By Jorge Cirett
During the 14th week of the year (April 1st to April 7th, 2019), at least 24 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, an initiative with anti-mining tones was discarded by the Senate. The undersecretary of mining stated that no changes to the mining law, or tax increases in mining are envisaged by AMLO’s administration, and that the focus is to be in decreasing the regulatory load to incentivize the sector. On the other hand, he stated that regulations have to be actualized, highlighting community consultations. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Minaurum presented drilling results from several vein systems at its Alamos Silver property; Aloro submitted a new environmental permit for its Venados project. In Chihuahua, Sable Resources released a thick, good grade intercept from one hole at its Margarita project. In Veracruz, Azucar Metals disclosed good Au-Cu results from one more hole at its El Cobre property. ON MINING, Consolidated Zinc has a new toll agreement for its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. Endeavour Silver achieved commercial production at its El Compas mine in Zacatecas. Telson Mining released historic metallurgical test results that support higher precious metal recoveries for its Campo Morado mine in Guerrero. Alamos Gold has produced 2 M Oz Au at the Mulatos mine in Sonora. Torex Gold produced 77.8 K Oz Au during the last quarter at its Limon-Guajes mine in Guerrero. GoGold produced 288.7 K Oz Ag in Parral, Chihuahua. Arcelor Mittal invested over US$1 B on its Michoacan plant in 2018. ON FINANCING, Sonoro Metals raised $650K. Defiance Silver closed the second tranche of its financing, raising $1.06 M. Sable Resources announced an offering to raise up to $1.5 M. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Mag Silver disclosed development advances at Juanicipio, Zacatecas. Sierra Metals disclosed positive drill results from testing of a geophysical anomaly at Bolivar, Chihuahua. Evrim informed on the increase in resources by First Majestic at the Ermitaño project in Sonora. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Alamos Gold sold a portfolio of non-core royalties. Bacanora Lithium continues to negotiate with Oman for funding of the Sonora Lithium project. Premier Gold divested of several properties, including the Santa Teresa property in Baja California. American Silver and Pershing Gold continue on its path to business combination. GoldCorp’s shareholders support the business combination with Newmont.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- An initiative with anti-mining tones was discarded by the senate. The initiative presented on November 2018 by the now deceased senator Angelica Garcia, caused a fall in the value of mining companies in the Mexican stock market at the time of its presentation. The Comisiones Unidas de Mineria y Desarrollo Regional y de Estudios Legislativos discarded the proposal on March 27th, based on multiple deficiencies regarding operational overlapping of several government organisms and the lack of well-defined procedures on environmental and negative social impact issues.
- Francisco Quiroga, undersecretary of mining, in an interview with El Financiero Bloomberg, stated that the Federal Government is not to realize changes to the Mining Law, nor to impose a tax increase in the mining industry. The priority, he said, is to reduce the regulatory load and to augment the financing of projects. He added that regulations have to be actualized in maters like community consults, but that there is no need to change the Mining Law. He also pointed that there are not going to be legal changes on the direct foreign investment in mining.
- Minaurum Gold Inc. informed that three of the new vein systems at its Alamos Silver project host significant mineralisation at depth, and drilling has intersected five previously unknown blind veins. To date, 9 of the 15 vein systems identified have been drilled, and Minaurum plans to put at least one hole on each of these before turning to follow-up phase III drilling. Highlighted results from phase II drilling of new veins comprise: 9.6 m @ 198 gpt Ag, 0.17% Cu, 0.2% Pb, 0.9% Zn (or 269 gpt AgEq); 0.9 m @ 302 gpt Ag, 0.21% Cu, 0.5% Pb, 0.8% Zn (or 383 gpt AgEq); 2.05 m @ 181 gpt Ag, 0.15% Cu, 1.6% Pb, 1.5% Zn (or 338 gpt AgEq); 2.85 m @ 25 gpt Ag, 2.3% Pb, 10.6% Zn (or 618 gpt AgEq); 0.9 m @ 391 gpt Ag; 0.11% Cu, 0.4% Pb, 0.3% Zn (or 548 gpt AgEq). Good drill core mineralised intercepts have been obtained from the Minas Nuevas, Promontorio, San Jose, Europa-Guadalupe, Nueva Europa, Amalia, Tigre, Ana, Travesia and El Creston vein systems.
- Sable Resources Ltd. announced results from one more drill hole at its Margarita project in Chihuahua. This drill hole is on the same section line than a deep hole from the previous drilling campaign, and extends mineralisation 350 m NW from other holes. Highlighted intervals comprise 37.35 m @ 117 gpt Ag, 0.7% Zn, 0.2% Pb, 0.17 gpt Au (or 177 gpt AgEq), including 0.90 m @ 353 gpt Ag, 0.6% Zn, 0.1% Pb (391 gpt AgEq) and 5.50 m @ 400 gpt Ag, 3.0% Zn, 1.1% Pb, 1.07 gpt Au (or 689 gpt AgEq), including 1.65 m @ 790 gpt Ag, 0.4% Zn, 2.0% Pb, 2.92 gpt Au (or 1,122 gpt AgEq). “This hole was intended to test close to surface mineralisation above low-grade mineralisation intercepted at depth in Hole 3 and we are delighted at hitting such strong, thick mineralisation.”
- Aloro Mining Corp. submitted to SEMARNAT a new environmental permit for approval of drilling and road construction at its Los Venados property in Sonora. “Aloro was able to apply for the new permit after recently negotiating a new 3 year – 50 drill hole surface access agreement with the Mulatos Ejido.” The new permit is focused on the blind target in the SE corner of the concession, where a drill hole from the last campaign intersected 32 m of strong silicic alteration with brecciated vuggy quartz and sulfides, and 4.5 m @ 1.57 gpt Au.
- Azucar Minerals Ltd. released results from one more drill hole at its El Cobre project in Veracruz. The hole, drilled on the Raya Tembrillo target in the northern edge of the Villa Rica zone, intercepted hypogene porphyry mineralisation from surface, with 168.1 m @ 0.56 gpt Au, 0.29% Cu, including 77.5 m @ 0.78 gpt Au, 0.35% Cu, which in turn include 27.95 m @ 1.53 gpt Au, 0.43% Cu and 12.1 m @ 2.04 gpt Au, 0.58% Cu.
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. announced the execution of a new toll agreement for its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua, whilst still negotiating new offtake agreements for the concentrates. On March 22, CZL received the notification of termination of its toll agreement with Grupo Mexico (60-day termination notice), and by March 29 a toll agreement was executed with Triturado y Minerales La Piedrera S.A. de C.V. for processing of the ore at its Aldama concentrator facility. The Aldama plant has a 300 tonnes per day (or tpd) capacity that Plomosas can fully utilize. The contract is for 18 months with 6 months extension for CZL. “CZL will process Plomosas ore at both the Aldama Plant and Grupo Mexico Santa Eulalia concentrators for approximately a month under its contracts”. Negotiations are ongoing with a number of parties, “including Industrias Penoles S.A.B. de C.V. and Trafigura Beheer BV, to sell the Plomosas Zinc and Lead Concentrates”.
- Endeavour Silver Corp. informed that commercial production was achieved in mid-March at El Compas mine in Zacatecas, its fourth mine in Mexico. “El Compas has a nominal plant capacity of 250 tonnes per day (tpd) at estimated recovery rates of 83% gold and 50% silver. From February 18 to March 17, the operation processed development ore from stockpile at an average production rate of 232 tpd (93% of design rate) and recovery rates of 73.5% gold (88% of design rate) and 45.5% silver (63% of design rate but only 13% of revenue)”.
- Telson Mining Corp. released results of historic Leachox Process testing to try to increase Au and Ag recoveries on its Campo Morado mine tailings material, in Guerrero. The 2013 report by Maelgwyn Mineral Services for Nyrstar (then the mine operator) stated a maximum recovery of 65% Au, 75% Ag for 20 microns grinded material, and 45% Au, 81% Ag for 40 microns grinded material. “We could improve recoveries from current levels of gold at 15-20% and silver 30-40%, which would significantly increase the mines profitability by increasing the ounces of gold and silver produced at Campo Morado.”
- Alamos Gold Inc. announced that its Mulatos mine in Sonora produced its two millionth ounce of gold in March 2019. “This milestone also marks the end of the 5% NSR royalty that the operation has been paying since the start of production in 2005. At the current gold price, this represents a savings of approximately $65 per ounce, which has already been incorporated into previously disclosed guidance…… The Mulatos operation has been an incredible success story. It started producing gold in 2005 with approximately a seven-year mine life and 14 years later, the mine still has six years of reserves ahead of it.”
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. reported that in Q1, 2019, a total of 77,800 Oz Au were produced at its El Limon-Guajes mine in Guerrero. “Debt principal was reduced by $18.6 million, and cash balances at the end of the quarter were $119 million, including $26.8 million of restricted cash.” Field trials are underway for the first piece of equipment for the proprietary Muckahi mining system.
- Gogold Resources Corp. announced record production of 288.7 K Oz Ag and 1,613 Oz Au (or 424.2 K Oz AgEq) from its Parral tailings operation in Chihuahua.
- Arcelor Mittal. invested $1,635 M during 2018 in Michoacan, while looking to expand its production capacity in Mexico, including a new line of sheeted steel plate, mining, and the modernization of its production plant. The new installations are located in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, to take advantage of the Economic Special Zones to produce 5.3 M tonnes of steel, focusing on the higher aggregate value of sheet steel plate in the automotive and aerospace industries.
- Sonoro Metals Corp. completed a non-brokered private placement, for gross proceeds of $650 K (Cerro Caliche, Sonora).
- Defiance Silver Corp. closed the second tranche of its previously announced private placement, for gross proceeds of $1.06 M, paying $21.3 K finder’s fees and emitting 106.5 K non-transferable broker warrants (San Acacio, Zacatecas).
- Sable Resources Ltd. announced a non-brokered offering that could raise up to $1.5 M (Margarita, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Mag Silver Corp. disclosed audited consolidated results for 2018. At Juanicipio, in Zacatecas, operated by partner Fresnillo PLC, mine construction continues with “developing the three internal spiral footwall ramps at depth to access the full strike length of the Valdecañas Vein system; excavating and constructing the underground crushing chamber; advancing the conveyor ramp from both ends to and from the planned mill site….. integrating additional ventilation and other associated underground infrastructure, and progressing the construction of surface infrastructure facilities”. During 2018, 6,636 m of underground development were completed, taking the total to date to over 18.5 km. Some highlighted intersections of the 46,060 m of drilling during the year comprise: 11.6 m (true width, or TW) @ 783 gpt Ag, 2.57 gpt Au, 6.5% Pb, 9.5% Zn (Deep Zone West); 6.3 m @ 246 gpt Ag, 1.78 gpt Au, 7.2% Pb, 11.6% Zn, 0.4% Cu (Deep Zone East); 3.2 m @ 472 gpt Ag, 0.31 gpt Au, 0.4% Pb, 0.4% Zn (New Pre-Anticipada vein); 3.0 m (core length) @ 392 gpt Ag, 5.6 gpt Au. Mag remains well funded, with cash and cash equivalents of $130 M by the end of the year.
- Sierra Metals Inc. reported positive results from drill testing a geophysical anomaly at the Bolivar West zone of their Bolivar mine in Chihuahua. Drilling of the Titan 24 chargeability target identified and defined a new zone named West Extension to the Bolivar West zone, which is an extension of the Bolivar West structure. Highlighted drill intercepts comprise: 4 m @ 140 gpt Ag, 2.29% Cu, 7.6% Zn, 0.09 gpt Au (or 6.56% CuEq); 20 m @ 15 gpt Ag, 1.32% Cu, 1.16 gpt Au (or 2.42% ZnEq); 3 m @ 36 gpt Ag, 0.87% Cu, 8.5% Zn (or 4.63% CuEq).
- Evrim Resources Corp. informed that First Majestic Silver Corp. announced a 20% increase in inferred resources over the maiden resource estimation of 2018 at the Ermitaño property in Sonora. A total of 8.81 M AgEq Oz (or 119 K AuEq Oz) were upgraded to indicated status, while 48.98 M AgEq Oz (or 659 K AuEq Oz) are defined as inferred resources. First Majestic is planning to complete 16,000 m of drilling during 2019.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Alamos Gold Inc. reported entering into an agreement for the sale of a portfolio of non-core royalties to Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd., for proceeds of USD$8.0 M in Metalla common shares with the right to receive additional an additional USD$0.6 M upon Metalla’s exercise of the La Fortuna option. The portfolio of 18 royalties being sold is all on assets not owned by Alamos in several countries. This includes a 2% NSR royalty on the El Realito property, adjacent to the La India mine in Sonora.
- Bacanora Lithium PLC. Announced “that it remains in active discussions with the State General Reserve Fund of Oman (“SGRF”), the sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, to conclude the proposed US$65M Strategic Investment Agreement and Offtake Agreement for Bacanora’s flagship Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico……. the Company remains focused on completing the funding package in Q2 2019 with a view to commissioning a chemical processing plant and commencing first production at Sonora in H2 2021”.
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. announced the divestment of several properties in Canada, and the Santa Teresa property in Baja California. The divestment of the properties is the result of four transactions that accrued US$1.23 M to Premier. No information was provided on the parties involved on the transactions.
- Americas Silver Corp. and Pershing Gold Corp. announced that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has completed its review of the companies’ previously announced business combination and that they expect their business combination transaction to be completed by April 3rd.
- GoldCorp Inc. informed that GoldCorp’s shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the combination with Newmont Mining Corp.
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On the image above, quartz druse from a breccia in a Michoacan project. Picture by Jorge Cirett.