Drill core displaying ginguro bands
By Miguel A Heredia
During the 48th week of the year (November 28th to December 04th, 2022), at least 20 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, and 7 news published by the media with seven reporting resources and developments of their properties, seven commenting on Mexican issues, five disclosing deals and corporate issues, three communicating production and financial results, three announcing financing issues, one informing on exploration results, and one discussing social issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Altos Hornos de Mexico assured that the power outage at its plants is an act of bad faith derived from charging millions of dollars to Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) for illegal cancellation of coal supply. The Secretariat of Economy identified 159 mining companies with foreign capital operating in 26 states of Mexico (mostly juniors and exploration) in 2021. According to the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX), Newmont, Industrias Peñoles and Fresnillo operated the main zinc mines in Mexico in 2021. Maria Luisa Albores, the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) informed deputies, in a very unfortunate statement, that the federal government will not grant more authorizations for open-pit mining due to the negative impacts on the environment and human health. Grupo Mexico maintained its position as the largest copper producer in Mexico, adding a total of 1.25 B Lb Cu in 2021. Prime Mining, Aztec Minerals, GoGold, Vizsla, and Oroco reported the best drilling intercepts in Mexico on the first week of December, 2022. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Aztec Minerals reported results for the last three holes from the recently completed phase 3 drill program at its Cervantes project. ON MINING, Bear Creek reported Q3, 2022 production and financial results from its Mercedes mine in Sonora. Guanajuato Silver reported Q3, 2022 production and financial results from their Mexican operations. Orogen reported Q3 operating and financial results. ON FINANCING, SilverCrest announced that it has refinanced its USD $120M secured project financing facility (Las Chispas project, Sonora). Prime Mining announced a CAD $16.5M bought deal private placement financing, the same that later on was upsized to CAD $18.3M (Los Reyes project, Sinaloa). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Barksdale reported an initial Resource Estimate at Cerro Verde within its San Javier project, Sonora. GoGold presented results from its ongoing drilling program at its Los Ricos South property in Jalisco. Oroco released results from seven holes collared in the North Zone at its Santo Tomas project in Sinaloa. Prime Mining announced results from seven holes from its recently completed phase 2 drill program at its Los Reyes project, Sinaloa. SilverCrest announced the completion and final permanent connection to power line for its Las Chispas mine in Sonora. Starcore released its Mineral Resource Estimate and NI 43-101 compliant technical report for its El Creston project in Sonora. Vizsla announced results from seven drill holes targeting the southern extension of the Napoleon Vein at its Panuco project in Sinaloa. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Canuc signed a comprehensive agreement with the Ejido of San Javier, located in the Municipality of San Javier, Sonora. First Majestic announced the proposed sale of its royalty portfolio to Metalla Royalty for a total consideration of USD $20M. Kootenay announced the appointment of Dale Brittliffe as its new VP Exploration (Columba project, Chihuahua). Riverside received USD $2.5M in cash and 2% royalty from Fresnillo plc for the sale of the Tajitos project, Sonora. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Ricardo Sierra Oteiza, spokesman for the mining company Esperanza Silver de Mexico, stated that gold and silver mining is an activity that has the capacity to accelerate economic processes at the local level, generating employment, encouraging local supply networks, contributing tax revenue to the treasury and contributing to the social and economic development of the communities hosting mining projects, among other benefits.
ON MEXICO ISSUE
- Altos Hornos de Mexico S.A.B. de C.V. (AHMSA), assured that the power outage at its plants is an act of bad faith derived from charging millions of dollars to Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) for illegal cancellation of coal supply. AHMSA is owned by Mexican businessman Alonso Ancira, who assured that CFE’s actions are unjustifiable because they represented the loss of 4,000 direct jobs and more than 8,000 indirect ones, in addition to having generated disorder in the general coal industry. “These aggressive actions began after the Judiciary accepted a claim for damages for USD $700M for the unilateral and illegal cancellation of the supply of coal for the two generating plants located in Nava, Coahuila,” accused the company. “AHMSA stated that the actions taken by the management of the CFE show that it does not care about harming Coahuila and the people of Coahuila, since our plants located in that entity represent a direct source of livelihood for 17,000 Coahuila families.
- Karen Flores, General Director of the Mining Chamber of Mexico (CAMIMEX), declared that the Federal Government stops additionally collecting up to MXP $25 B after the suspension of mining concessions and the paralysis of new permits. She explained that the policy of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has halted more than 800 mining projects that only await federal authorization to start operations. “If the projects that are stopped were to start up, we would be talking about MXP $20 to 25 B per year to the federal treasury,” she said. She maintained that only in terms of taxes, the industry entered the public coffers in 2021 more than MXP $60 B and in seven years, MXP $240 B, an amount that could be higher if there were no obstacles in the current legislation.
- The Secretariat of Economy identified 159 mining companies with foreign capital operating in 26 states of Mexico (mostly juniors and exploration) in 2021. These companies operate 1,209 projects, of which 822 were halted and nine operations reported closing at the end of last year. The mining GDP in Mexico was MXP $865.2 B in 2021, a growth of 1.6% year-on-year, in real terms (based on GDP calculated in constant MXP $ with purchasing power as of December 31, 2013). For their part, mining-metallurgical exports amounted to USD $23,579M in 2021, a figure that meant an increase of 28.1% compared to the previous year. The significant increase in exports allowed that, despite the increase that was also reported in imports, an increase in the positive balance of the mining-metallurgical trade balance of 29.6% was registered and reached a value of USD $11,904M. The positive results in foreign trade in minerals consolidated the mining-metallurgical industry as the fifth source of foreign exchange, surpassing tourism and the agricultural sector, and only behind the automotive industry, the electrical and electronic equipment and machinery industry, remittances and oil exports. The mining sector presented an increase in the contribution to the National GDP, going from 2.3% in 2020 to 2.5% in 2021, and in the Industrial GDP the record went from 8.3% to 8.6% in the study period, according to data from the Mining Chamber of Mexico. Gold remained the main product of the national mining-metallurgical industry in 2021, with a share of 28.4% in the total value of production, followed by copper with 27.7% and silver with 20.4%.
- According to the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX), Newmont, Industrias Peñoles and Fresnillo operated the main zinc mines in Mexico in 2021. Peñasquito, owned by Newmont and located in the state of Zacatecas, leads the ranking, with 245.84K tonnes Zn, then follow two mines of Industrias Peñoles: Velardeña, Durango with 909.68K tonnes Zn, and Tizapa State of Mexico with 40.13K tonnes Zn. The table below shows the Zn production by mine for the year 2021:
The Buenavista Zinc project, in Sonora, is located within the Buenavista facilities and includes the development of a new concentrator to produce approximately 100K tonnes Zn and 20K tonnes Cu per year.
While the project has all the necessary permits, the project budget is USD $413M and is expected to start operations in 2023. As of December 31, 2021, Grupo México had invested USD $217M in this project. When completed, Grupo México anticipates that this new facility will double the company’s zinc production capacity and provide 490 direct and 1,470 indirect jobs. Other notable companies are: Gatos Silver, Minera Frisco and Gold Resource.
- Maria Luisa Albores, the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) informed deputies, in a very unfortunate statement, that the federal government will not grant more authorizations for open-pit mining due to the negative impacts on the environment and human health. When appearing before the joint commissions for the Environment and Natural Resources, and Climate Change and Sustainability of the Chamber of Deputies, the federal official also announced that mining concessions were detected in 68 Protected Natural Areas, “which contravenes the conservation and protection of the territory and its natural resources”. Opposition legislators such as the PAN members questioned the programs of this administration such as “Sembrando Vida”, pointing out that they do not have operating rules that allow their transparency and the energy transition has been aborted, in addition, environmental deforestation is not punished.
- Grupo Mexico maintained its position as the largest copper producer in Mexico, adding a total of 559.83K tonnes Cu in 2021. The company maintains copper production operations in Sonora, Chihuahua, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. With this, the company registered a coverage of 76.3% of the national copper production in 2021. The table below shows the Cu production by mine during 2021:
Prime Mining Corp., Aztec Minerals Corp., GoGold Resources Inc., Vizsla Silver Corp., and Oroco Resources Corp., reported the best drilling intercepts in Mexico on the first week of December, 2022. Details are shown in the table below:
- Aztec Minerals Corp., reported results for the last three holes from the recently completed phase 3 drill program at its Cervantes project in Sonora. The most significant drill intercept was encountered in hole CAL22-031, which was collared in the California Zone with 0.87 g/t Au over 28.5m, plus 0.58 g/t Au over 85.5m, including 2.3 g/t Au over 12m. “This drill hole confirms the footwall of the main California Zone mineralization at depth and fills a large gap in the drilling pattern”.
- Bear Creek Mining Corporation reported Q3, 2022 production and financial results from its Mercedes mine in Sonora. The company mined 126,420 tonnes of 2.92 g/t Au and processed 148,211 tonnes of 2.45 g/t Au with a metallurgical recovery of 95.53% to produce 11,170 Oz Au. Bear Creek sold 14,445 Oz Au at a cash and all-in-sustaining cost per Oz Au sold of USD $995 and USD $1,364 respectively at a realized price of USD $1,729 per Oz Au. The company reported revenues of USD $26.54M from the sale of gold and silver; a net loss of USD $7.7M; cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments as September 30, 2022 for USD $9.6M. Bear Creek plans to mine approximately 600K tonnes of 3.7 g/t Au to produce between 60K and 73K Oz Au in 2023.
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd., reported consolidated Q3, 2022 production and financial results from their Mexican operations (El Cubo and San Ignacio mines in Guanajuato, and Topia mine in Durango). The company mined 107,379 tonnes and milled 107,009 tonnes to produce 329.3K Oz Ag, 3,226 Oz Au, 537.6K Lb Pb, and 677.1 Lb Zn (700.3K Oz AgEq) at cash and all-in-sustaining cost of USD $13.86 and USD $19.53 per Oz AgEq respectively. It sold 311.7K Oz Ag, 2,997 Oz Au, 504.4K Lb Pb, and 273.3K Lb Zn (628.3K Oz AgEq). Guanajuato Silver reported revenue of USD $8.87M; cost of sales of USD $12.2M; mine operating loss of USD $3.34M; net loss of USD $8.4M; and cash on hand of USD $6.36M.
- Orogen Royalties Inc., reported Q3 operating and financial results. The company reported a net gain from operations of CAD $123.4K or CAD $0.001 per share; revenue of CAD $1.16M from the Ermitaño royalty with 478 attributable Oz AuEq sold at average price of USD $1,728 per Oz Au; net income of CAD $203K from prospect generation activities and recognized an impairment of CAD $262.1K for projects that have been dropped during the period; general and administrative expenses of CAD $802.1K and a loss of CAD $468K on fair value adjustments of marketable securities due to capital markets volatility. It also reported cash flow from operating activities of CAD $188.5K; cash flow from operating activities excluding changes in non-cash working capital of CAD $10.7M including CAD $3.3M in cash and cash equivalents, and CAD $5.2M in short term investments and no long-term debt.
- SilverCrest Metal Inc., announced that it has refinanced its USD $120M secured project financing facility, of which only USD $90M was drawn with a new USD $120M senior secured credit facility through a syndicate of lenders comprised of The Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal (Las Chispas project, Sonora).
- Prime Mining Corp., announced a CAD $16.5M bought deal private placement financing consisting of 11M units at a price of CAD $1.5 per unit, the same that later on was upsized to CAD $18.3M for the sale of 12.2M units at a price of CAD $1.5 per unit. Gross proceeds will be used to develop and explore its Los Reyes project in Sinaloa and for general corporate purposes.
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Barksdale Resources Corporation reported an initial Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) at Cerro Verde within its San Javier project, Sonora. The Resource is pit-constrained and considered a base case of USD $4/Lb copper. The table below shows the MRE effective as of October 31, 2022:
Cerro Verde remains open for expansion in most directions and the Mesa Grande and La Trinidad prospects both have historic drilling that indicates the presence of copper mineralization. Barksdale plans to initiate a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) at Cerro Verde that envisions a low-strip copper heap operation to produce cathode copper on site.
- GoGold Resources Inc., presented results from its ongoing drilling program at its Los Ricos South property in Jalisco. Highlights of the drilling include hole LRGG-22-218 with 3.98 g/t Au and 529 g/t Ag (11.04 g/t AuEq or 828 g/t AgEq) over 15m, including 12.43 g/t Au and 1,626 g/t Ag (34.1 g/t AuEq or 2,558 g/t AgEq) over 4.8m, including 20.32 g/t Au and 2,774 g/t Ag (57.31 g/t AuEq or 4,298 g/t AgEq) over 2.8m, including 37.90 g/t Au and 4,250 g/t Ag (94.57 g/t AuEq or 7,093 g/t AgEq) over 0.9m. Drilling results continue to confirm high grade wide intercepts in the Main deposit on Los Ricos South property.
- Oroco Resource Corp., released results from seven holes collared in the North Zone at its Santo Tomas project in Sinaloa. Highlights of the drilling include hole NO32 with 0.34% Cu, 0.005% Mo, 0.021 g/t Au, and 2 g/t Ag (0.37% CuEq) over 88.7m; hole NO34 with 0.34% Cu, 0.011% Mo, 0.029 g/t Au, and 3 g/t Ag (0.40% CuEq) over 267m; hole NO35 with 0.37% Cu, 0.006% Mo, 0.042 g/t Au, and 2 g/t Ag (0.42% CuEq) over 220.5m; and hole NO36 with 0.43% Cu, 0.002% Mo, 0.092 g/t Au, and 2 g/t Ag (0.51% CuEq) over 139.6m. “The company has now completed 43 drill holes (28,119 m of drilling) in its 2021-2022 North Zone drilling confirming good grade mineralization along 1,700 m of strike, demonstrating a westward dipping panel with consistent grades down-dip to about 400-500 m depth below the ridge, bottoming about sea level. The program is nearing completion with the remainder of the program focused on expanding the shallow seated mineralized zone on the hanging wall along the south-west side of the Gradeshell with the continued goal of increasing the resource in this newly identified zone”.
- Prime Mining Corp., announced results from seven holes from its recently completed phase 2 drill program at its Los Reyes project, Sinaloa. Highlights of the drilling include hole 22GE-118 with 3 g/t Au and 215 g/t Ag over a true width (TW)of 5.5m, including 6.8 g/t Au and 469 g/t Ag over a TW of 1m, plus 6.8 g/t Au and 166 g/t Ag over a TW of 18.3m, including 11.6 g/t Au and 262 g/t Ag over a TW of 9.1m, plus 4.8 g/t Au and 144 g/t Ag over a TW of 2.8m, plus 2.9 g/t Au and 89 g/t Ag over a TW of 7.2m, including 9.9 g/t Au and 231 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.4m, including 2.9 g/t Au and 101 g/t Ag over a TW of 7.2m, including 7 g/t Au and 327 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.4m, plus 2 g/t Au and 72 g/t Ag over a TW of 7.4m, including 2.8 g/t Au and 90 g/t Ag over a TW of 4.4m: hole 22GE-121 with 12.8 g/t Au and 646 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.1m, plus 4.2 g/t Au and 212 g/t Ag over a TW of 12.7m, including 10.2 g/t Au and 547 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.5m, plus 10.9 g/t Au and 765 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.4m, plus 21 g/t Au and 413 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.3m; hole 22GE-122 with 2.2 g/t Au and 54 g/t Ag over a TW of 13.8m, including 9.1 g/t Au and 141 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.1m, plus 8.8 g/t Au and 289 g/t Ag over a TW of 5.6m, including 33.2 g/t Au and 1,072 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.4m; and hole 22GE-120 with 6.8 g/t Au and 207 g/t Ag over a TW of 6.8m, including 12.2 g/t Au and 337 g/t Ag over a TW of 1.5m, plus 23 g/t Au and 495 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.9m, plus 3.5 g/t Au and 75 g/t Ag over 6.7m, including 11.3 g/t Au and 245 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.8m, plus 9.9 g/t Au and 149 g/t Ag over a TW of 0.8m.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., announced the completion and final permanent connection of its 33 kilovolt electrical power line for its Las Chispas mine in Sonora. The company also released its inaugural Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) report and a corresponding Water Stewardship report based on conclusions from the TCFD report.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd., released its pit-constraint Mineral Resource Estimate and NI 43-101 compliant technical report for its El Creston project in Sonora. Measured resources as of September 30, 2022 are 56.3M tonnes of 0.076% Mo and 0.04% Cu for a total of 94.3M Lb Mo and 49.7M Lb Cu and Indicated resources of 142.2M tonnes of 0.067% Mo and 0.08% Cu for a total of 210M Lb Mo and 250.8M Lb Cu. Measured + Indicated resources are 198.5M tonnes of 0.069% Mo and 0.07% Cu for a total of 304.4M Lb Mo and 300.5M Lb Cu.
- Vizsla Silver Corp., announced results from seven drill holes targeting the southern extension of the Napoleon Vein at its Panuco project in Sinaloa. Highlights of the drilling include hole NP-22-320 with 279 g/t Au, 24.01 g/t Au, 1.8% Pb, and 7.6% Zn (2,305 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.55m, including 267 g/t Ag, 29.1 g/t Au, 1.3% Pb, and 7.2% Zn (2,631 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.18m, plus 113 g/t Ag, 0.69 g/t Au, 0.6% Pb, and 6.2% Zn (390 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.8m, plus 143 g/t Ag, 0.87 g/t Au, 0.6% Pb, and 3.7% Zn (344 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.45m; hole NP-22-329 with 886 g/t Ag, 7.44 g/t Au, 2.2% Pb, and 6.8% Zn (1,660 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.88m, plus 222 g/t Ag, 2.64 g/t Au, 0.3% Pb, and 1.2% Zn (446 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 6.70m, including 668 g/t Ag, 2.22 g/t Au, 0.5% Pb, and 2.3% Zn (875 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.78m, including 159 g/t Ag, 9.14 g/t Au, 0.1% Pb, and 0.2% Zn (815 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.78m; and hole NP-22-333 with 54 g/t Ag, 1.22 g/t Au, 0.3% Pb, and 1.6% Zn (203 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 2.1m, plus 378 g/t Ag, 2.53 g/t Au, 0.4% Pb, and 4.3% Zn (696 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.50m.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Canuc Resources Corporation signed a comprehensive agreement for a period of 10 years with rights for renewal for a further 10 year period thereafter, with the Ejido of San Javier, located in the Municipality of San Javier, Sonora. The Agreement covers the Company’s 27 currently held claims and is contemplated to cover any further claims the Company may acquire in the San Javier area. The Ejido leadership at San Javier requested assistance from Canuc to implement controls against disruptive artisanal mining activities taking place locally by artisanal miners who have come to San Javier, but who are not from the area.
- First Majestic Silver Corp., announced the proposed sale of its royalty portfolio to Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd for a total consideration of USD $20M in common shares of Metalla. Total consideration consists of 4,168,056 Metalla shares at a deemed price of USD $4.7984 per share based on a 25-day volume-weighted average price on the NYSE American Exchange having an aggregate value of approximately USD $20.0M. The consideration will be paid upon Closing of the Transaction.
- Kootenay Silver Inc., announced the appointment of Dale Brittliffe as its new VP Exploration (Columba project, Chihuahua).
- Riverside Resources Inc., received USD $2.5M in cash and 2% NSR royalty from Fresnillo plc for the sale of the Tajitos project in Sonora. Fresnillo will have, for a four-year term, the option to buy back half of the 2.0% NSR for a payment of USD $1.5M. If enacted, then Fresnillo would have an additional three years to buy back the remaining 1% NSR for another USD $1.5M. If Fresnillo does not exercise its first buy back option during the first four-year term, the Royalty will no longer be subject to any buy back provisions. The NSR covers the entire Riverside land package and a full NSR Agreement has been agreed upon and included in the signed contract between the companies. If Fresnillo wishes to reduce mineral claims, then the Company has the first right to retain those mineral tenures before they are dropped.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Ricardo Sierra Oteiza, spokesman for the mining company Esperanza Silver de México, stated that gold and silver mining is an activity that has the capacity to accelerate economic processes at the local level, generating employment, encouraging local supply networks, contributing tax revenue to the treasury and contributing to the social and economic development of the communities hosting mining projects, among other benefits. In the case of the state of Morelos, in the community of San Agustín Tetlama in the municipality of Temixco, the company Esperanza Silver de México carries out scientific and technical prospecting and exploration studies to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement in search of the due authorizations from the federal government, so that, where appropriate, start the construction phase. If this mining project is consolidated, the Morelos community of San Agustín Tetlama would be expected to become a pole of economic and social development that joins the economic reactivation actions promoted by the government of the state of Morelos and the federal government.
Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.
On the picture above, drill core displaying ginguro texture in a banded quartz vein from an intermediate sulphidation epithermal vein system in a project in Zacatecas, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia.