By Jorge Cirett During the 29th week of the year (July 17th to July 23rd, 2023), 21 companies working in Mexico posted news releases. Two companies informed on exploration work at its properties and five more reported second quarter 2023 results. One company informed on the closing of a private placement, while six companies reported on work at their advanced properties and six more informed on acquisitions, company’s plans and issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, mining companies are reflecting the changes in the business environment by making strategic moves, including diversification of the countries they operate in. The coal mine in Coahuila that registered two fatalities during the week had suspension orders since 2022. Mining organization and experts question LitioMx ability to operate, and its almost non-existent budget. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Regency Silver informed on drilling at Dios Padre; Prismo Metals reported on the trenching program at Los Pavitos. In Sinaloa, Prismo Metals informed on drilling at Palos Verdes. ON MINING, Americas Gold and Silver, Bear Creek Mining, First Majestic Silver, Golden Minerals and Avino Silver released production results for Q2 2023. ON FINANCING, Guanajuato Silver announced a bought deal private placement with a sole underwriter. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Aura Minerals provided an exploration update for Aranzazu, in Zacatecas. First Majestic Silver reported exploration results from San Dimas, in Durango, and from Santa Elena, in Sonora. Heliostar Metals released drilling results from Ana Paula, in Guerrero, including the strongest gold intercept for Mexico in the year. GoGold Resources released drilling results from the Main Area of the Los Ricos South project in Jalisco. Gatos Silver updated on resource definition drilling at its Cerro Los Gatos property in Chihuahua. Endeavour Silver provided a construction update for its Terronera project in Jalisco. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Riverside Resources provided an outlook of its ongoing activities, including a strengthening of its diversification out from Mexico. Radius Gold informed on the extension of the exclusivity agreement with Fresnillo PLC on the Plata Verde project, in Chihuahua. Newmont included several references to the suspension of activities at Peñasquito, in Zacatecas, on its Q2 2023 report. Golden Tag Resources updated on the La Parrilla (Durango) acquisition from First Majestic. Excellon Resources announced the sudden termination of the acquisition process of La Negra project in Queretaro by the vendor. Sierra Metals informed the conclusion of the “Special Committee” formed last year to tackle the challenging circumstances the company is addressing. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, no relevant news. ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Editor comments. The hostile stance at the mining industry since the instauration of the present federal administration in Mexico, which culminated with the passing of a mining law that is to practically stop any new exploration plays and make current operations riskier, is rendering results, with companies consolidating plans in their search for greener pastures. Riverside Resources is one of the few companies explicitly making public their diversification plans out from Mexico, but they are certainly not alone. Great Panther Silver is a company that bailed out before the president made the legal move to reflect its personal stance in the industry. Other companies are understandably doing the same, although the widespread anti-mining position in many countries generates second thoughts on the issue.
- The Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS-Work Bureau) pointed that the las visit to the Minera Fuga, in Coahuila, was in August 2022. During the review dangerous conditions were detected. Two workers died last week on the mine after falling 10 meters when the hoist winch failed. STPS ruled access restrictions and limitation of operations, which are still in force, “any operation of the mine is out of the law”.
- Mining organizations and experts raise doubts on LitioMx ability to operate. Only US$2 M have been budgeted for exploration and evaluation of lithium deposits in 2023 and 2024. Just Bacanora Lithium has invested more than US$450 M in the definition of resources in its lithium-clay deposit in Sonora, as an example of the unreasonable amounts directed to the search for lithium. This is a large deposit with a questionable economic viability, as lithium is associated to clays, and an economic process to extract the lithium still has to be proved. In the World, 85% of lithium is mined from brines in dry lakes, and the rest from hard-rock pegmatites.
- Regency Silver Corp. announced the completion of the phase 1 of the 2023 drilling program at its Dios Padre project in Sonora. Nine holes were drilled as follow up to the one that intercepted 35.8 m @ 6.84 gpt Au, 0.88% Cu, 22 gpt Ag and 9.8 m @ 13.97 gpt Au, 1.1% Cu, 50 gpt Ag on the 2022 program. Eight of nine holes intersected the target breccia zone down-dip and along strike, with the breccia appearing to widen with depth. A megacrystic quartz-feldspar porphyry appears to be the primary control for copper mineralization, with the high-grade sulfide breccia on the footwall of the porphyry. “The shallower intersections are more pyrite dominant with deeper intersections containing more specularite. Chalcopyrite appears to be highest in abundance where the breccia is proximal to the lower contact of the quartz-feldspar porphyry”. Final results will be released after reception and evaluation.
- Prismo Metals Inc. reported that the trenching program at Los Pavitos property in Sonora has been completed. Results for 303 of the 347 samples collected from trenches have been received. “The trenching was generally focused on areas with little outcrop along strike from areas with quartz veining and high-grade surface assays”. Highlighted results comprise 6.4 m @ 0.1 gpt Au; 19.0 m @ 2.2 gpt Au, 23 gpt Ag (including 4.0 m @ 10.3 gpt Au, 104 gpt Ag) at Auras, 18.5 m @ 0.2 gpt Au; 2.1 m @ 1.7 gpt Au; 8.0 m @ 0.5 gpt Au; 7.8 m @ 2.3 gpt Au, 13 gpt Ag; 2.5 m @ 0.9 gpt Au, 70 gpt Ag; 17.70 m @ 0.13 gpt Au at Santa Cruz and 1.40 m @ 0.74 gpt Au at Española.
- Prismo Metals Inc. is in the process of completing a 2,500 m drill program on its Palos Verdes project, in Sinaloa. The program was designed to test areas without previous drill access. Eight holes have been completed for a total of 1,500 m and assays have been received for the first seven holes. Results are expected to be announced next week.
- Americas Gold and Silver Corp. provided Q2-2023 production results. The Cosalá operations in Sinaloa produced 335 K Oz Ag, 3.9 M Lb Pb, 9.9 M Lb Zn, benefitting from higher grade Ag areas in the upper zone of the San Rafael mine.
- Bear Creek Mining Corp. announced production results for the second quarter of 2023. At the Mercedes mine in Sonora, 9,199 Oz Au, 39.8 K Oz Ag were produced by mining 121.5 K tonnes, processing 125.1 K tonnes grading 2.41 gpt Au, with a recovery of 94.54% Au during the period. Cut and fill mining was revised to room and pillar mining at San Martin and sub-level caving and sub-level stoping at Marianas. “Tonnes mined from the San Martin deposit are expected to double from 400 to 800 tonnes per day during Q3 2023 as the available working faces increase. The San Martin deposit contains 289k tonnes in Measured and Indicated Resources at an average grade of 6.6 g/t gold and is projected to account for roughly 50% of Mercedes’ gold production in the second half of the year”.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. released Q2 2023 production results. In Mexico, the company produced 2.63 M Oz Ag, 40,858 Oz Au (5.97 M Oz AgEq) from its operations at San Dimas in Durango, Santa Elena in Sonora and La Encantada in Coahuila. During the period 16 drill rigs were active in Mexico, eight at San Dimas (16,588 m of drilling), six at Santa Elena (16,373 m of drilling) and two (1,950 m of drilling) at La Encantada. For the year First Majestic aims to produce between 10.5 and 11.2 M Oz Ag and between 169 to 180 K Oz Au at cash cost between $12.33 and $12.71 and an AISC between $17.23 and $17.66.
- Golden Minerals Co. reported production figures for Q2 2023. At Rodeo, in Durango, 154.4 K tonnes were mined, 54.3 K tonnes processed at a rate of 603 tonnes per day, averaging 1.6 gpt Au, 9 gpt Ag, recovering 72.6% Au, 75.5% Ag, to produce 2,081 Oz Au, 11.5 K Oz Ag. The company also sold 656 tonnes of Au-rich pyrite concentrate, 118 tonnes of Ag-rich lead concentrate and 63 tonnes of Zn concentrate, produced from mineralized material from the Velardeña properties (also in Durango), material that was mined and stockpiled during 2022 as part of the test-mining program.
- Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd. announced production results for Q2 2023. At the Avino mine in Durango, 157.4 K tonnes were milled averaging 53 gpt Ag, 0.44 gpt Au, 0.49% Cu, recovering 87% Ag, 68% Au, 84% Cu, to produce 232.4 K Oz Ag, 1,520 Oz Au, 1.44 M Lb Cu, or 587.3 K Oz AgEq. Recent news includes the best drill intercept in the long history of the mine, and drilling results that probe the continuity of mineralization 1.1 km downdip from the surface outcrop. Metallurgical testing at the Oxide Tailings project has been completed, taking the resource to 5.7 M tonnes containing 17.4 M Oz AgEq. The Dry-Stack tailing facility is complete and operational.
- Guanajuato Silver Co. announced a bought deal private placement with Cantor Fitzgerald Canada as the sole underwriter, for gross proceeds of C$8 M. “The Corporation shall pay to the Underwriter a cash commission equal to 6.0% of the gross proceeds of the Offering and 6.0% broker warrants based on the number of Units sold in the Offering” (El Cubo and Valenciana, Guanajuato).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Aura Minerals Inc. provided an exploration update from its properties, including from its operations at Aranzazu, in Zacatecas. Aura Silver controls 11,000 ha in the project area, and only 5% of the mineral claims have been drilled. Exploration efforts have focused on extending the life of mine (LOM) and building the basis for an increase in production capacity. Currently Aura has a LOM of seven years based on mineral reserves only. Several early stages targets have been identified, including “new copper-gold skarns, manto type polymetallic mineralization, and high-grade gold/silver veins”. For 2023, 29,400 m of drilling are intended to be completed, focusing on testing the continuity of the GH and Cabrestante areas, with drilling also planned for the El Cobre and Aranzazu extensions.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. reported exploration results from San Dimas in Durango and Santa Elena (Ermitaño Zone) in Sonora. At San Dimas, true width drilling intercepts from the Sinaloa North-Elia vein, the Santa Teresa vein and the Perez vein include 3.88 m @ 8.38 gpt Au, 763 gpt Ag; 0.98 m @ 5.84 gpt Au, 396 gpt Ag; 4.12 m @ 14.98 gpt Au, 89 gpt Ag; 5.69 m @ 5.41 gpt Au, 883 gpt Ag; 3.05 m @ 4.58 gpt Au, 740 gpt Ag; At Santa Elena, resource conversion holes, in addition to intercepts in the Ermitaño vein, multiple holes intersected mineralization in secondary veins located in the hanging and footwall of the Ermitaño vein, returning true width intercepts of 15.55 m @ 5.98 gpt Au, 222 gpt Ag; 13.3 m @ 4.27 gpt Au, 127 gpt Ag; 6.42 m @ 13.73 gpt Au, 150 gpt Ag; 1.96 m @ 3.39 gpt Au, 56 gpt Ag.
- Heliostar Metals Ltd. reported drill results from two additional holes at the Ana Paula project in Guerrero. “The current drill program continues to demonstrate higher overall grades over broad widths relative to the current mineral resource” in Heliostar’s quest to evaluate the possible development of an underground mine. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 241.95 m @ 9.06 gpt Au (including 31.5 m @ 21.5 gpt Au; 35.2 m @ 23.6 gpt Au and 9.9 m @ 42.4 gpt Au); 104.1 m @ 6.14 gpt Au (including 19.5 m @ 15.1 gpt Au). These holes were drilled within the resource model with increases in grade to the expected intercept of 33% and 38%.
- GoGold Resources Inc. released drilling results from the Main Area of the Los Ricos South project in Jalisco. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 14.0 m @ 1.77 gpt Au, 574 gpt Ag (including 2.3 m @ 10.30 gpt Au, 3,308 gpt Ag); 6.3 m @ 0.59 gpt Au, 86 gpt Ag; 16.2 m @ 0.70 gpt Au, 72 gpt Ag; 14.0 m @ 2.90 gpt Au, 85 gpt Ag; 17.5 m @ 0.60 gpt Au, 93 gpt Ag; 9.9 m @ 0.95 gpt Au, 334 gpt Ag; 11.9 m @ 1.28 gpt Au, 183 gpt Ag; 9.5 m @ 1.08 gpt Au, 186 gpt Ag; 5.4 m @ 1.97 gpt Au, 136 gpt Ag; 11.6 m @ 1.50 gpt Au, 165 gpt Ag; 22.5 m @ 1.20 gpt Au, 124 gpt Ag; 5.8 m @ 2.27 gpt Au, 42 gpt Ag; 24.9 m @ 1.01 gpt Au, 104 gpt Ag; 7.1 m @ 1.25 gpt Au, 417 gpt Ag; 16.5 m @ 1.32 gpt Au, 153 gpt Ag; 17.3 m @ 2.53 gpt Au, 160 gpt Ag; 13.7 m @ 1.48 gpt Au, 213 gpt Ag. It is expected these holes will be included in an updated resource to be released by the end of the summer.
- Gatos Silver Inc. provided an update on the definition and exploration drilling at its Cerro Los Gatos property in Chihuahua. Highlighted true width intercepts from resource definition drilling comprise 25.7 m @ 78 gpt Ag, 0.05 gpt Au, 0.53% Cu, 2.1% Pb, 5.0% Zn; 9.5 m @ 87 gpt Ag, 0.18 gpt Au, 0.44% Cu, 1.9% Pb, 6.3% Zn; 2.7 m @ 192 gpt Ag, 0.17 gpt Au, 0.20% Cu, 8.0% Pb, 9.0% Zn; 3.8 m @ 181 gpt Ag, 0.11 gpt Au, 0.28% Cu; 1.7% Pb, 2.0% Zn; 4.1 m @ 39 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 0.45% Cu, 1.1% Pb, 4.5% Zn; 2.7 m @ 91 gpt Ag, 0.06 gpt Au, 0.61% Cu, 4.7% Pb, 11.4% Zn; 12.2 m @ 129 gpt Ag, 0.04 gpt Au, 0.54% Cu, 1.1% Pb, 2.3% Zn; 10.0 m @ 146 gpt Ag, 0.11 gpt Au, 0.45% Cu, 2.2% Pb, 3.2% Zn. The company’s exploration land package covers 103,000 ha, with over 50 targets identified to date. Mamba, Portigueño, Lince, Santa Ana and San Luis are some of the areas where current work is defining drilling targets through mapping, re-logging and re-interpretation, Lidar surveys and geophysics.
- Endeavour Silver Corp. provided a construction update for its Terronera project in Jalisco. More than $70 M have been spent since Q1 2022 (of a $144 M budget), with construction progress currently at 30%. Detail mill and surface facilities engineering is over 70% complete, the access road improvements are almost finished and the permanent camp facilities are at 90% completion. Nearly 600 m of underground development have been completed and the mill site earthworks have finalized. The workforce has increased to 83 employees and 390 contract workers. Upcoming work includes advancing the mill area concrete work, awarding the mill construction contract, receiving major mill components in Q3 and advancing Portal 2 and Portal 4 development for initial ore access in Q1 2024.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Riverside Resources Inc. provided an outlook of its ongoing activities on the first half of the year, and its plans for the reminder of 2023. The company is diversifying its activities out from Mexico, strengthening objectives in Canada. Riverside consolidated the Union project in Sonora, with assays of up to 1 Oz per ton Au in the now controlled mine area. Another development is the royalty in the Tajitos asset (Sonora), with funds having been received from Fresnillo PLC, who is advancing the property.
- Radius Gold Inc. informed the extension of the exclusivity agreement with Fresnillo PLC for the Plata Verde project in Chihuahua. “The amended Agreement provides Minera San Julian a 6-month extension to its Exclusivity Period from July 7, 2023 to January 7, 2024 to negotiate a Definitive Agreement that would include an option agreement to earn a 70% interest in the Plata Verde project. The amended Agreement also provides for interim funding by Minera San Julian of US$206,000 … as well as an additional advance of US$500,000 to fund initial drill testing”.
- Newmont Corp. announced second quarter 2023 results, including some information from its Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas. In June, Newmont suspended operations at Peñasquito to focus on finding an appropriate and sustainable resolution to the dispute with the leadership of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers of the Mexican Republic. “Peñasquito incurred $23 million of operating costs and $15 million of depreciation and amortization due to the suspension of operations”.
- Golden Tag Resources Ltd. updated on the proposed acquisition of the La Parrila silver mine complex (in Durango) from First Majestic Silver Corp pursuant to the agreement announced in December 2022. The transaction is expected to close in August, its completion remains subject to the approval by Golden Tag shareholders and receipt of all regulatory approvals, including that of the TSXV. The company has already received approval from Mexico’s antitrust agency, the Comisión Federal de Competencia Económica (COFECE) for the acquisition of La Parrilla. “Golden Tag has closed on two tranches of its non-brokered private placement financing of subscription receipts for aggregate gross proceeds of $6.9 million. The Company has received further subscription commitments, which when combined with the first two tranches, total in excess of $7.2 million”.
- Excellon Resources Inc. announced the unexpectedly reception of a notice of termination of the previously announced acquisition of the La Negra project from the seller, Dalu S.ar.l., an entity owned by an investment fund managed by Orion Resource Partners. Consequently, the company is also announcing the termination of its previously announced subscription receipts offering, which was intended to finance the acquisition. Excellon is in advanced discussions with holders of more than 66-2/3% of the principal of its outstanding convertible debentures maturing on July 30, 2023 in the principal amount of C$17.9 M with a view to extending the maturity date and more broadly restructure the Debentures. “the Company continues to actively assess various interim financing options as well as other corporate development and strategic opportunities to complement the Company’s go-forward strategy, which may include divestitures, mergers or spin-offs of the Company’s assets to provide additional near term liquidity”.
- Sierra Metals Inc. informed that in October 2022 a Special Committee integrated by the company’s independent directors “initiated a process to explore, review and consider options to optimize the operations of the Company as well as financing, restructuring and strategic options in the best interests of the Company”. The process has made progress towards stabilizing and optimizing operations, pumping and ventilation infrastructure implementation at the Bolivar mine in Chihuahua, increased throughput, appointment of officers and refinancing of secured debt repayment obligations that were due in 2023. As such, the “Special Committee” has been concluded. Some recommendations to follow include near term equity financing to provide working capital and flexibility, funding for longer term capital expansions and minimizing investment in non-core assets.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- No Relevant News.
On the image below: Vein ridge on a project in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Jorge Cirett.