By Jorge Cirett
During the 2nd week of the year (January 6th to January 12th, 2020), at least 34 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, The IPN is to offer Metallurgy Engineering at the Zacatecas campus. Conagua and Minera Peñasquito reached an agreement to promote the recovery of the Mazapil aquifer in Zacatecas. Some highlights on three major Mexican ore deposits were shared by Camimex: Metates, El Arco and La Verde. The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador asserted the importance of mining in Mexico. In 2019 three Peñoles, Autlán and Frisco lost US$935 M in value on the stock exchange (BMV). Torex Gold and Leagold increased gold production on its mines in Guerrero. ON EXPLORATION, setting a weekly record, that we hope is a good omen for the industry in Mexico this year, eleven companies reported on exploration programs or results on their projects. In Sonora, Colibri disclosed surface sampling results from the Evelyin project; Tocvan and Colibri reported high Au and Ag values from the Pilar project near Suaqui Grande; Magna Gold released high grade Au results from surface mapping on several targets at the San Judas project. In Chihuahua, Kootenay Silver released high-grade Ag results from its Columba project. Sable Resources released low grade but widespread Au results from the Vinata project. In Sinaloa, Vizsla Resources started drilling at its Pánuco project. In Durango, Gainey Capital has had successful meetings and communication with the local communities at Las Margaritas project. In Jalisco, GoGold Resources released results from five more holes at Los Ricos. In Zacatecas, Pan American Silver is to continue the exploration, initial engineering and metallurgical tests at the La Colorada skarn ore deposit. Advance Gold commenced another drill hole at La Tabasqueña project. Alien Metals is submitting applications to drill its Los Campos and San Celso projects. ON MINING, US Antimony has begun production testing of the cyanide leach circuits at the Puerto Blanco mill in Guanajuato. Hecla Mining, Torex Gold, Leagold Mining and Endeavour Silver presented fourth quarter and full-year 2019 reports. Argonaut Gold informed its El Castillo mine in Durango is to cease operations in 2022. ON FINANCING, Silver Spruce closed the first tranche of a financing round. Agnico Eagle issued warrants in connection with the loan agreement with Orla Mining. Sierra Metals is to repurchase US$30 M of shares. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Prime Mining updated on work at Guadalupe de Los Reyes, in Sinaloa. Sierra Metals updated the mineral resource estimate for the Bolivar mine, in Chihuahua. Discovery Metals released some high-grade results from its current drill program at Cordero, Chihuahua, where it is aiming to enhance the high-grade component of the deposit. Azure Minerals recommenced RC drilling the Loma Bonita gold deposit at its Alacrán project in Sonora. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Goldplay signed a LOI with First Majestic to acquire the Plomosas property in Sinaloa. Goldplay is to change name to GR Silver Mining. Oroco Resource Corp. is now officially the owner of 56.7% net interest (that can be increased to 81%) on the core concessions of the Santo Tomás project in Sinaloa. The company also holds the rights to 77.5% of the concessions surrounding the said core. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Peñoles to aid on the reactivation of agriculture in Naica. Peñoles organizes a robot building contest in Torreón. Endeavour Silver summarized its sustainability work for 2019.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) is to offer the Metallurgy Engineering at its Zacatecas campus. Students are to spend one week of every month gaining experience on local mining units, from the third semester onward.
- Conagua (Water Use Agency) and Minera Peñasquito (Newmont Goldcorp) reached an agreement to promote the recovery of the Mazapil aquifer. The agreement was reached in negotiation tables with several parties. The company is to forfeit its rights to extract 5 M cubic meters of water. During 2020 and 2021 Minera Peñasquito will invest 100 M pesos (US$5.25 M) on water access, drainage and cleaning in town, as well to aid on the bettering of irrigation and promotion of water re-usage in agriculture. In 2023 the company will also cede another 4 M cubic meters of water.
- Highlights on three giant mining projects in Mexico: Metates, in Durango, holds reserves for 18.3 M Oz Au, 502 M Oz Ag, 4 B Lb Zn. Chesapeake’s 2016 pre-feasibility study (PFS) calls for a capital spending of $3.5 billion for a 90 K tonnes per day (tpd) operation, and a mine life of 27 years producing 445 K Oz Au. Sustained prices over $1,400 per gold ounce would help to kick start the operations. El Arco, in Baja California, is a giant copper deposit owned by Grupo Mexico. The deposit displays reserves of 2,700 M tonnes @ 0.4% Cu, 0.1 gpt Au. The deposit is to be mined by open pit, with concentrator and leaching operations to recover copper by electro winning, and is expected to produce 190 K tonnes Cu and 105 K Oz Au per year, once it is developed. La Verde, in Michoacan, owned by Solaris Resources and Teck, had a preliminary evaluation assessment (PEA) in 2018 with an investment of US$1.16 billion to produce 7.17 M tonnes of concentrate @ 26.7% Cu for 19 years, or 100 K tonnes Cu per year.
- The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador asserted the importance of mining in Mexico, on the strengthening of the country’s economy and the strong employment generation. He pointed that the ministers of environment and health are looking into the Rio Sonora spill (2014) and its consequences on the area inhabitants.
- During 2019, mining companies like Industrias Peñoles, Autlán and Minera Frisco lost US$935 M in market cap on the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, or BMV). The three companies saw a reduction on its operations, same that were reflected on its cash flow (EBITDA) and share price. During the year Peñoles lost US$861.4 M, Autlán US$39.8 M and Frisco US$34 M in value. On the other hand, Grupo Mexico registered an increment of US$4.617 billion on its value for the same period, due to good results on copper extraction and the expansion on its transport branch.
- Gold production increased in 2019 for Torex and Leagold in Guerrero. In 2019 Torex produced 454,810 Oz Au at its El Limon-Guajes mine in Guerrero, compared with 354,000 Oz Au produced in 2018. Leagold produced 200,856 Oz Au at its Los Filos mine, in the same region.
- Pan American Silver Corp. is planning to continue the exploration program, initial engineering and more metallurgical tests at the world class skarn mineralization discovered at La Colorada, Zacatecas. The inferred resources stand at 72.5 M tonnes @ 44 gpt Ag, 0.17% Cu, 2.0% Pb, 4.4% Zn, with the deposit open in several directions. In 2020 PAS is to drill 44,000 m to define and expand the inferred resources.
- Colibri Resource Corp. disclosed rock chip sample results from its Evelyn project in Sonora. Highlighted results include 0.75 m @ 14.45 gpt Au, 16 gpt Ag; 1.5 m @ 12.45 gpt Au, 3 gpt Ag; 1.5 m @ 8.6 gpt Au, 5 gpt Ag; chip samples @ 22.3 gpt Au, 28 gpt Ag; 40.1 gpt Au; 3.12 gpt Au at the Cerro Rojo corridor and 2.97 gpt Au; 0.5 gpt Au, 0.4 gpt Au, 0.46 gpt Au; 2.74 gpt Au, 73 gpt Ag at the El Sahuaro corridor. Colibri is now planing to pursue a 1,000 m drilling campaign.
- Advance Gold Corp. has commenced the second drill hole of the current drilling program at its Tabaqueña project in Zacatecas. This second hole is to test the large IP anomaly that underlies the intersection of 1.70 m @ 9.46 gpt of a previous drilling campaign. The second hole on this campaign was collared 300 north of the location of the first one, with results pending. A second rig is being brought to the site to expedite drilling, now that the IP anomaly has been seen to correspond with a sulphide system.
- GoGold Resources Inc. released results from five more drill holes at its Los Ricos project in Jalisco. Highlighted intersections include 22 m @ 0.22 gpt Au, 60 gpt Ag (1.01 gpt AuEq); 16.5 m @ 4.29 gpt Au, 336 gpt Ag (8.77 gpt AuEq); 5.2 m @ 1.10 gpt Au, 67 gpt Ag (2.01 gpt AuEq); 13.5 m @ 0.82 gpt Au, 215 gpt Ag (3.73 gpt AuEq); 17.4 m @ 0.77 gpt Au, 152 gpt Ag (2.80 gpt AuEq), including 6.1 m @ 2.07 gpt Au, 373 gpt Ag (7.05 gpt AuEq), 23.5 m @ 0.17 gpt Au, 43 gpt Ag (0.75 gpt AuEq). The holes were drilled north and south of the historical stopes to test the continuation of the structures.
- Gainey Capital Corp, has had successful meetings and communication with the local communities at Las Margaritas project, Durango. “Discussions with State and Federal government representatives have been held to ensure that exploration on the property continues to the benefit of all stakeholders”.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. released assay results from seven more drill holes completed at its Columba property in Chihuahua. Highlighted intervals comprise: 11.35 m @ 103 gpt Ag, including 2.28 m @ 405 gpt Ag; 23.0 m @ 60 gpt Ag, including 3.0 m @ 274 gpt Ag, including 1.35 m @ 494 gpt Ag; 7.05 m @ 114 gpt Ag, including 1.0 m @ 547 gpt Ag (the three intercepts in one hole); 10.0 m @ 175 gpt Ag, including 4.63 m @ 301 gpt Ag, including 1.5 m @ 628 gpt Ag; 4.9 m @ 194 gpt Ag, including 0.88 m @ 808 gpt Ag; 39.90 m @ 159 gpt Ag, including 7.45 m @ 650 gpt Ag and 1.15 m @ 919 gpt Ag, and 1.0 m @ 953 gpt Ag, and 1.0 m @ 527 gpt Ag, and 1.0 m @ 860 gpt Ag, and 1.8 m @ 715 gpt Ag. High Ag grades have been intercepted over 700 m of strike length on the F vein, and also 650 m from old workings on the B vein.
- Sable Resources Ltd. provided an update on the ongoing drilling campaign at its Vinata property in Chihuahua. Six drill holes have been completed, amounting to 1,753 m of core, with results for 530 samples on the first five holes. Highlighted results comprise 51.3 m @ 0.28 gpt Au, including 30.3 m @ 0.44 gpt Au; 61.8 m @ 0.079 gpt Au, including 12.4 m @ 0.24 gpt Au; 198.25 m @ 0.063 gpt Au, including 8.9 m @ 0.24 gpt Au and 22.1 m @ 0.11 gpt Au; 30.45 m @ 0.035 gpt Au. Low grade gold argillic stratabound alteration in volcanic rocks is open in every direction, except to the East. The drilling program has been increased from 2,000 to 4,000 m to define the limits and grade on the argillic alteration, and also for the existence of a high-grade feeder with more classical epithermal textures.
- Tocvan Ventures Corp. and Colibri Resource Corp. reported high Au and Ag values from two new showings that extend known mineralization at its Pilar project in Sonora. Highlighted results comprise 4.3 gpt Au, 172 gpt Ag, 1.1% Pb; 23.7 gpt Au, 116 gpt Ag; 4.4 gpt Au, 44 gpt Ag; 7.5 gpt Au, 42 gpt Ag; 0.5 gpt Au, 323 gpt Ag; 1.4 gpt Au, 2 gpt Ag; 2.2 gpt Au, 15 gpt Ag; 5.6 gpt Au, 84 gpt Ag, 1.7% Pb; 0.7 gpt Au, 20 gpt Ag; 9.3 gpt Au, 76 gpt Ag, 2.2% Pb. The new assays support additional areas to develop and define mineralization east and south east of the main areas that have seen over 17,700 m of drilling.
- Alien Metals Ltd. is submitting applications for drill permits at its Los Campos and San Celso projects in Zacatecas. At Los Campos a six hole program that could grow to 47 holes and 3,250 m of drilling is planned. At San Celso a grid based drilling plan has been designed, with a total of up to 30 drill holes for 2,550 m, aiming to start with four to six key holes.
- Magna Gold Corp. reported assay results from surface sampling at its San Judas project in Sonora. Several targets have been delineated: Santa Lucia-Las Palomas is a bulk mining target in sheared granite with quartz veins and stockworks, on which samples returned up to 0.5 m @ 26.4 gpt Au, 1.5 m @ 14.6 gpt Au, 0.7 m @ 12.9 gpt Au, 0.8 m @ 7.3 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 6.14 gpt Au, 0.8 m @ 5.54 gpt Au; At San Martin there is a quartz stockwork in granite and gneiss that opens the possibility to a high volume bulk deposit, in an area 1,250 m x 750 m, on which samples returned up to 1.5 m @ 13.7 gpt Au, 2.0 m @ 9.20 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 7.12 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 6.7 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 6.23 gpt Au, 2.0 m @ 5.16 gpt Au, 1.9 m @ 4.1 gpt Au; Represo Seco displays a high-grade sheeted and brecciated quartz system with three generations of quartz, two meters thick and exposed over 65 m, where samples returned up to 0.5 m @ 7.4 gpt Au, 1.9 m @ 6.0 gpt Au, 1.8 m @ 5.1 gpt Au; Cueva del León hosts argillic altered intrusive felsic rocks, with assays of up to 1.1 m @ 4.99 gpt Au, 1.0 m @ 4.28 gpt Au, 1.2 m @ 2.03 gpt Au, 1.5 m @ 1.9 gpt Au. All the areas are strongly anomalous in Pb (up to 1.45%), Zn (up to 0.35%) and Cu (up to 0.12%).
- Vizsla Resources Corp. has started its drilling program at the Pánuco project in Sinaloa. The company plans to drill 14,500 m in 19 prospects, starting with the Vetas Animas corridor. Ten geologists are mapping and sampling in the district at the time being.
- United Sates. Antimony Corp. reported that production testing of the cyanide leach circuit at the Puerto Blanco mill in Guanajuato has begun. “The Los Juarez mineralization is disseminated in jasperoid pipes that are present over a strike length of 3.5 kilometers, up to 1 kilometer in width, and are believed to be continuous below 400 meters”. “A global assay” of shallow drilling, sampling and mill testing is @ 1.09 gpt Au, 102 gpt Ag and 0.65% Sb (or 2.6 gpt AuEq), with individual assays of over 1 Oz/t Au, 47 Oz Ag/t and 10% Sb.
- Hecla Mining Co. released preliminary results for the fourth quarter 2019, including figures from its Mexican operations. At the San Sebastian mine in Durango, 1.9 M Oz Ag, 15,673 Oz Au were produced during 2019, and 422.4 K Oz Ag, 3,897 Oz Au during the fourth quarter. With the Hugh Zone production included, AgEq production for the year is the same as 2018. The mill operated at an average of 479 tpd in 2019.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. announced 2019 production of 454,810 Oz Au (Q4 2019: 125,150 Oz) at El Limón Guajes mine in Guerrero. During the fourth quarter plant throughput averaged 12,120 tpd, with 1,060 tpd ore mined underground and 16,030 tpd ore mined by open pit, with a pit strip ratio of 7.3:1.
- Leagold Mining Corp. reported 2019 production results, including figures from its operations in Mexico. At Los Filos, in Guerrero, quarterly production was 64,028, 44,896, 40,922 and 51,010 Oz Au for the Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 respectively, adding to 200,856 Oz Au in the year. The Los Filos Expansion Feasibility study was completed during the year, commencing expansion during the third quarter.
- Argonaut Gold Inc. informed its mining unit El Castillo, in Durango, is to stop operations in 2022, after 12 year of work. These operations had $900 M of economic impact which includes investments, operation costs and $82 in taxes paid. To date the company has 347 employees and 249 contractors. Starting this month the crushing operations have been decommissioned, impacting on personnel numbers, and another reduction in the labor force will take place in April.
- Endeavour Silver Corp. delivered production reports for the fourth quarter and full year 2019. Gold and silver production decreased 27% in the year, to 38,907 Oz Au, 4.02 M Oz Ag. The El Cubo mine suspended mining operations on Q4 2019, as reserves were exhausted. During the first quarter Endeavour plans to update the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for Terronera, in Jalisco, and deliver an initial Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in Parral, Chihuahua.
- Silver Spruce Resources Inc. closed the first tranche of its non-brokered financing on December 31, 2019, for gross proceeds of $237 K (Pino de Plata, Chihuahua).
- Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. announced the issuance of common share purchase warrants in connection with the loan agreement of December 2019 between Agnico and Orla Mining Ltd (Camino Rojo, Zacatecas).
- Sierra Metals Inc. announced it has approved a plan to return up to US$30 M to shareholders. Sierra Metals intends to launch a substantial issuer bid pursuant to which the Company will offer to repurchase for cancellation up to US$15 M of its common shares from shareholders for cash (Bolivar and Cusi, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Prime Mining Corp. updated on work at is Guadalupe de los Reyes project in Sinaloa, pointing its aim to become a gold producer. The acquisition was completed in August 2019, the due diligence concluded, a team was assembled, and an initial financing of CAD$8.7 M and USD$4.5 M of property payments were made, with only a payment of USD$1.5 M remaining, due October 2021. The long term land access agreement was signed and led to the implementation of 5,000 m of road cut and trenching that aided defining wider and longer structures than anticipated. The project is being evaluated at a mining rate of 4,500 tpd of mineralized material from five to seven pit locations, with Prime aiming to make the initial mining permitting submissions during 2020.
- Sierra Metals Inc. updated the mineral resource estimate for its Bolivar mine in Chihuahua. The mineral resource update includes 13,698 m of infill drilling and 41,553 m of exploration drilling, with 11.63 M tonnes @ 0.95% Cu, 18 g/t Ag, and 0.24 g/t Au (or 1.16% CuEq) for a total of 244.3 M Lb Cu, 6.8 M Oz Ag, 90.4 K Oz Au (300.1 M Lb CuEq) as indicated resources, and 16.69 M tonnes @ 0.93% Cu, 17 g/t Ag, 0.30 g/t Au (or 1.16% CuEq) adding to 342.1 M Lb Cu, 9 M Oz Ag, 162.7 K Oz Au (428.1 M Lb CuEq) as inferred resources.
- Discovery Metals Corp. announced results from the last four diamond drill holes at the Cordero project in Chihuahua. The program is designed to look for high grade and to test other areas of the 35,000 ha property. Highlighted intervals comprise: In hole 295, 81.82 m @ 63 gpt Ag, 0.35 gpt Au, 0.9% Pb, 0.9% Zn, including 4.1 m @ 517 gpt Ag, 1.32 gpt Au, 7.6% Pb, 5.7% Zn; 68.1 m @ 117 gpt Ag, 1.96 gpt Au, 1.7% Pb, 1.1% Zn, including 34.7 m @ 200 gpt Ag, 3.04 gpt Au, 2.9% Pb, 1.6% Zn, including 3.7 m @ 512 gpt Ag, 21.52 gpt Au, 6.9% Pb, 0.2% Zn; 11.5 m @ 284 gpt Ag, 0.88 gpt Au, 4.1% Pb, 2.8% Zn; In hole 296, 47.1 m @ 71 gpt Ag, 0.45 gpt Au, 1.0% Pb, 1.2% Zn; 61.6 m @ 42 gpt Ag, 0.39 gpt Au, 0.6% Pb, 0.4% Zn; in hole 294, 94.3 m @ 47 gpt Ag, 0.27 gpt Au, 0.7% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 10.8 m @ 93 gpt Ag, 0.46 gpt Au, 1.3% Pb, 1.2% Zn; in hole 293, 59.9 m @ 37 gpt Ag, 0.06 gpt Au, 0.9% Pb, 1.5% Zn; 4.3 m @ 111 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 2.2% Pb, 2.9% Zn. “Discovery believes that definition of these veins has the potential to significantly enhance the high-grade component of the deposit”.
- Azure Minerals Ltd. recommenced reverse circulation drilling (RC) at its Alacrán project in Sonora. The program is aimed at resource expansion of the Loma Bonita deposit, which currently extends for 600 m, and is up to 200 m in width and up to 100 m in depth. Early drilling is located east of two holes that intersected 47.2 m @ 2.79 gpt Au, 33, gpt Ag and 67.1 m @ 1.56 gpt Au, 23 gpt Ag. Drilling is also planned on Cerro San Simon, where previous drilling has intercepted up to 29.6 m @ 0.56 gpt Au, 27 gpt Ag; 12.6 m @ 0.37 gpt Au, 8 gpt Ag; 63.0 m @ 0.47 gpt Au, 27 gpt Ag.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Goldplay Exploration Ltd. entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with First Majestic Silver Corp. to acquire the 8,514 ha Plomosas silver project in Sinaloa. The terms of the transaction are expected to include a $100 K cash payment to First Majestic and a 2% NSR royalty to First Majestic, with 1% of the NSR subject to a buyback option for $1 M, and the issuance of 19.9% of the total issued common shares of Goldplay. In December 2019 Goldplay announced another LOI with Mako Mining Corp. on a significant land position in the region (San Marcial, Sinaloa).
- Goldplay Exploration Ltd. announced name change to GR Silver Mining Ltd., effective January 13, 2020 (San Marcial, Sinaloa).
- Oroco Resource Corp. registered at the Public Registry of Mining (Registro Público de Minería) the transfer of the seven core concessions of the Santo Tomás copper porphyry project to Xochipala Gold, S.A. de C.V., which is now the registered holder of 100% interest on these concessions. Oroco “holds an irrevocable option to acquire, via the ownership of Altamura Copper Corp., a net 56.7% interest in the collective 1,172.9 ha seven core concessions of the Santo Tomás Project in NW Mexico, and may increase that majority interest up to a net 81.0% interest with project investment of up to CAD$30 million”. The company also holds a 77.5% interest in 7,807.9 ha of mining concessions surrounding the previously mentioned core claims.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Peñoles open to support the reactivation of agriculture in Naica, directly cooperating with the Naica ejido (communal land) by providing the pumping equipment and its maintenance. The water is to be extracted from the Naica mine, in care and maintenance for the last five years.
- Peñoles organizes a robot building contest (FIRST robotics competition), supporting more than 1,500 students. The event is to take place in the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, on the Torreon Campus.
- Endeavour Silver summarized its sustainability work for 2019, which includes: 1) Guanacevi, Bolañitos and El Cubo received the annual “Socially Responsible Company” distinction from CEMEFI (Mexican Philanthropy Center); 2) Ceased operations at the El Cubo Mine in a collaborative manner with the employees, provided a social plan to mitigate risks and addressed community concerns resulting from the suspension of mining operations. 3) Made community donations including a recreational sports facility at El Cubo and partnered with the local Municipal Government to open a cultural community center at Bolañitos. 4) Carried out a Social Impact Study at Parral to identify and address important issues to the local community. 5) Continued to engage with the surrounding communities of the Terronera Project including San Sebastian Del Oeste, San Felipe De Hijar, and Santiago De Pinos, and hosted multiple events and programs during 2019 to which over 1,000 locals attended. 6) Invested in its scholarship program at Guanacevi, Bolañitos and El Cubo, benefitting over 100 students from high school and university levels. 7) The Company planted 52,000 trees to reclaim disturbed ground at all its mines and projects.
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: sheeted quartz veining in an orogenic gold system of Oaxaca. Picture by Jorge Cirett.