By Jorge Cirett
During the 39th week of the year (September 25th to October 1st, 2023), only 11 companies working in Mexico posted news releases (the weekly low record is nine, since 2015). One company reported exploration on one of its properties, while no news on mining were released. Five companies informed on the opening or closing of private placements, their assistance to investor conferences and/or the amendment of credit facilities. One company presented drilling results from one of its properties and one other an updated mineral resource estimation on one of its mines. The government cancelled nine mining concessions to one company in Sonora. One company updated on results of its annual general meeting and one other informed on modifications to streaming amendments. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the federal government is playing all tricks available on its hat to get the Sonora Lithium deposit under its control, expropriating mining concessions without calling it an expropriation, of what they see as a project with a potential large income revenue and a stepping stone on resources sovereignty. Camimex regards the cancellation infeasible while pointing that exploration expenditure has fallen 40% in recent years. A Labor Panel has been installed under T-MEC to review the US claim against Grupo Mexico in one of its mining units. ON EXPLORATION, In Chihuahua, Kootenay Silver informed four drill holes have been completed at Columba. ON MINING, no relevant news. ON FINANCING, Aztec Minerals closed the final tranche of a private placement for C$639 K, GR Silver was granted an extension for its financing placement, Regency Silver completed the first tranche of an upsized private placement. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Heliostar Metals reported drilling results from Ana Paula, in Guerrero. Guanajuato Silver presented an updated resource estimate for San Ignacio, in Guanajuato. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, the Mexican government cancelled nine mining concessions to Ganfeng’s Lithium in Sonora, in an unscrupulous bid to get its hands on the only defined lithium resource in Mexico. Southern Silver provided an update on results from its AGM. Bear Creek Mining presented two press releases to inform on changes on the two streaming agreements on the Mercedes mine production in Sonora. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, no relevant news.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Camimex (Cámara Minera de México) regards the cancellation of Ganfenfg Lithium’s concessions in Sonora as not viable. Ganfeng was served in August with the cancellation notice by the government on grounds of lack of investment, which the company denies. The exploration expenditure in México has fallen close to 40% in the last seven years.
- Ganfeng’s Lithium cancelation of claims in Sonora by the federal government will have to be dealt with in national courts, as Mexico and China do not count with a trade agreement.
- Marath Bolaños, head of the Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (Labor Bureau) stated that the Labor Panel under the T-MEC has been formed, to review the controversy between the US government and Grupo Mexico’s San Martín mine in Zacatecas.
- The president of Mexico indicated that its government is reviewing lithium mining concessions.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. updated on drilling progress of their program at Columba, in Chihuahua. Four diamond holes have been completed of the expected 12-15 holes in the 3,000 m program. “Analyses are awaited, however visual confirmation of mineralization and veining typical of D-Vein has been reported by the logging geologists in the holes to date where modeling predicted. Veining and associated stockwork mineralization in drilled length in each hole was observed to measure approximately 5.0 m vein/ stockwork, 8.2 m vein and 23 m stockwork, 10 m vein and 26 m stockwork and 1.0 m vein, 3.0 m stockwork in holes CDH-23-136 through CDH-23-139 respectively”.
- No Relevant News.
- Aztec Minerals Corp. closed the second and final tranche of its non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of CAD$639.1 K. Aggregate gross proceeds from both tranches are CAD$1.55 M. Alamos Gold Inc. participated in the financing with $140.6 K (Cervantes, Sonora).
- Capstone Copper Corp. amended its existing revolving credit facility to increase the aggregate commitments from $600 M to $700 M “and extend the maturity from May 2026 to September 2027. The Amended Credit Facility will bear interest on a sliding scale of adjusted term SOFR plus a margin of 2.000% to 2.875%”. Capstone cash and cash equivalents position by the end of June 2023 was $520 M (Cozamin, Zacatecas).
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. was granted an extension by the TSX Venture Exchange to complete its non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of up to $1 M. A first tranche of $329 K in gross proceeds was closed on August 10, 2023 (Plomosas, Sinaloa).
- Regency Silver Corp. completed the first tranche of a previously announced private placement, which has been upsized to C$1.75 M from C$1.5 M (Dios Padre, Sonora).
- Vortex Metals Inc. will be participating in the 23rd Investment Conference organized by CM-Equity AG in Munich (Riqueza Marina, Oaxaca).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Heliostar Metals Ltd. reported drilling results from the Ana Paula project in Guerrero. These two infill holes are within the “High Grade Panel” at the deposit, and are the last that are to be included in the resource update planned for November 2023. Highlighted core length intercepts comprise 35.9 m @ 8.17 gpt Au (including (11.8 m @ 13.55 gpt Au); 83.6 m @ 8.57 gpt Au (including 63.0 m @ 10.41 gpt Au, which includes 12.0 m @ 18.36 gpt Au); 57.0 m @ 6.03 gpt Au (including 5.0 m @ 45.44 gpt Au); 14.6 m @ 32.98 gpt Au (or 18.60 gpt Au if assays cut to 100 gpt Au).
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd. presented a new mineral resource estimate for its San Ignacio mine in Guanajuato. Measured and indicated resources comprise 790 K tonnes @ 123 gpt Ag, 2.10 gpt Au, containing 3.14 M Oz Ag, 53,000 Oz Au, and inferred resources of 2.17 M tonnes @ 127 gpt Ag, 2.27 gpt Au, containing 8.9 M Oz Ag, 158,000 Oz Au. “… an increase of 130% in the measured & indicated category and 283% in the inferred category.”
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- The Mexican government, through the Direccion General de Minas (DGM) cancelled nine mining concessions in Sonora to Ganfeng Lithium, including those where the largest (and so far, the only) lithium deposit in Mexico is located. The company was informed of the cancellation last August, with the government stating that the minimum investment required between 2017 and 2021 was not fulfilled and Ganfeng declaring its compliance above that limit. The company has already filed claims against the resolution at the Economy Secretariat (Secretaría de Economía). Note by editor. – This is one more issue between private capital and the Mexican government, with a president with a world vision from the 1970’s, where the State is to have a ruling fist on all economic activities, and the president a final saying on what is to be done or not.
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp. provided a corporate update from the company’s annual meeting. During the meeting seven incumbent directors were elected and the chartered accountants reappointed. Lawrence Page, Robert Macdonald and Killian Ruby were reappointed as president, vice president exploration and chief financial officer respectively. (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango).
- Bear Creek Mining Corp. made the final gold delivery pursuant to a gold pre-pay streaming agreement with Nomad Royalty Co. Ltd. which was assumed upon the acquisition of the Mercedes mine, in Sonora, in April 2022. As a result, over 300 additional ounces of gold produced at Mercedes per month will now be fully available for sale by the Company. A promissory with 1368445 B.C. Ltd. was amended to extend the maturity from the end of September 2023 to the end of November 2023.
- Bear Creek Mining Corp. announced a restructuring of its current stream and debt obligations with Sandstorm Gold Ltd. to improve the Mercedes mine ability to produce free cash flow near term by reducing near-term Au and Ag stream delivery obligations and the refinancing and extensions of Bear Creek’s debt with Sandstorm. Sandstorm will refinance its US$22.5 M convertible debenture into a 5-year convertible promissory note at 7% per year and convertible into Bear Creek shares at C$0.73 per share. “Sandstorm has agreed to make up to US$8 million in additional credit” prior to the end of August 2024. Bear Creek has to complete an equity financing to raise at least CAD$9.5 M.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- No relevant news.
On the image below: Geologist Julio Carcamo on a silicified ridge in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Jorge Cirett.