Stibnite in a fine grained quartz vein.
By Miguel A Heredia
During the thirty seven week of the year (September 7th to September 13th, 2020), at least 24 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico and 13 news published by the media, with ten disclosing deals and corporate issues, seven discussing social issues, six commenting on Mexican issues, five informing on exploration results, five announcing financial rounds, two reporting on resources and developments of their mine operations, and two communicating production and financial results. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Deputy Mario Delgado from MORENA party presented a reform to eliminate trust funds, including the Mining Fund. Mexico intends to lead lithium production. Federal Deputy Monica Almeida of the PRD party stated that the disappearance of the undersecretary of Mining must be re-considered. Mining companies operating in Mexico have cut their capital investment budgets by 20% on average in 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The company Roca Fosforica Mexicana (Rofomex) seeks to expand its mining area in Baja California Sur. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Colibri received an exploration permit to begin a trench program at its Evelyn project, and Silver Tiger provided an exploration update for its El Tigre project. In Sinaloa, Brigadier provided an exploration update on its Picachos project, and Oroco initiated a 3D IP survey at its Santo Tomas project. In Durango, Canasil released results from 2 drill holes collared recently at its Nora project. ON MINING, Excellon provided an operation update on its La Platosa mine in Durango. Consolidated Zinc reported H1, 2020 production and financial results from its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. ON FINANCING, Mag Silver completed its previously announced at the market equity program for gross proceeds of USD $50M (Juanicipio property, Zacatecas). Comet Resources announced that it will be conducting a placement to raise gross proceeds of $2M (Santa Teresa project, Baja California). Excellon completed its share consolidation (La Platosa mine, Durango). Monarca completed its previously announced shares for debt transaction to settle an aggregate of $301,324 owing to certain officers, directors and services providers of the company. Sable closed its previously announced private placement for total gross proceeds of approximately $9.9M (Margarita and Vinata project, Chihuahua). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Bacanora provided an operational update of its Sonora Lithium project in Sonora. Capstone provided updated proven and probable mineral reserves and positive results of an updated technical report for its Cozamin mine in Zacatecas. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Excellon announced that it has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) American (La Platosa mine, Durango). Mithril announced that its CEO was appointed as Managing Director (Copalquin project, Durango). Sonoro announced results of its annual general meeting of shareholders and changed its name from Sonoro Metals Corp. to Sonoro Gold Corp (Cerro Caliche project, Sonora). Alien entered into an exclusivity agreement with Capstone in respect of the potential farm out of an interest in its Donovan 2 Copper-Gold project in Zacatecas. Almaden announced the decision of the Second District Court in Puebla in respect of its environmental permit application for its Ixtaca project in Puebla. Argonaut entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its Ana Paula property in Guerrero. Consolidated Zinc secured an agreement with Industrias Peñoles to sale the 100% of the Zn concentrate produced by the company in 2021. Newmont appointed Susan N Story to its board of directors and achieves gender parity for non-executive directors (Peñasquito mine, Zacatecas). Southern Silver presented results from its annual general meeting of shareholders (Cerro Las Minitas project, Durango). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, First Majestic invested USD $3.8M in local communities where it operates. Fresnillo plc, continued donating personal equipment to prevent infections by COVID-19 in Caborca, Sonora. The Municipal President of Fresnillo, Zacatecas delivered the first stage of the rainwater collector with an investment of MXP $6M from the Mining Fund. The Municipal President of Cuencame, Durango announced that MXP $16.6M from the Mining Fund were invested in the construction of domes and paved streets, installation of electrical network, potable water and drainage in several communities in Cuencame, Durango. Grupo Mexico offered more than 130 weekly workshops via social networks generating content for the community. Minera Media Luna (Torex) improved public spaces in the Atzcala community in Guerrero. The Peñoles nursery garden continues donating trees to people seeking to expand the green folder in their home, plaza or a larger space for the population, and continue supporting the community with other social activities.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Deputy Mario Delgado from MORENA party presented a reform to eliminate trust funds, including the Mining Fund. A period is proposed for the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and the Welfare Bank (Banco del Bienestar, created by MORENA) to proceed to the extinction of the Public Administration and Payment Trust called “Fund for the Development of Mining Production Zones” (Mining Fund), in accordance with provided for in the Federal Budget and Fiscal Responsibility Law. Obviously, this is not the reason and the goal the Mining Fund was created for.
- Mexico intends to lead lithium production since lithium is required to make rechargeable batteries, and the demand for this mineral has multiplied in the last decade, with the rise of laptops and smartphones. Annual sales of batteries made from lithium-ion batteries are projected to reach a value of $100B in 2029 and about $116B in 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. While Mexico’s reserves are not yet certified, the size of the deposit found in Sonora (Sonora Lithium project owned by Bacanora)- which, according to Mining Technology, is the largest deposit under development in the world – placed the country on the radar of global lithium investors. The project will be the first to produce significant volumes of lithium in Mexico. Initially, production is estimated to approach 17,500 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate, which will double to 35,000 tonnes starting in 2026, after a projected expansion in its investment of USD $380M.
- Monica Almeida, Federal Deputy of the PRD party, stated that the disappearance of the undersecretary of Mining must be re-considered and warned that neither the economic adjustments nor the so-called “republican austerity” should be a pretext for the disappearance of an undersecretary that served a sector of utmost importance for Mexico, since at the world is within the top 10 in the production of 19 minerals. This measure was not shared by the members of the country’s mining sector, among which are the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX), the Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico (AIMMGM), the Mining Task Force of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (CANCHAM), the Mining Clusters of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Sonora and Zacatecas, the College of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico (CIMMGM) and the organization Mujeres en la Mineria – WIM Mexico; who have openly expressed their disagreement with the measure. It should be remembered that the mining-metallurgical sector in Mexico contributes 2.4% of GDP. Also this year, our country ranks first in silver production worldwide, generating 379 thousand direct jobs and 2.4 million indirect ones.
- Mining companies operating in Mexico have cut their capital investment budgets by 20% on average in 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Updated estimates from nine of the country’s largest gold, silver and copper producers show total spending of USD $1.95B, down USD $488M from the projected amount of USD $2.44B before the pandemic.
- The company Roca Fosforica Mexicana (Rofomex) seeks to expand its mining area in San Juan de la Costa north of La Paz Baja California Sur. Rofomex filed an environmental permit to explore outside the boundaries of the mining project. The exploration plan established an area where the project will be carried out. It is more than 1,203 ha and contemplates the completion of works for the drilling of 7 holes.
- Colibri Resource Corporation received an exploration permit to begin a trench program at its Evelyn project. The company plans to dig up to 2.2km of trenches in up to 13 separate areas on Evelyn project in order to extend mineralization at selected occurrences and to provide exposure for geological and structural mapping of veins and structures.
- Silver Tiger Metals Inc., provided an update on ongoing exploration at its wholly-owned El Tigre Silver project in Sonora. The company is currently conducting a drill program with two rigs focused on the Caleigh, the Protectora and the Fundadora veins, all of which outcrop on surface and are exposed in exploration drifts in the 3km north of the historic El Tigre mine.
- Brigadier Gold Limited provided an exploration update on its Picachos project in Sinaloa. The company is preparing a fully financed 5,000m drilling program in approximately 40 holes targeting four high grade Au-Ag veins found within the Colomeca vein system, comprised of several sub-parallel veins over a 1.5km wide zone. In addition, Brigadier is also planning approximately 3 line-km of trenching across several historic sample sites to follow-up anomalies identified by the historic work to define drill targets. “Brigadier intends to have drills turning by the third week of September and look forward to providing updates as results become available.”
- Oroco Resource Corp., initiated a 3D resistivity and IP survey at its Santo Tomas project in Sinaloa. The survey is targeted to cover an area of approximately 10 km of the property which will encompass the mineralized South Zone, North Zone and the Brasiles Zone at Santo Tomas. The survey comprises a dipole – pole – dipole arrangement and targets the layout of some 26 Rx (receiver) lines spaced at 200m.
- Canasil Resources Inc., released results from 2 initial drill holes collared at its Nora project in Durango. Hole NCR-20-01tested the Candy vein and intersected 1.6 g/t Au, 440 g/t Ag, 2.51% Cu, 2.1% Pb, and 0.61% Zn over 0.29m, while hole NCR-20-02 encountered 0.72 g/t Au, 21 g/t Ag, 0.1% Cu, 0.2% Pb, and 0.5% Zn over 4.8m, including 1.81 g/t Au, 62 g/t Ag, 0.08% Cu, 0.1% Pb, and 0.61% Zn over 0.38m. Drill hole NRC-20-03, targeted below NRC-20-02 has been completed to a depth of 302 metres, and NRC-20-04 is in progress, targeted below NRC-20-01 as planned.
- Excellon Resources Inc., provided an operation update on its La Platosa mine in Durango. The company achieved a strong production after resuming mining and milling activities in mid-June, 2020. In July, 2020 the company mined and processed 7,044 and 7,408 tonnes respectively with grades of 528 g/t Ag, 5.8% Pb, and 7.7% Zn at metallurgical recoveries of 92.4%, 85.7%, and 77.6% respectively, to produce 116.3K Oz Ag, 972K Lb Pb, and 7K Lb Zn (198.5K Oz AgEq).
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd., reported H1, 2020 production and financial results from its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. The company mined in H1, 2020, over 12,332 tonnes of 16.4% Zn and 8.6% Pb to produce 2.25M Lb of payable Zn, 546.7K Lb of payable Pb, and 455 Oz of payable Ag sold in Zn and Pb concentrates. Consolidated Zinc reported a net loss after income tax of USD $2.19M, a profit of USD $0.56M, total assets of USD $4.14M, and total liabilities of USD $3.79M. Total cash reported was USD $0.77M and borrowings were USD $0.98M.
- Mag Silver Corp., completed its previously announced at the market equity program for gross and net proceeds of USD $50M and USD $48.62M respectively. Net proceeds will be used to fund the completion of construction of the Juanicipio project, with any reminder to fund further exploration of Juanicipio and other projects, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.
- Comet Resources Limited announced that it will be conducting a placement for gross proceeds of $2M. The offer under the plan will raise a maximum of $500K on the terms and conditions contained in this letter. In conjunction with the placement, this will provide the company with additional funds of up to $2.5M. Part of the funds raised will be used for ongoing exploration at Santa Teresa project in Baja California as well as for the payment of costs associated with the plan and placement and general working capital.
- Excellon Resources Inc., completed its share consolidation in connection with its plan to trade on the NYSE American LLC, which is now effective. Excellon’s shares are expected to commence trading on the NYSE American by the end of September under the ticker symbol “EXN” (La Platosa mine, Durango).
- Monarca Minerals Inc., completed its previously announced shares for debt transaction to settle an aggregate of $301,324 owing to certain officers, directors and services providers of the company. The amount settled includes $194K out of $342K of accrued directors, management, and consulting fees (Tejamen property, Durango).
- Sable Resources Ltd., closed its previously announced private placement for total gross proceeds of approximately $9.9M. Net proceeds will be used for exploration and general corporate and working capital purposes (Margarita and Vinata project, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Bacanora Lithium plc., provided an operational update of its Sonora Lithium project in Sonora. The pilot plant has completed the bulk sampling required for the Sonora plant, the same that were submitted to relevant partners in China and USA for optimization of the final design. GR Engineer completed its concentrator design work and will integrate this into the overall project scope, and its JV partner Ganfeng Lithium completed its flow sheet design testwork for the production of battery grade lithium from the samples provided by the pilot plant. Bacanora therefore remains on schedule to commence initial site works at Sonora in H1 2021, subject to completion of financing, which would enable commencement of production at the plant in 2023.
- Capstone Mining Corp., provided updated proven and probable mineral reserves and positive results of an updated technical report for its Cozamin mine in Zacatecas. Proven and probable reserves as of April 30, 2020 are 10,178,000 tones of 1.79% Cu, 41 g/t Ag , o.36% Zn and 0.05% Pb for a total of 2M Lb Cu, 13.5M Oz Ag, 79.4M Lb Zn, and 11M Lb Pb. Capstone updated life of mine plan with annual average Cu and Ag production increased by 70% to 61.4M Lb Cu and 43% to 1.75M Oz Ag respectively. Average annual C1 costs (net of by-products) are expected to move 23% lower to $0.67 per payable Lb Cu. It also announced that ramp-up to 1.35 million tonnes milled per annum (“tpa”) by Q2 2021 is on time and budget, that tailings management transformation activities are progressing on schedule, and that a PFS of an underground paste backfill system is underway. Finally, it also reported that a new step-out hole drill program totalling 80 holes targeting the down dip extension to the southeast of both Vein 10 and Vein 20 is underway. Hole S499 and S503 intersected high grade polymetallic copper, zinc, lead and silver in a 650-meter step-out from the current mineral resource. A 1 km exploration drift is being considered to provide a drilling platform to target this new area.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Excellon Resources Inc., announced that it has applied to list its issued and outstanding common shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) American, LLC., under the ticker symbol “EXN” (La Platosa mine, Durango).
- Mithril Resources Limited announced that its CEO was appointed as Managing Director (Copalquin project, Durango).
- Sonoro Metals Corp., presented results from its annual general meeting of shareholders and announced it has changed its name from Sonoro Metals Corp., to Sonoro Gold Corp., and will commence to trade with the new ticker symbol “SGO” (Cerro Caliche project, Sonora).
- Alien Metals Ltd., entered into an exclusivity agreement with Capstone Mining Corp., in respect of the potential farm out of an interest in its Donovan 2 Copper-Gold project in Zacatecas. The agreement provides for a 45-day period for Capstone to undertake due diligence to their satisfaction. If the parties decide to move into a definitive agreement, then Capstone could earn-in to the Donovan 2 property through a combination of carried expenditures and cash payments.
- Almaden Minerals Ltd., announced the decision of the Second District Court in Puebla in respect of its environmental permit application for its Ixtaca project in Puebla. “The company challenged an October, 2019 decision by Mexico’s environmental authority (“SEMARNAT”) to suspend its review of the Ixtaca project’s environmental permit application (“MIA”) until resolution of legal proceedings (the “Amparo”) regarding certain of the Company’s mineral concessions which encompass the area of the Ixtaca project. In its recent decision, the Court dismissed the “incident” principally on the basis that SEMARNAT is not a party to the Amparo. Furthermore, in a related communication with SEMARNAT, the Court also confirmed that the existence of the Amparo does not prevent SEMARNAT from resolving the MIA permit application and that SEMARNAT is free to act within its jurisdiction and authority in respect of the MIA review. The Ministry of the Economy, the Mining Authorities, the Congress, Senate, and the Office of the Presidency all made submissions to the Court as part of this decision. The Company awaits a response from SEMARNAT to the Court decision”.
- Argonaut Gold Inc., entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its Ana Paula property in Guerrero. Total consideration to Argonaut includes USD $30M on closing, CAD $10M upon the announcement of commencement of construction, a 1% NSR, and 9.9% of the outstanding common shares of the acquiring company, which will be formed by a business combination of 1252201 BC Ltd (“AP Mining”) and Pinehurst Capital II Inc. (“Pinehurst”), creating a new publicly traded gold development company (the “Resulting Issuer”).
- Consolidated Zinc Limited secured an agreement with Industrias Peñoles to sale under favorable terms the 100% of the Zn concentrate produced by the company in 2021 at its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua.
- Newmont Corporation appointed Susan N Story to its board of directors and achieves gender parity for non-executive directors (Peñasquito mine, Zacatecas).
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp., presented results from its annual general meeting of shareholders. In this meeting shareholders re-elected directors and approved the purchase of Electrum Global Holdings L.P.’s 60% ownership interest in Southern Silver Holdings Limited and indirect 60% interest in the Cerro Las Minitas property in Durango.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- First Majestic Silver Corp., invested during 2019, USD $3.8M in local communities where it operates, destined to health programs, infrastructure, access to water, and youth projects. In 2019, First Majestic planted 105,730 native plants through reforestation initiatives, and also recycled more than 80% of the water used in its operations. At the end of 2019, First Majestic employed a total of 4,681 people: 3,305 employees and 1,376 contractors, distributed in the six operating mines of the company: San Dimas, and La Parrilla, in Durango; La Encantada, in Coahuila; Santa Elena, in Sonora; Del Toro, in Zacatecas, and San Martín, in Jalisco.
- Fresnillo plc, continued donating personal equipment to prevent infections by COVID-19 in Caborca, Sonora. The company delivered 8,000 face masks as part of a social program to raise awareness among the population about the importance of health care to avoid the spread of the virus.
- The Municipal President of Fresnillo, Zacatecas delivered the first stage of the rainwater collector with an investment of MXP $6M from the Mining Fund. This work has 180 linear meters and has favored the inhabitants of the El Vergel subdivision and neighboring colonies since it is channeled to rainwater and prevents floods.
- The Municipal President of Cuencame, Durango announced that MXP $16.6M were invested in the construction of domes and paved street, installation of electrical networks, potable water and drainage in several communities in Cuencame, Durango. In addition, she also reported that more than two thousand direct and indirect jobs were generated.
- Grupo Mexico S.A.B de C.V., offered more than 130 weekly workshops via social networks generating content for the community with a focus on prevention, healthy distance and stay at home, as well as implementation of workshops in the areas of education and culture, health and safety, environment and sports.
- The Peñoles nursery garden continues donating trees to people seeking to expand the green folder in their home, plaza or a larger space for the community. Goal of the program is to reforest public spaces in order to maintain an ecological balance. The company also is carrying out cleaning and disinfection of classrooms, furniture and teaching materials at a Federal Middle School #2.
- Minera Media Luna (Torex Gold Resource) improved public spaces in the Atzcala community in Guerrero. Among the activities carried out were the pruning of trees, painting of sidewalks and fences, construction of concrete tops, cleaning of planters, reforestation, cleaning in the elementary school and kindergarten, placement of fencing in the field, replacement of lights and other activities.
Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.
On the picture above, stibnite in a fine grained quartz vein from an epithermal vein system in a prospect in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia