By Miguel A Heredia
During the second week of the year (February 08th to February 14th, 2021), at least 28 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico and 11 news published by the media, with nine disclosing deals and corporate issues, six announcing financial rounds, six reporting on resources and development of their mine operations, six commenting on Mexican issues, five informing on exploration results, five discussing social issues, and two communicating production and financial results. ON MEXICO ISSUES, Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria are a key factor in Accendo Banco’s investments in Mexico’s mining sector, according to its CEO, Javier Reyes. Mining in Mexico registered a 19.5% rebound during October, 2020, according to the Monthly Indicator of Industrial Activity by Federal Entity (IMAIEF) released by the Institute National Statistics and Geography (INEGI). Tatiana Clouthier, head of the Secretariat of Economy declared that mining in Mexico must become a sustainable activity that prioritizes three issues: economic, human and nature. The energy policies that the federal government is following are already affecting the development of projects for the self-supply of energy by the mining sector. Experts detailed the main challenges that the Mexican mining sector will face in 2021, the year in which the industry is expected to play a leading role in the economic reactivation after confinements. Almost a year of delay accumulates the USD $60M of Chinese investment to construct the industrial park at Guadalupe, Zacatecas. ON EXPLORATION, In Sonora, Canuc commenced a drill program at its San Javier project, Carlyle and Riverside initiated a phase one drilling program at its Cecilia project, Tocvan and Colibri reported drill results from its El Pilar project, and Minaurum released results from its phase II drilling program conducted at its Alamo Silver project. ON MINING, Equinox provided 2021 guidance and outlined growth and investment plan (Los Filos mine, Guerrero). GoGold reported Q4, 2020 production and financial results from its Parral Tailings project in Chihuahua. ON FINANCING, Bacanora announced that 106,995,885 New Ordinary Shares were admitted to trading on London Stock Exchange market (Sonora Lithium project, Sonora). Silver Tiger announced that it entered into a CAD $20M bought deal financing (El Tigre, Sonora). Comet raised $1M in strategic investor placement (Santa Teresa project, Baja California). Orogen announced a private placement for gross proceeds of $2.7M (Ermitaño property, Sonora). Prospero Silver announced a consolidation of its common shares (Pachuca SE property, Hidalgo). SilverCrest entered into a bought deal financing agreement for aggregate gross proceeds of USD $120M (Las Chispas project, Sonora). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Bacanora commenced initial site activities at its Sonora Lithium project in Sonora. Excellon provided an update on ongoing exploration at its Platosa mine in Durango. GR Silver released underground and surface drilling results from its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. Newmont reported 2020 mineral reserves and resources for its Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas. Orla filed updated FS on its Camino Rojo Oxide project in Zacatecas. Southern Silver released drill results from its Cerro Las Minitas project in Durango. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Carlyle announced that it has now met its first-year exploration commitments of its option agreement with Riverside Resources to acquire 100% of the Cecilia Gold-Silver project. Fabled granted an aggregate of 350K stock options to certain consultants, to acquire one common share of Fabled at an exercise price of $0.22 per common share until September 1, 2021 (Santa Maria project, Chihuahua). Fortuna announced management changes (San Jose mine, Oaxaca). Gold Resource announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors (Arista mine, Oaxaca). Gold79announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors and granted him with 500K common shares at a price of $0.10 per share and expire on February 12, 2031 (Taviche project, Oaxaca). Orogen announced that its current President and Chief Executive Officer has been appointed to the Board of Directors (Ermitaño project, Sonora). Premier announced that two independent adviser firms have recommended that holders of Premier´s common shares and options approve the proposed acquisition of Equinox (Mercedes mine, Sonora). Tarachi Gold signed a purchase agreement with Manto Resources to acquire the Magistral del Oro mill and tailings project in Durango. Vizsla announced it will change its name to Vizsla Silver Corp (Panuco project, Sinaloa). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Coanzamex (GoGold) supported the Municipal Shelter of Parral, Chihuahua with blankets. Fresnillo plc organized literary caravan and delivered books to children from rural communities. Peñoles signed an alliance with the UNAM Foundation so that medical fellows serve the communities near its operating units in Durango, State of Mexico, Guerrero and Zacatecas. Peñoles encourages the presence of women in the areas of science, innovation and technological development. Santa Elena Mine (First Majestic) in connection with the Sonora A.C. Mining Cluster are carrying out a support program for merchants in the Banámichi and Río Sonora region.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria are a key factor in Accendo Banco’s investments in Mexico’s mining sector, according to its CEO, Javier Reyes. Investment deals recently advanced by the bank include a proposed USD $12M loan to finance construction of Telson Mining’s Tahuehueto gold mine in Durango. Candelaria Mining also signed a USD $9M loan agreement with Accendo in June 2020 for the construction of its Pinos gold project in Zacatecas. Lastly, Accendo signed a strategic alliance with Vancouver-based Empress Royalty in August last year. The agreement aims to acquire royalties, cash flows and other investments in Mexico’s mining sector.
- Mining in Mexico, registered a 19.5% rebound during October, 2020 according to the Monthly Indicator of Industrial Activity by Federal Entity (IMAIEF), released by the Institute National Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
- Tatiana Clouthier, head of the Secretariat of Economy declared that mining in Mexico must become a sustainable activity that prioritizes three issues: economic, human and nature. On the other hand, Clouthier highlighted the work that mining companies of all levels have done to accelerate the economic reactivation of the country. “The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is generated through mining is about 3.2% and we are pleased to see that these numbers can continue to move in favor of the economy and Mexican families,” she said. “In the Ministry of Economy we have already invited large, medium and small companies and associations that are linked to this issue to be able to find solutions, to be able, within the framework of the law, to activate what we have to activate for this task it can be managed better and it can yield better results in favor of our country”, she assured.
- The energy policies that the federal government is following are already affecting the development of projects for the self-supply of energy by the mining sector. According to data from the Mexico Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX), electricity for this industry is 33% and up to 350% more expensive compared to other countries, which increases its production costs. That is why the mining companies have decided to invest and develop electricity generation projects, which range from combined cycle plants to solar or wind farms. Despite this, many of these plans have been affected by current policies on energy and the action of regulatory bodies, such as the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), which reduced the granting of permits to a minimum. President of CAMIMEX assured in recent days that half of the energy consumed by the mining industry is under the self-supply model.
- Experts detailed the main challenges that the Mexican mining sector will face in 2021, the year in which the industry is expected to play a leading role in the economic reactivation after confinements. The main problems for the sector are the current health complications associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of directly or indirectly legislative proposals with potential negative impacts on the mining sector such as the direct initiatives to try to raise taxes at the state of federal level or indirect initiatives as the elimination of the outsourcing or initiatives of the electricity industry. Deputies of Mexico received in January a proposal from a legislator of the ruling party Morena aimed at reviewing the fees paid for mining concessions. It proposed replacing per hectare fees with potentially much higher charges linked to production. Another problem is the “profound ignorance” of the importance of the mining industry.
- Almost a year of delay accumulates the USD $60M of Chinese investment to construct the industrial park at Guadalupe, Zacatecas. This delay has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canuc Resources Corporation, commenced a drill program at its San Javier project. The program will be focused on testing geophysical anomalies and mineralized breccia and stockwork zones as reported previously.
- Carlyle Commodities Corp. and Riverside Resources Inc., initiated a six drill holes, phase one program at its Cecilia project designed to test down to roughly 250m in depth over the Cerro Magallanes rhyolitic dome. The drill program will commence to test the San Jose structure where sampling returned values up to 48.3 g/t Au over 0.75m at surface.
- Tocvan Ventures Corp. and Colibri Resource Corporation reported drill results from its phase one drilling program performed at its El Pilar project in Sonora, which consisted of nine RC holes for a total of 1,505m. Significant drill intercepts were encountered in hole JES-20-32 with 1.6 g/t Au over 94.6m, including 10.8 g/t Au and 38 g/t Ag over 9.2m; hole JES-20-33 with 1.1 g/t Au over 41.2m, including 6 g/t Au and 12 g/t Ag over 3.1m; and hole JES-20-36 with 2.5 g/t Au and 73 g/t Ag over 24.4m, including 6.3 g/t Au and 192 g/t Ag over 9.2m, including 33.4 g/t Au and 1,090 g/t Ag over 1.5m.
- Minaurum Gold Inc., released results from its phase II drilling program conducted at its Alamo Silver project. “Drilling at the Europa-Guadalupe target outlined a prospective south-west (“SW”) plunging silver shoot along with the potential for additional high-grade mineralization to the north and south of the area drilled. At the Promontorio target, drilling returned high-grade mineralization in excess of 100m below historical workings, indicating the potential for two SW-plunging silver shoots”. At Europa-Guadalupe Zone, Significant drill intercepts were encountered in hole AL20-054 with 342 g/t Ag, 0.76% Cu, and 1% Zn over 3.85m, including 1,185 g/t Ag, 2.19% Cu, and 1.2% Zn over 0.8m; and hole AL20-050 with 196 g/t Ag, 0.26% Cu, 0.35% Pb, and 1.1% Zn over 3.25m, including 784 g/t Ag, 1.05% Cu, and 2.5% Zn over 0.55m. At Promontorio Zone, hole AL20-064 intersected 528 g/t Ag, 0.8 g/t Au, 0.83% Cu, 2.4% Pb, and 1.5% Zn over 3.7m, including 1,203 g/t Ag, 2.45 g/t Au, 1.4% Cu, 5.1% Pb, and 2.8% Zn over 1.05m; and hole AL20-069 with 161 g/t Ag, 0.5 g/t Au, 0.24% Cu, 2.15% Pb, and 5.9% Zn over 4m, including 327 g/t Ag, 0.9 g/t Au, 0.23% Cu, 2.5% Pb, and 6.6% Zn over 1m. At San Jose Zone, hole AL20-066 encountered 314 g/t Ag, 0.27% Cu, 0.2% Pb, and 0.2% Zn over 4.45m, and hole AL20-075 with 460 g/t Ag, 0.15% Cu, 0.5% Pb, and 0.85% Zn over 2.15m. At Travesia Zone, hole AL20-077 intersected 210 g/t Ag, 0.59% Cu, 1.3% Pb, and 1.3% Zn over 4.4m, including 355 g/t Ag, 0.7 g/t Au, 1.02% Cu, 4.6% Pb, and 3.2% Zn over 0.9m.
- Equinox Gold Corp., provided 2021 guidance and outlined growth and investment plan. It expects to produce 170K-190K Oz Au from its Los Filos mine in Guerrero at cash and AISC of USD $1,125-1,200 and USD $1,330-1,390 respectively. The company has planned a total sustaining and non-sustaining capital spend of USD $133M for the year.
- GoGold Resources Inc., reported Q4, 2020 production and financial results from its Parral Tailings project in Chihuahua. The company produced 298.6KOz Ag, 3,632 Oz Au and 280K Lb Cu (614.15K Oz AgEq) at cash and AISC of USD $12.27 and USD $15.19 per Oz Ag sold. GoGold reported revenue of USD $14,078M, a net income of USD $4.23M, and a cash flow from operation of USD $5.86M.
- Bacanora Lithium plc., announced that 106,995,885 New Ordinary Shares were admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange market (Sonora Lithium project, Sonora).
- Silver Tiger Metals Inc., announced that it entered into a CAD $20M bought deal financing with Sprott Capital Partners LP. Net proceeds will be used to fund continued exploration at its El Tigre project in Sonora, as well as for general working capital and business development purposes.
- Comet Resources Ltd., announced that it raised $1M in strategic investor placement. Part of the raised funds will be used to support exploration activities at its (Santa Teresa project in Baja California.
- Orogen Royalties Inc., announced a private placement for gross proceeds of $2.7M (Ermitaño property, Sonora).
- Prospero Silver Corp., announced a consolidation of its common shares on the basis of one new post-consolidation common share for every three pre-consolidation common shares effective as of February 11, 2021. There will be no name change or trading symbol change in conjunction with the consolidation (Pachuca SE property, Hidalgo).
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., entered into a bought deal financing agreement for aggregate gross proceeds of USD $120M. Net proceeds of the offering will be used to expand resources and reserves at its Las Chispas project in Sonora through further drilling, to optimize the mine and processing plant design, to explore regional targets, and for general working capital purposes.
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Bacanora Lithium plc., commenced initial site activities at its Sonora Lithium project in Sonora. Bacanora engaged a local specialist ecological service company to rescue and remove surface vegetation and topsoil in the area proposed for the construction of the processing plant. The company is also upgrading the main access road for providing access to heavy equipment to commence the bulk site earthworks later in the year.
- Excellon Resources Inc., provided an update on ongoing exploration at its Platosa mine in Durango. The company is drilling regional targets such as Jaboncillo and the PDN areas, as well as drilling the Platosa extensions and Platosa Underground to support resource definition and expansion. At Jaboncillo zone, located 11 km north of Platosa mine, Excellon identified in a previous drilling campaign a 1.2km length gossans mineralization. The current drilling program is targeting the source of these gossans and the existence of massive sulphides. At PDN zone, located 2 km north of Platosa mine, it is testing a large 800m by 60m target generated with multiple sets of geophysical data, surface mapping and sampling. This target is interpreted as a deeper skarn related to the Rincon del Caido skarn discovered in 2012 where a previous drill intercept encountered 132 g/t Ag, 3.1% Pb, 1.7% Zn, and 0.075 g/t Au (278 g/t AgEq) over 55.5m. At the 10-20 target, the company has been conducting drilling surface to add mineralization over approximately 300m of strike with a vertical extent of 30-40m. This zone has potential to significantly increase the current 800m by 600m mineralized footprint of the Platosa mine. At Platosa mine, Excellon is conducting underground drilling to define mineralization ahead of mine development and add mineralized inventory in areas not adequately tested by surface drilling. This underground drilling program follows up on previous drilling of the Pierna and NE-1 mantos and depth extensions of the 623 and NE-1S mantos.
- GR Silver Mining Ltd., released underground and surface drilling results from its Plomosas project in Sinaloa. Significant mineralization was encountered in hole PLI-20-05 with 2.63 g/t Au, 39 g/t Ag, 0.2% Cu, 0.2% Pb, and 0.1% Zn over 4m, including 8.95 g/t Au, 136 g/t Ag,0.4% Cu, 0.6% Pb, and 0.1% Zn (1,101 g/t AgEq) over 1.0m, and other deeper intersection of 2.77 g/t Au, 25 g/t Ag, 0.2% Cu, 0.2% Pb, and 0.6% Zn over 9.2m, including 19.95 g/t Au, 227 g/t Ag, 1% Cu, 1.3% Pb, and 4.7% Zn (2,507 g/t AgEq) over 0.20m; and hole PLI17-32 with 1.37 g/t Au, 68 g/t Ag, 0.1% Cu, 0.4% Pb, and 0.1% Zn (245 g/t AgEq) over 10.6m. “The underground drilling program is targeting high-grade Ag-Au epithermal mineralization and bulk tonnage-style polymetallic mineralization in the Plomosas Mine Area, with the objective to delineate high margin precious and base metals mineralization for planned resource estimation”.
- Newmont Corporation reported 2020 mineral reserves and resources for its Peñasquito and Noche Buena mines. Figures are shown in the tables below:
(Resources are reported exclusive of reserves)
- Orla Mining Ltd., filed updated FS on its Camino Rojo Oxide project in Zacatecas. Highlights include a total ore to leach pad of 67.4M tonnes of 0.73 g/t Au and 14 g/t Ag for a total of 1.59M Oz Au and 31.5M Oz Ag at metallurgical recoveries of 62% and 20% respectively to recover 980K Oz Au and 6.19M Oz Ag. The mine life of Camino Rojo has been estimated in 10.4 years with a throughput rate of 18,000 tonnes per day for an annual production of 94K Oz Au, at a cash and AISC cost of USD $490 and USD $543 per Oz Au respectively. The FS reported a Pre-Tax and NVP (5% discount rate) of USD $668M, Pre-Tax IRR of 82%, an After-Tax and NVP (5% discount rate) of USD $542M,and an After-Tax IRR of %62%, for a payback time of 1.5 years.
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp., released drill results from its Cerro Las Minitas project in Durango. The company intersected bonanza grades at La Bocona Chimney in hole 20CLM-131 with 1,072 g/t Ag, 18.8% Pb, and 7.5% Zn (2,040 g/t AgEq or 51.7% ZnEq) over a true width (TW) of 8m, which includes subintervals of 3,180 g/t Ag, 58.8% Pb, and 2.3% Zn over a TW of 0.6m, and 2,340 g/t Ag, 35.9% Pb, and 1.6% Zn over a TW of 0.8m. Additional mineralized intervals intersected further down-hole include 121 g/t Ag, 2.5% Pb, and 2.5% Zn (311 g/t AgEq or 7.9% ZnEq) over a TW of 8.5m, including 413 g/t Ag, 8.7% Pb, and 9.3% Zn (1,103 g/t AgEq or 28% ZnEq) over a TW of 1.6m, including 59 g/t Ag, 0.6 g/t Au, an 3.7% Cu (489 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.5m. Additional assays results were also received from the Muralla and the South Skarn targets located 500m away of the Mina La Bocona. Significant drill intercepts were encountered in hole 20CLM-134 with 205 g/t Ag, 0.16 g/t Au, 4% Pb, and 0.9% Zn (377 g/t AgEq or 9.5% ZnEq) over a TW of 4.1m, including 575 g/t Ag, 0.05 g/t Au, 9.9% Pb, and 2.2% Zn (972 g/t AgEq or 24.7% ZnEq) over a TW of 0.6m in the Muralla target; hole 20CLM-126 with 95 g/t Ag, 0.7% Pb, and 1.2% Zn (174 g/t AgEq or 4.4% ZnEq), including 398 g/t Ag, 0.16 g/t Au, 2.7% Pb, and 4% Zn (679 g/t AgEq or 17.2% ZnEq) over a TW of 0.7min the South Target Zone, and hole 20CLM-130 with 327 g/t Ag, 5.6% Pb, and 11.5% Zn (960 g/t AgEq or 24.4% ZnEq) over a TW of 1m in the South Target Zone.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Carlyle Commodities Corp., announced that it has now met its first-year exploration commitments of its Option Agreement with Riverside Resources to acquire 100% of the Cecilia Gold-Silver project, by having advanced at least CAD $750K for exploration expenditures.
- Fabled Silver Gold Corp., granted an aggregate of 350K stock options to certain consultants, to acquire one common share of Fabled at an exercise price of $0.22 per common share until September 1, 2021 (Santa Maria project, Chihuahua).
- Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., announced the resignation of its Director and Chair of the Board, and the appointment of its replacement (San Jose mine, Oaxaca).
- Gold Resource Corporation announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors (Arista mine, Oaxaca).
- Gold79 Mines Ltd., announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors and granted him 500K common shares at a price of $0.10 per share and expires on February 12, 2031 (Taviche project, Oaxaca).
- Orogen Royalties Inc., announced that its current President and Chief Executive Officer has been appointed to the Board of Directors (Ermitaño project, Sonora).
- Premier Gold Mines Limited announced that two independent adviser firms have recommended that holders of Premier´s common shares and options approve the proposed acquisition of Equinox Gold Corp. (Mercedes mine, Sonora).
- Tarachi Gold Corp., signed a purchase agreement with Manto Resources SA de CV to acquire the Magistral del Oro mill and tailings project in Durango. Magistral project consists of a 1,000 tons per day (TPD) Merrill-Crow tailings reprocessing plant and tailing disposal facility, and access to an estimated 1.3M tonnes of tailings with a historic average grade of between 2.06 g/t Au and 2.11 g/t Au. In order to acquire the property, Tarachi has to issue 4M of its common shares, grant Manto with a 15% net profits royalty on the estimated 1.3M tonnes of tailings material expected to be processed and reimburse Manto for USD $1,179,500 of cash outlays, and will satisfy certain obligations of Manto by paying a total of USD $1,111,000 plus any Mexican value add tax (IVA) and issuing 1,685,916 common shares within 90 days of closing. Manto will be entitled to the following staged bonus payments: an additional 4M common shares 60 days after the closing date, 4M common shares 180 days after the closing date, 4M of common shares 365 days after the closing date, USD $500K in cash following 6 months of commercial production at Magistral, USD $500K in cash following 12 months of commercial production at Magistral, upon the company earning USD $15M in revenue from Magistral, the company will pay Manto USD $1M. Finally, a finder´s fee of 1M common shares will be issued to Spirit Exploration Corp.
- Vizsla Resources Corp., announced it will change its name to Vizsla Silver Corp. The name change is expected to be effective on February 9, 2021 (Panuco project, Sinaloa).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Coanzamex (GoGold Resources Inc.) delivered blankets to the Parral Municipality Shelter. Major of Parral thanked the spirit of solidarity that has characterized the mining company that has operated in Parral, Chihuahua for several years.
- Fresnillo plc organized literary caravan and delivered 10,000 books to children and adolescents from 23 communities in Caborca, Sonora. It should be mentioned that Fresnillo plc, in alliance with the IBBY México organization, encourages children’s reading through the “Picando Letras” program, which has been implemented for some time more than 8 years and, to date, approximately more than 2,500 infants and adolescents have participated in the various actions.
- Industrias Peñoles SAB de CV signed an alliance with the UNAM Foundation so that medical fellows serve the communities near its operating units Durango, State of Mexico, Guerrero and Zacatecas. For more than 10 years, Peñoles has carried out Health Days to the communities near its operations, to provide free medical care to its neighbors. To give continuity to preventive health programs among the population with fewer resources, Peñoles ratified an agreement with the UNAM Foundation whereby eight social service providers of the University will provide medical care to the communities surrounding the Velardeña, Sabinas, Tizapa, and Capela mines.
- Industrias Peñoles SAB de CV encourages the presence of women in the areas of science, innovation and technological development. Its General Director, Rafael Rebollar, points out that, fortunately, more women are joining the different mining processes, contributing their talent and skills. The Central Laboratory and the Center for Research and Technological Development (CIDT) of Peñoles stand out, with 35 women who carry out functions key to mining and metallurgical processes. Thus, Peñoles reiterates its commitment to society by integrating more women scientists in the industry, through programs that expand their knowledge and allow them to innovate in the processes, which contributes to strengthening the activity mining and make it more sustainable.
- Santa Elena Mine (First Majestic) in connection with the Sonora A.C. Mining Cluster are carrying out a support program for local merchants in the Banámichi and Río Sonora region. Through a workshop, they seek to provide the necessary tools to promote the economic reactivation of businesses and overcome the barriers of the pandemic using new digital marketing tool to offer its products and services. This training was offered in virtual mode where the last session was completed in person, ending with the delivery of recognitions to the participants.
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On the picture above, a quartz hydrothermal breccia in a low sulphidation epithermal system in a prospect in Durango, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia., Mexico.