By Miguel A Heredia
During the eleventh week of the year (March 9th to March 15th, 2020), at least 21 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, with four commenting on Mexican issues, three announcing financial rounds, three informing on exploration results, three communicating production and financial results, three disclosing deals and corporate issues, three discussing issues on social responsibility, and two reporting on resources and developments. ON MEXICO ISSUES, A local Deputy of Durango State celebrated the investment of USD $100M in the mining sector. Michoacán State breaks the mining slowdown cycle, and Fe extraction grows 8% and climbs to second place. A series of Mexican mining projects have changed ownership in recent weeks as Au and Ag prices rise. In the last five years, the female workforce in the mining sector has grown by an average of 14-15%, according to Karen Flores, General Director of the Mining Chamber of Mexico (Camimex). ON EXPLORATION, In Sinaloa, Vizsla reported drilling results from its Panuco project. In Zacatecas, Alien announced its program development for its Mexican projects. In Jalisco, GoGold released drilling results from 11 holes collared at its Los Ricos project. ON MINING, Americas Gold and Silver reported full year 2019 production and financial results (Cosala mine, Sinaloa). Santacruz suspended milling operations at its Veta Grande mine in Zacatecas. Fortuna Silver reported full year 2019 production and financial results from its San Jose mine in Oaxaca. ON FINANCING, Almaden announced a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of up to $2M (Ixtaca project, Puebla). SilverCrest announced a bought deal financing for gross proceeds of CAD $75M (Las Chispas project, Sonora). Mexus sold some Au produced at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Great Panther updated mineral resource estimate at its Guanajuato Mine Complex in Guanajuato and provided an update on its Topia mine operation in Durango. SilverCrest reported infill drilling results from its Las Chispas project in Sonora. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Equinox and Leagold completed merger to create premier Americas gold producer (Los Filos, Guerrero). Pan American filed its 2019 audited annual financial statement and annual information form (La Colorada mine, Zacatecas). Premier appointed a new member to its board of Directors (Mercedes mine, Sonora). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Almaden opened a local water reservoir in the community of Zacatepec, nearby its Ixtaca project in Puebla. Argonaut gave scholarship number 3,000 to a student of La Colorada, Sonora. Minera San Xavier (New Gold Inc.), improves the public lighting system in Cerro de San Pedro, San Luis Potosi.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- A local Deputy of Durango State, celebrated the investment of USD $100M in the mining sector. It means greater economic development and especially the generation of a large number of well-paid jobs. For this reason, the Deputy said, it is necessary for the federal government to develop a state mining policy, as it is currently done in Durango that allows recovering the international competitiveness that characterized Mexico during the first decade of this millennium.
- Michoacan State, breaks the mining slowdown cycle, and Fe extraction grows 8% and climbs to second place. According to the Economic Information Bank, the entity totaled 2.6M tonnes in 2019, which meant an increase of 8% with respect to the 2.4M tonnes reported during 2018.
- A series of Mexican mining projects, have changed ownership in recent weeks as Au and Ag prices rise. For instance, Magna Gold acquired the San Francisco mine in Sonora from Alio Gold and is evaluating partnership opportunities to advance its suspended Ana Paula project in Guerrero; GR Silver Mining acquired Plomosas in Sinaloa from First Majestic; GoGold recently acquired 5 concessions around its Los Ricos project in Jalisco; and Fresnillo plc exercised an option to acquire the Naranjillo property in Guanajuato from Plata Latina. These latest agreements show that Mexico continues to generate a decent level of interest in mergers and acquisitions.
- Karen Flores, General Director of the Mining Chamber of Mexico (Camimex), announced that In the last five years, the female workforce in the mining sector has grown by an average of 14-15%. Currently, 60 thousand women work in this industry in the country, which represents 16% of the total of its workers. In 2019, 3,153 new places were generated for them.
- Vizsla Resources Corp., reported drilling results from its Panuco project in Sinaloa. Significant interception were encountered in hole AMS-20-06 with 1.25 g/t Au and 264 g/t Ag (364 g/t AgEq) over 3.55m, including 2.54 g/t Au and 474 g/t Ag (677 g/t AgEq) over a width of 1.3m; and hole AMS-20-04 with 2.45 g/t Au, 45 g/t Ag, 1.2% Pb, and 3.0% Zn (404 g/t AgEq) over 2.6m. These drilling results are the first set from an aggressive program of 14,500m that will continue throughout 2020.
- Alien Metals Limited, announced its program development for its Mexican projects. The company has planned a detail exploration drilling program and has submitted applications for drill permits at its Los Campos and San Celso projects in Zacatecas. At its Donovan 2 Cu-Au VMS target in Zacatecas, it also is planning a ground magnetic survey to generate follow-up work and drill targets.
- GoGold Resources Inc., released drilling results from eleven holes collared at its Los Ricos project in Jalisco: two at San Juan and nine at the Main area. Significant drill intersections were encountered in hole LRGG-20-106 (San Juan Area) with 1.35 g/t Au and 118 g/t Ag (2.92 g/t AuEq or 219 g/t AgEq) over a width of 21m, including 2.83 g/t Au and 217 g/t Ag and (5.73 g/t Au or 430 g/t AgEq) over a width of 9.5m; hole LRGG-20-102 (Main Area) with 1.05 g/t Au and 156 g/t Ag (3.13 g/t AuEq or 235 g/t AgEq) over a width of 10.7m; and hole LRGG-20-101 (San Juan Area) with 0.54 g/t Au and 116 g/t Ag (2.08 g/t AuEq or 156 g/t AgEq) over a width of 33.8m, including 2.0 g/t Au and 467 g/t Ag (8.22 g/t AuEq or 617 g/t AgEq) over a width of 5m.
- Americas Gold and Silver Corporation, reported full year 2019 production and financial results. Consolidated results indicate a total ore processed of 701.8K tonnes of 70 g/t Ag, 2.1% Pb, 3.4% Zn to produce 1.16M Oz Ag, 26.2M Lb Pb, and 43.3M Lb Zn, with a cash cost of $4.61 per Oz Ag and AISC of $12.71 per Oz Ag. The company reported revenues of $58.4M and a net loss of $34.2M. The Cosala mine in Sinaloa successfully executed its production plans for the year 2019, increasing mill tonnage to over 1,750 tonnes per day, and increasing production of precious and by-product metals.
- Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd., suspended milling operations at its Veta Grande mine in Zacatecas for approximately six months to facilitate plant and new tailings storage facility upgrades.
- Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., reported Q4 and full year 2019 production and financial results from its San Jose mine in Oaxaca. During the period Q4, 2019, it milled 273,066 tonnes of 249 g/t Ag and 1.5 g/t Au, recovering 91% for both metals to produce 2M Oz Ag and 12K Oz Au, at cash cost of $6.8 per Oz AgEq and AISC of $10.5 per Oz AgEq. For the full 2019 year, the company milled 1,068,722 tonnes of 252 g/t Ag and 1.57 g/t Au, recovering 91% for both metals, to produce 7.9M Oz Ag and 48.9K Oz Au, at cash cost of $6.70 per Oz AgEq and AISC of $9.8 per Oz AgEq.
- Almaden Minerals Ltd., announced a proposed non-brokered private placement to raise gross proceeds of up to $2M. Net proceeds will be used for permitting activities related to its Ixtaca project in Puebla, and for general corporate purposes. Closing of the offering is anticipated to be on or about March 26, 2020.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., announced a bought deal financing for gross proceeds of CAD $75M. Net proceeds will be used to continue the exploration and development of its Las Chispas project in Sonora and for general working capital and administrative purposes.
- Mexus Gold US, sold 16.5 out of 125 Oz Au produced at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora, at a price of USD $1,600 per Oz. Additional sales will be occurring shortly.
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Great Panther Mining Limited, updated mineral resource estimate at its Guanajuato Mine Complex in Guanajuato. At Guanajuato mine, measured + indicated resources are 343,736 tonnes of 204 g/t Ag and 1.69 g/t Au to contain 2.25M Oz Ag and 8.7K Oz Au (3.75M Oz AgEq at a grade of 339 g/t AgEq). Inferred resources are 208,608 tonnes of 168 g/t Ag and 2.32 g/t Au to contain 1.13M Oz Ag and 15.6K Oz Au (2.37M Oz AgEq at a grade of 354 g(t AgEq). At San Ignacio mine, measured + indicated resources are 386,417 tonnes of 159 g/t A and 3.03 g/t Au to contain 1.97M Oz Ag and 37.6K Oz Au (4.98M Oz AgEq at a grade of 401 g/t AgEq). Inferred resources are 501,870 tonnes of 149 g/t Ag and 2.69 g/t Au to contain 2.4M Oz Ag and 43.4K Oz Au (5.88M Oz AgEq at a grade of 364 g/t AgEq). In addition, the company reported that it has temporarily ceased tailing deposition at its Topia mine in Durango. Great Panther is in the process of permitting a Phase III of a tailings storage facility (TSF) site. Meanwhile, it is reviewing alternatives to store tailings (permanent or transitionary) until phase III TSF is permitted. The company expects it is obtained in the within the next 3 or 6 months.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., reported infill drilling results from its Las Chispas project in Sonora. Highlights include hole UBV19-30 with 81.6 g/t Au and 6,619 g/t Ag (12,740 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 2.1m; hole BV20-22 with 101.45 g/t Au and 5,413 g/t Ag (13,022 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 1.1m; and hole BV20-18 with 45.8 g/t Au and 2,396 g/t Ag (5,831 g/t AgEq) over a true width of 1.6m. The drilling results have nearly doubled the size of the high-grade footprint for the Babi Vista Vein in the Babicanora Area.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Equinox Gold Corp., and Leagold Mining Corporation, completed merger to become in one of the world´s top gold producing companies. The concurrent USD $670M debt and equity financings associated with the merger have also been completed (Los Filos mine, Guerrero).
- Pan American Silver Corp., filed its 2019 audited annual financial statement and annual information form (La Colorada mine, Zacatecas).
- Premier Gold Mines Limited, appointed a new member to its board of Directors (Mercedes mine, Sonora).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Almaden Minerals Ltd., along with the Federal Government Water Authority (CONAGUA), opened a local water reservoir in the community of Zacatepec, nearby its Ixtaca project in Puebla. This water reservoir will be used for irrigation to boost the current harvests of the community.
- Argonaut Gold Inc., gave the scholarship number 3,000 to a student of la Colorada, Sonora. In this community, the company has maintained an academic scholarship program since 2011. The General Manager of the La Colorada mine assured that the company’s commitment is fulfilled in coherence with the vision of social responsibility where the education of children and young people is a priority.
- Minera San Xavier (New Gold Inc.), has invested heavily in the infrastructure of the municipality of Cerro de San Pedro, as part of the social actions contemplated in its Comprehensive, Inclusive and Participatory Mine Closure Plan. The company is improving the public lighting system in Cerro de San Pedro, San Luis Potosi, with solar luminaries, which have a positive impact on public safety and tourist activities. These solar luminaries count with great potential for energy savings, reducing electricity consumption and maintenance costs, without compromising the quality of lighting services.
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On the picture above, a phreatic breccia in an epithermal hot spring prospect in Guanajuato, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia.