By Jorge Cirett
During the 38th week of the year (September 14th to September 20th, 2020), at least 38 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. To note, six companies posted exploration advances on their projects, fourteen companies posted news related to financing or share structure, and six on their projects development. Companies that raised funds include Southern Silver, Oroco Resource, Comet Resources, Consolidated Zinc, First Majestic, Defiance Silver, Argonaut Gold, GoGold Resources and Silver Dollar Resources. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Fortuna Silver tries to avoid an illegal blockade from occurring at its San José mine in Oaxaca. Mexico loses positions in the 2019 Fraser Institute ranking on mining regions. Cancham points out the Mexican mining environment is facing multiple challenges. Guanajuato intends to form a Mining Cluster. Fernando Alanís, Camimmex president clearly explained how mining concessions function in Mexico. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Minaurum started the second phase drilling program at its Alamos Silver project. In Sinaloa, Brigadier Gold released surface sampling results from its Picachos property. In Zacatecas, Minera Alamos released results from historical drill holes at Cerro de Oro; Alien Metals released underground and surface sampling results from San Celso and Los Campos; Advance Gold informed on the drilling (providing no results) at Tabasqueña. In Guanajuato, VanGold Mining updated on exploration/development at El Pinguico. ON MINING, Mexus Gold is nearing the completion of a ball mill gravity gold recovery system at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora. Starcore International reported results for the last quarter. Excellon Resources provided production results for August 2020 from its Platosa mine in Durango. ON FINANCING, nine companies made announcements regarding the opening or closing of financing rounds: Southern Silver ($456 K), Oroco Resource ($7.26 M), Comet Resources (a streaming facility, up to $20 M), Consolidated Zinc (A$2 M), First Majestic (C$78 M), Defiance Silver (C$10 M), Argonaut Gold (C$10 M), GoGold Resources (C$30 M) and Silver Dollar Resources ($10.5 M). Silver Bull is going for a reverse stock split of 8 to 1. Canuc Resources and Solaris Resources are now trading at the OTCQB Venture Market. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Discovery Metals released results from drilling at its Cordero project in Chihuahua. Almaden Minerals resumes exploration at its Ixtaca project in Puebla. GR Silver Mining released drilling results from its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. Magna Gold completed a pre-feasibility report on its San Francisco project in Sonora. Excellon recommenced underground and surface drilling at its Platosa mine, Durango. SSR Mining is extending a decline to drill, from the underground, high-grade portions of the mineral resource at Pitarrilla, Durango. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Sonora Metals is changing name to Sonoro Gold. Barksdale Resources informed on title issues that have promoted some changes on how the deal is structured with Tusk Resources on the San Javier project in Sonora. Southern Silver informed it has closed the transaction to acquire Electrum’s 60% interest on Cerro Las Mintas project, Durango. Odyssey Marine Exploration filed the First Memorial on a case against Mexico, related to the lack of issuance of an environmental permit to mine a large off-shore phosphate resource. Excellon Resources informed on the results of litigation relating to a land surface purchase near its Platosa mine in Durango. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Fresnillo PLC, Fortuna Silver and Frisco informed on sustainability, health, safety, environment, social and governance programs.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán (Fortuna Mines), called for the civil organizations promoting an illegal blockage of the San José mine in Oaxaca to reconsider its program. The blockage is being called to pressure the authorities on the delivery of resources, an issue completely unrelated to the mining company.
- In 2019 Mexico fell nine positions, according to the Fraser’s Institute. Mexico’s shine to attract mining investment is getting dull with the lack of confidence and certitude derived of the president’s declarations on the review of mining concessions and the recent disappearance of the Mining Sub Secretary. The federal government has been clear, under his tenure no mining concessions are to be issued. The president has stated that up to 40% of the country ground has been under mining concessions, and that amount should suffice (for mining companies) for thousands of years.
- Armando Ortega, president of the Mining Task Force of the Cámara de Comercio de Canadá en México (Cancham) stated that the mining environment in Mexico is not propitious because political signals of ideological nature are not favorable to investment, and some measures announced by the government are worrisome. Among the factors supporting its points are: initiatives to forbid open pit mining; initiatives to enlarge natural protected areas, encroaching to areas of active mining; the initiative to change the law on water use, changing its regime from concession to license; the stated fact by the president to not to grant a single mining concession during his tenure; the disappearance of the Mining Sub Secretary; the extortion by unions to companies, exemplified by the tricky wining by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia of the collective contract at is Cosalá mine complex in Sinaloa.
- According to a Camimex post, projects that are coming into production include an expansion at Los Filos, Guerrero (Equinox Gold); Ixtaca, Puebla (Almaden Minerals); Camino Rojo, Zacatecas (Orla Mining); Las Chispas, Sonora (SilverCrest Metals); Santana in Sonora, La Fortuna in Durango and Cerro de Oro in Zacatecas (Minera Alamos).
- Guanajuato announced its intention to conform a Mining Cluster.
- Fernando Alanís, Camimex (Cámara Minera de México) president, explained some facts on how mining concessions function in Mexico. According to the constitution everything under the surface is property of the Nation, hence the permit needed to extract gas, oil, water or minerals by individuals or companies, permit that is precisely a concession. In mining the concession is a permit to explore and mine an ore deposit if found, it provides no rights for surface rights, reason for which an agreement has to be negotiated with the surface owner to access the land. He stressed that having a mining concession is no guarantee of finding an ore deposit. To keep a mining concession, the concessionaire has to pay every six months a due per hectare, due that increases with the age of the concession, to avoid speculative land grabs; and also the concessionaire has to comply with a minimum yearly investment that also increases with the age of the concession, again to avoid speculation. According to the DGM (Dirección General de Minas) 20.7 M hectares are concessioned in México, out of almost 200 M hectares in the country, meaning about 10.35% of the country is concessioned, of which only 1 M hectares include a project in exploitation. The government granting of mining concessions is the more efficient way to exploit the natural resources, letting others run the risks and expensive investments of exploration. The government receives the due payments, and in case of an ore body being found and a mine built, receive taxes for its operation. Mining is the economic activity that has the steepest rate of taxes and dues, which add up to 55% on the income of mining firms.
- Brigadier Gold Ltd. released sampling results from two vein systems at its Picachos property in Sinaloa. Highlighted results comprise 7 m @ 160 gpt Ag, 0.6 gpt Au; 3 m @ 205 gpt Ag, 0.2 gpt Au; 0.5 m @ 356 gpt Ag, 6.6 gpt Au at the Garabato vein system, and 1.6 m @ 1.9 gpt Au, 98 gpt Ag, 0.6% Cu, 3.7% Pb, 1.5% Zn; 1.0 m @ 21.3 gpt Au, 5 gpt Ag, 3.2% Pb, 0.8% Zn; 0.2 m @ 56.7 gpt Au, 288 gpt Ag, 1.9% Cu, 5.9% Pb, 1.3% Zn at El Pino. The Garabato veins are coincident with a 20 ha soil anomaly that returned up to 36 ppm Ag, 366 ppm Cu, 1,049 ppm Pb, 1,184 ppm Zn. Three basins draining the El Pino vein system show stream sediment anomalies of up to 1.72 ppm Au, 0.9 ppm Ag, 597 ppm Pb and 329 ppm Zn.
- Minaurum Gold Inc. announced the start of a 20,000 metre Phase II drilling program at its Alamos Silver project in Sonora. The program will commence with one rig offsetting an intercept of 8.25 m @ 1,760 gpt Ag on the Europa-Guadalupe veins, while a second rig will test targets at Promontorio, where recently acquired historical data revealed intercepts of up to 12.2 m @ 710 gpt Ag (Note.- Take a look to the press release, it is worth it).
- Minera Alamos Inc. released additional historic drill data on the Cerro de Oro project in Zacatecas. The reverse circulation holes were drilled by a private operator in 2017-2018, to refine the previous drilling by Noranda in the 1990’s. Some of the highlighted results comprise 48 m 0.70 gpt Au; 112 m @ 0.42 gpt Au, 40 m @ 0.51 gpt Au; 64 m @ 0.38 gpt Au; 42 m @ 0.42 gpt Au; 100 m @ 0.42 gpt Au; 54 m @ 0.76 gpt Au; 102 m @ 0.38 gpt Au; 72 m @ 0.47 gpt Au; 56 m @ 0.47 gpt Au; 66 m @ 0.33 gpt Au; 96 m @ 1.10 gpt Au; 42 m @ 0.50 gpt Au.
- Alien Metals Inc. informed on underground and surface sampling results from its San Celso and Los Campos projects in Zacatecas. At San Celso, underground sampling confirmed 2006 sample results, like 0.9 m @ 477 gpt Ag (0.5 m @ 422 gpt Ag on previous sample) and 1.4 m @ 225 gpt Ag (1.6 m @ 335 gpt Ag on previous sample). At Los Campos, dump sampling returned up to 0.3 gpt Au, 254 gpt Ag, 0.12% Pb, 0.07% Zn. The Nueva Andromeda claim, adjacent to San Celso, has been optioned.
- VanGold Mining Corp. updated on exploration at its El Pinguico project in Guanajuato. Approximately 40 m have been sampled on a recently cleared section of the shaft, a 3D model is being generated, sampling for XRF sampling are being collected on #4 adit, and trenching of additional surface exposures and clearing of the #7 adit are being performed.
- Advance Gold Corp. reported on the drilling done at its Tabasqueña project in Zacatecas. “Of the four holes drilled to date into the 3500-metre continuous IP chargeability anomaly, drill hole AGT-16 has encountered the best mineralization, including a 10.7 metre sulphide zone. Mineralization in this hole has zones of semi-massive pyrite, containing 15 to 30% pyrite, together with up to 3% sphalerite and some galena (core photos shown below and on company website). The first three holes intersected stacked lenses of disseminated sulphides and are around 3000 metres to the south of AGT-16”.
- Mexus Gold US. is nearing the completion and test running of its high grade ball mill gravity gold recovery system at its Santa Elena mine in Sonora (not to mistake with First Majestic’s Santa Elena mine, also in Sonora). The company will mill material from a quartz vein with a 10 gpt Au cutoff, and recover the gold through the gravity system, while lower grade ore continues to be placed on the heap leach.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. Reported results of the first quarter ended July 31, 2020. Production during the period at its San Martin mine in Queretaro included the milling of 59.1 K tonnes @ 1.70 gpt Au, 29.2 gpt Ag, recovering 88.8% Au, 56.5% Ag, to produce 2.9 K Oz Au, 32.5 K Oz Ag.
- Excellon Resources Inc. provided August 2020 production results from its Platosa mine in Durango. During the month 7.6 K tonnes were mined, 8.5 K tonnes processed @ 451 gpt Ag, 4.95% Pb, 6.76% Zn, recovering 86.8% Ag, 78.8% Pb, 78.9% Zn, to produce 106.7 K Oz Ag, 729.1 K Lb Pb, 997.2 K Lb Zn.
- Silver Bull Resources. management approved a 1-for-8 reverse stock split of the of the company’s issued and outstanding common stock (Sierra Mojada, Coahuila).
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp. closed the recently announced non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $456 K (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango).
- Oroco Resource Corp. closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $7.26 M (Santo Tomás, Sinaloa).
- Canuc Resources Corp. announced it is now trading its shares on the OTCQB Venture Market (San Javier, Sonora).
- Comet Resources Ltd. executed a binding agreement with Raptor Capital International Ltd. “for the provision of a streaming facility to provide a minimum of US$6m and up to US$20m in funding for development of the Santa Teresa High Grade Gold Project in Baja California”.
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp. informed on private placements recently closed. A brokered offering for gross proceeds of C$10 M followed by a non-brokered offering for gross proceeds of C$4 M and a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $456 K (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango).
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. Intends to undertake “a fully underwritten non-renounceable pro rata entitlement offer on the basis of three (3) new fully paid ordinary shares (“New Shares”) for every eleven (11) Shares held on 24 September 2020”. The intention is to raise approximately A$2 M (Plomosas, Chihuahua).
- First Majestic Silver Corp. closed its previously announced bought deal with Eric Sprott for gross proceeds of CDN$78 M (Santa Elena, Sonora; San Dimas, Durango).
- Solaris Resources Inc. announced its common shares have been approved to trade on the OTCQB Venture Market, effective September 17, 2020 (La Verde, Michoacan).
- Defiance Silver Corp. closed the previously announced brokered private placement for gross proceeds totaling C$10 M (Veta Grande, Zacatecas).
- Argonaut Gold Inc. entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters with a bought deal private placement financing for aggregate gross proceeds of C$10 M (La Colorada, Sonora).
- GoGold Resources Inc. closed its previously announced bought deal offering for gross proceeds of C$30 M (Los Ricos South, Los Ricos North, Jalisco).
- Silver Dollar Resources Inc. completed its previously announced non-brokered private placement to raise $10.5 M in gross proceeds (La Joya, Durango).
- Silver Viper Minerals Corp. announced that it has elected to accelerate the expiry date of the common share purchase warrants issued on September 24, 2019, to the new date of October 8, 2020 (La Virginia, Sonora).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Discovery Metals Corp. released results from four diamond drill holes targeting bulk-tonnage mineralization in the South Corridor at its Cordero project in Chihuahua. Highlighted intercepts comprise 401.7 m @ 49 gpt Ag, 0.07 gpt Au, 1.0% Pb, 1.1% Zn ( including 30.3 m @ 57 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 0.8% Pb, 2.2% Zn; 112.3 m @ 96 gpt Ag, 0.08 gpt Au, 2.0% Pb, 1.8% Zn; 44.2 m @ 84 gpt Ag, 0.10 gpt Au, 1.8% Pb, 2.0% Zn); 5.1 m @ 231 gpt Ag, 0.21 gpt Au, 2.0% Pb, 2.6% Zn; 15.7 m @ 111 gpt Ag, 0.06 gpt Au, 1.7% Pb, 0.2% Zn.
- Almaden Minerals Ltd. announced its intention to resume exploration in the area of the Ixtaca project in Puebla. “This program is starting with a desktop review of exploration data previously gathered, which is expected to lead to further field work in the near-term which may include mapping, surface sampling, geochemical stream silt and soil sampling, and geophysics. These data will be used to design a future drill program”.
- GR Silver Mining Ltd. Released results from its surface core drilling program at Plomosas, Sinaloa. The drilling completed to date has delineated a 700 m mineralized zone with multiple veins including a low angle Pb-Zn-Ag rich hydrothermal breccia and high angle low sulfidation vein and stockwork systems. Highlighted true width intercepts comprise 6.0 m @ 85 gpt Ag, 0.4 gpt Ag, 1.1% Pb, 0.6% Zn (including 2.5 m @ 172 gpt Ag, 0.9 gpt Au, 2.7% Pb, 1.4% Zn); 22.3 m @ 48 gpt Ag, 0.1 gpt Au, 0.3% Pb, 0.6% Zn.
- Magna Gold Corp. released the results of its recently completed pre-feasibility report on its San Francisco mine in Sonora. The report presents a base case at $1,450 per Oz Au with an NPV (Net present Value) of $80 M at 5% discount rate, producing 69 K Oz Au per year from 2021 to 2027 at an average all-in sustaining cost cash cost of $1,204 per Au Oz and no major capital required for resuming mining. Mineral reserves stand at 47.6 M tonnes @ 0.495 gpt Au, containing 758 K Oz Au and mineral resources (including mineral reserves) comprise 99.7 M tonnes @ 0.446 gpt Au, containing 1.43 M Oz Au. The inferred resources category includes 11.4 M tonnes @ 0.467 gpt Au, containing 171 K Oz Au.
- Excellon Resources Inc. “has recommenced underground and surface drilling at the Platosa Mine and broader Platosa Property, respectively. Underground exploration is focused on expanding and further defining known mineralization. Surface exploration is focused on near mine targets around the Platosa deposit and the Jaboncillo and PDN targets north of the mine. Jaboncillo, 11 kilometres northwest of the Platosa Mine, is a Platosa-style target with a 4 x 4 kilometre alteration footprint, multiple times the size of the Platosa footprint, where the Company intersected near-surface gossans in 2019 drilling. PDN, two kilometres north of the Platosa Mine, is a skarn-style geophysical target that may be associated with the skarn discovery made in 2012 at Rincón del Caído”.
- SSR Mining Inc. informed it is planning to spend $5 M in 2020 at Pitarrilla, Durango. The investment is part of a “program to extend an existing decline to provide drill access to the underground Mineral Resources. An improved geological model from work completed in 2019 indicates strong potential to better define known, high-grade mineralized veining associated with steeply dipping rhyolite dyke contacts. Extending the underground ramp provides access for tighter spaced drilling at better orientations to test the rhyolite dykes and veins for continuity. If infill drilling confirms the continuity of high-grade mineralized structures, there would be potential to enhance the grades of existing Mineral Resources“.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Sonoro Metals Corp. changes name to Sonoro Gold Corp. on September 9, 2020 (Cerro Caliche, Sonora).
- Barksdale Resources Corp. informed that “Following a detailed due diligence campaign, the Company identified certain title issues with respect to three of the twelve mining concessions comprising approximately 307.46 hectares of the total lands covered under the option. Tusk Exploration Ltd (“Tusk”) is in the process of rectifying these title issues and expects the process to be completed in 2021. Until the title issues have been rectified, Barksdale and Tusk have agreed to defer 35% of the Year 1 and Year 2 option cash and share payments” (San Javier, Sonora).
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp. closed the transaction with Electrum Global Holdings L.P. to acquire Electrum’s 60% indirect working interest in the Cerro Las Minitas project in Durango. Southern Silver must pay Electrum US$15 M in a combination of cash and common shares, of which US$5 M and 2.34 M shares and a credit of C$1.35 M deposit have been paid. Remaining are US$2 M and shares equal to US$2 M to be paid on March of 2021 and US$2 M and shares equal to US$2 M to be paid on September of 2021.
- Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. filed “the First Memorial in the case brought against Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on its behalf and on behalf of subsidiary Exploraciones Oceánicas (ExO), alleging that Mexico wrongfully denied environmental approval of the ExO Phosphate project in breach of NAFTA ….. Odyssey seeks damages of more than $2.3 billion including interest from April 2016 to the date of the First Memorial’s submission”.
- Excellon Resources Inc. informed an appeal on the acquisition of 295 hectares north of the Platosa mine (in Durango) was denied by an appeals court in Mexico. “The Company does not consider the land material to its mining operation or exploration activities. The decision does not impact Excellon’s mineral rights and the Company does not expect it to have any impact on its operations”.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Fortuna Silver Mines (San José mine in Oaxaca) has added a new sustainability section on its website, where the company´s sustainability approach is expressed, as well as its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) management and performance.
- Great Panther Mining Ltd. announced the publication of its first sustainability report highlighting the progress, initiatives and commitments in the areas of health, safety, environmental, social, and governance management.
- Fresnillo PLC, Minera San Xavier and Frisco informed on health and community programs on the areas of their respective 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: Opaline silica layer in the vadose zone of a low sulfidation system in Queretaro. Picture by Jorge Cirett.