Sonoro Gold Corp. reported on metallurgical studies realized at Cerro Caliche Sonora. Bottle roll tests were realized on sample materials from the Japoneses, Cuervos, El Colorado/Cabeza Blanca and Buena Suerte zones, resulting in 80.3% recoveries for gold and 27.2% for silver.
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. reported high-grade results from one drill hole in the San Juan area at Plomosas, Sinaloa. The highlighted core-length intercept is 5.7 m @ 611 gpt Ag, 0.04 gpt Ag, 0.5% Pb, 1.7& Zn, 0.1% Cu (685 gpt AgEq), including 1.7 m @ 1,762 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 1.3% Pb, 4.9% Zn, 0.2% Cu and 0.7 m @ 3,755 gpt Ag, 0.03 gpt Au, 2.5% Pb, 9.7% Zn, 0.5% Cu.
- Galore Resources Inc. announced the return of field work and the recent receipt of additional assays from five holes of the drill program executed at El Alamo during 2019. A loan from the CEO, Mike McMillan provided the necessary funds for logging and assaying of the 2019 core. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 21.20 m @ 0.69 gpt Au, including 1.20 m @ 8.89 gpt Au; 4 m @ 0.54 gpt Au; 10.21 m @ 1.14 gpt Au, including 1.10 m @ 4.70 gpt Au; 59.85 m @ 0.32 gpt Au, including 3.2 m @ 1.07 gpt Au.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Empress Royalty Corp. is in advanced discussions to acquire a US$5 M silver stream on production from Telson Mining Corp.’s Tahuehueto project in Durango. “The Stream is expected to be on 100% of the payable silver production from Tahuehueto for the first 1,250,000 payable ounces; thereafter, the percentage will step-down to 20% of the payable silver production”.
- Orex Minerals Inc. entered into an agreement with Pan American Silver Corp. to further explore and develop the Sandra-Escobar Project, in Durango. “The Project is a consolidation of two groups of claims, each controlled by the two Joint Venture participants. Orex and Pan American own a 40% and 60% interest, respectively, in Empresa Minera Sandra-Escobar, S.A. de C.V. (the “Joint Venture Company”), the new joint venture company formed to hold the Project. Orex will be the initial operator of the Project”.
- Bacanora Lithium PLC. informed the receipt of all relevant approvals and consents from the authorities in the People’s Republic of China and receipt of funds by Sonora Lithium Ltd.. These were conditions for the completion of the increased investment in Sonora Lithium by Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd., resulting in Ganfeng owning 50% of the share capital of Sonora Lithium (Sonora Lithium, Sonora).
- First Majestic Silver Corp. submitted a request for arbitration to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes based on Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trades Agreement (NAFTA). The government of Mexico has refused to engage in negotiations to resolve the dispute. “The Company believes that the Government’s actions are contrary to the terms of the Advance Pricing Agreement, which established the methodology for determining PEM’s revenues and taxes for the 2010 to 2014 fiscal years, and which, according to the Company’s Mexican counsel remains valid in accordance with the Mexican Federal Tax Code unless and until it is nullified by a final instance Court. In addition, the Government of Mexico has refused to participate in the Mutual Agreement Procedures under three international double-taxation treaties signed by Mexico” (San Dimas, Durango).
- Silver One Resources Inc. completed the sale of its Mexican silver exploration projects to Silverton Metals Corp.. for $6 M as follows: $1.25 M in cash on closing, issue 4.37 M shares, $750 K in cash at 18 months, $500 K in cash at 24 months and a 1.5% NSR, of which 1% can be bought back by Silverton with a payment of US$500 K for each of the properties (see below).
- Silverton Metals Corp. (formerly Plymouth Realty Capital Corp.) and Silver One Resources Inc. announced that Silverton has completed its previously announced qualifying transaction with the acquisition of Silver One’s Peñasco Quemado (Sonora), La Frazada (Nayarit) and Pluton (Durango) projects.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Peñoles and Fresnillo PLC informed on actions on biodiversity conservation activities at each of its operations in Mexico.
- The Ethisphere Institute released a list of 135 companies that have ethics as one of its key directives in the world, which includes two Mexican companies: Grupo Bimbo and Fresnillo, with the latter being one of only three companies from the mining industry.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. received the 2021 Socially Responsible Business Distinction Award (Reconocimiento de Empresa Socialmente Responsable) granted by the Mexican Centre for Philantropy and the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility. The awards were for its three operating mines: San Dimas (Durango), Santa Elena (Sonora) and La Encantada (Coahuila).
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: Ricardo Ramonett checking epithermal low sulfidation quartz veining on andesitic tuffs in Sinaloa. Picture by Jorge Cirett.