Silica-Alunita in a hydrothermal breccia
By Miguel A Heredia During the 34th week of the year (August 21st to August 27th, 2023), at least 20 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico, and 4 news published by the media, with eleven reporting resources and development of their properties, five commenting on Mexican issues, four disclosing deals and corporate issues, one announcing financing issues, one communicating production and financial results, one informing on exploration results, and one discussing social issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, The United States government requested the installation of the first United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA or T-MEC) labor panel against Grupo Mexico. USMCA panel analyzes whether there was a violation in the case of the San Martin Mine, Zacatecas of Grupo Mexico. The president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Francisco Cervantes pronounced on the request for a labor panel of the T-MEC in a mine of Grupo México. Grupo Mexico sees an impact beyond its San Martin Mine. GoGold, Sierra Metals, Vizsla and Guanajuato Silver reported the best drilling intercepts in Mexico on the fourth week of August, 2023. ON EXPLORATION, Prismo provided an update of its ongoing drilling program at its Palos Verdes project in Sinaloa. ON MINING, Guanajuato Silver reported Q2, 2023 production and financial results from their mine operations in Mexico. ON FINANCING, Golden Minerals received New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) acceptance of plan to regain listing compliance (Rodeo project, Durango). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Tocvan and its JV partner Colibri announced results from a bulk sample collected at Pilar project in Sonora. GoGold released additional drilling results from the Main Area at Los Ricos South project, Jalisco. Golden Tag filed NI43-101 technical report on Mineral Resources for its La Parrilla Mine Complex, Durango. Vizsla reported results from 11 drillholes collared on the Napoleon Vein at its flagship Panuco project in Sinaloa. Golden Minerals completed an updated technical report as a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for its Velardeña properties in Durango. Guanajuato Silver provided drill results from its Topia Mine in Durango. Sierra Metals announced a mineral resource expansion at its Bolivar Mine in Chihuahua. Silver Tiger reported results from initial scoping-level metallurgical test from its high grade Ag-Au El Tigre project, Sonora. Impact Silver provided a construction update at its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. Pan American Silver announced mineral resource and mineral reserves as at June 30, 2023 at their Mexican mine operations and advanced mining projects. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, McEwen and Sierra Metals announced the appointment of new members to their Board of Directors. Discovery announced key appointments that strengthen the company’s Board of Directors, and also the permitting and technical teams (Cordero project, Chihuahua). Aloro announced that it has cancelled the option agreement with Cuesta del Cobre S de R.L. de C.V., to purchase the Quitovac Mine project in Sonora. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Orla Mining released its inaugural sustainability report (Camino Rojo, Zacatecas).
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The United States government requested the installation of the first United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA or T-MEC) labor panel under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (MLRR), for disagreeing with the Mexican government on the complaint against the San Martin Mine, of Grupo México, located in Zacatecas, who is accused of having impeded free unionization and authentic collective contracting. The Mexican government, for its part, responded that it would not review the case under the T-MEC mechanisms, arguing that the conflict dates back to 2007 (since the T-MEC entered into force in 2020) and that there is no evidence of that the mine exports to the United States, so it would not be a facility covered by the treaty. Grupo Mexico denounced that the union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, presented the complaint that gave rise to this process with two objectives: “to have a new pretext to ignore the deﬁnitive award that condemns him to pay USD $55M plus accrued yields from 2005 to former mining workers and generate conﬂicts to press for a new political position that gives him jurisdiction / political privileges (“fuero politico”). After the lifting of the strike, in 2018, San Martin has received investments of more than USD $105M, has produced more than 1.25M tonnes of mineral each year and has generated about 1,300 jobs.
- USMCA panel analyzes whether there was a violation in the case of the San Martin Mine, Zacatecas of Grupo Mexico. Given these facts, Grupo México indicated that it is essential for the San Martin Mine to put an end to a conﬂict that has harmed workers and their families for the last 15 years. Grupo México assured that the conflict in the San Martin Mine is not the product of the disagreement of the workers, but of the senator for Morena Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who presented the complaint that gave rise to this process. “Urrutia sought to have a new pretext to ignore the final award that condemns him to pay USD $55M plus accrued income since 2005 to former mining workers, as well as generate conflicts to press for a new political position.
- The president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Francisco Cervantes pronounced on the request for a labor panel of the T-MEC in a mine of Grupo México. At the request of the United States government for the first panel of the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism under the Treaty between Mexico, the United States, and Canada at the San Martin mine of Grupo México, in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Francisco Cervantes Díaz, president of the CCE, commented that it is a panel that has already lost a labor part here, that is why they are entering the issue in the United States and the resolution must be waited for. The Ministry of Economy indicated that Mexico rejected the request because this conflict dates from July 2007, and the law is not retroactive, since the “T-MEC would not be applicable to the facts related to this controversy.”
- Grupo Mexico sees an impact beyond its San Martin Mine. The Mexican government will have the burden of proof to demonstrate in the T-MEC instance that there were no violations of union freedom in the San Martin Mine. If the case is lost, the sanctions could affect other company exports, beyond those originating from the facility in conflict, envisions the Grupo Mexico´s lawyer. It is worth remembering that the United States filed a labor complaint with the Mexican government accusing that, in the San Martin Mine, belonging to Grupo México, the rights of workers were violated because a strike was terminated by establishing a collective contract with another union, which would mean a violation of workers’ rights. Mexico maintained that this fact was prior to the entry into force of the trade agreement with the United States and Canada, and refused to carry out the investigation to determine a possible Remediation Plan for the company.
- GoGold Resources Inc., Sierra Metals Inc., Vizsla Silver Corporation, and Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd., reported the best drilling intercepts in Mexico on the fourth week of August, 2023. Details are shown in the table below:
- Prismo Metals Inc., provided an update of its ongoing drilling program at its Palos Verdes project in Sinaloa. The company has drilled 2,620m in the current program and completed thirteen holes with one hole in progress, PV-23-32. One additional hole is contemplated after completing hole PV-23-32 as part of the original drill program which began in May 2023. “This will be followed by the previously announced expansion of the drill program, with holes to be drilled from Vizsla Silver Corp. concessions adjacent to the Palos Verdes concession. These holes will target the Palos Verdes vein at depth. This follows a recommendation presented by the Panuco Joint Technical Committee to drill approximately 3,600 meters in ten holes to be completed in two phases”.
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd., reported Q2, 2023 production and financial results from their mine operations in Mexico (El Cubo, San Ignacio, and Valenciana in Guanajuato, and Topia in Durango) All amounts are expressed in US dollars. The company mined 166,671 tonnes and milled 163,793 tonnes with metallurgical recoveries of 84.9% Ag and 83.1% Au, to produce 477.6K Oz Ag, 4,719 Oz Au, 875.8K Lb Pb, and 897.2K Lb Zn (941.3K Oz AgEq). It sold 462.9K Oz Ag, 4,427 Oz Au, 830.6K Lb Pb, and 871.3K Lb Zn (901.5K Oz AgEq) at realized prices of $24.33/ Oz Ag, $1,988.05/Oz Au, $0.97/Lb Pb, and $1.14/Lb Zn. Guanajuato Silver reported revenue of $16.8M; cost of sales of $19.2M; mine operating loss of ($2.4M); mine operating cash flow before taxes of $394.3K; net loss of ($8.6M); EBIDTA of ($4.6M); adjusted EBIDTA of ($3.41M); and working capital of ($17.8M).
- Golden Minerals Company received New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) acceptance of plan to regain listing compliance. The listing of the Company’s common stock will continue pursuant to an extension during the plan period, during which time the Company will be subject to periodic review to determine whether it is making progress consistent with the accepted plan (Rodeo project, Durango).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Tocvan Ventures Corp., and its JV partner Colibri Resource Corporation, announced results from a bulk sample collected at Pilar project in Sonora. Highlights of the recovery results for heap leaching match regional operating mine – head grade exceeds expectations include 62% recovery of gold achieved over 46-day leaching period; report confirms with increase in irrigation flowrate, higher recovery can be achieved; head grade calculated at 1.9 g/t Au and 7 g/t Ag, extracted grade calculated at 1.2 g/t Au and 3 g/t Ag; bulk sample only included coarse fraction of material (+3/4”to +1.8”); and fine fraction (-1/8”) indicated rapid recovery with agitated leach. Highlights of recap of fine fractions and gravity recovery results include 80%recovery of gold and 94% recovery of silver after rapid 24-hour retention time in agitated bottle roll test; and 95 to 99% recovery of gold and 73 to 97% recovery for silver in gravity recovery with agitated leach results of five composite samples. It includes the recovery of 99% Au and 73% Ag from drill core composite at 120m depth.
- GoGold Resources Inc., released additional drilling results from the Main Area at Los Ricos South project, Jalisco. Drilling highlights include hole LRGG-23-316 with 1.27 g/t Au and 396 g/t Ag (6.54 g/t AuEq or 491 g(/t AgEq) over 27.3m, including 4.43 g/t Au and 1,338 g/t Ag (22.26 g/t AuEq or 1.665 g/t AgEq) over 7.6m, including 11.80 g/t Au and 7,230 g/t Ag (108.20 g/t AuEq or 8,115 g/t AgEq) over 0.9m; hole LRGG-23-304 with 1.82 g/t Au and 181 g/t Ag (4.24 g/t AuEq or 318 g/t AgEq) over 10m, including 4.34 g/t Au and 633 g/t Ag (12.78 g/t AuEq or 958 g/t AgEq) over 1.8m; hole LRGG-23-306 with 4.99 g/t Au and 605 g/t Ag (13.05 g/t AuEq or 979 g/t AgEq) over 11.7m, including 30.5 g/t Au and 3,550 g/t Ag (77.83 g/t AuEq or 5,837 g/t AgEq) over 1.5m; hole LRGG-23-309 with 1.5 g/t Au and 89 g/t Ag (2.69 g/t AuEq or 202 g/t AgEq) over 18.6m, including 12.05 g/t Au and 144 g/t Ag (13.97 g/t AuEq or 1.048 g/t AgEq) over 0.6m; and hole LRGG-23-313 with 3.23 g/t Au and 235 g/t Ag (6.36 g/t AuEq or 477 g/t AgEq) over 9.2m, including 4.64 g/t Au and 461 g/t Ag (10.79 g/t AuEq or 809 g/t AgEq) over 3.2m. The Main Area drilling campaign’s purposes is to better define the very high-grade portions of the current deposit that may be amenable to bulk underground mining.
- Golden Tag Resources Ltd., filed NI43-101 technical report on Mineral Resources for its La Parrilla Mine Complex, Durango, with an effective date of May 31, 2023.
- Vizsla Silver Corp., reported results from 11 drillholes collared on the Napoleon Vein at its flagship Panuco project in Sinaloa. Drilling highlights (true widths) include hole NP-23-380 with 111 g/t Ag, 0.64 g/t Au, 0.01% Pb, and 0.01% Zn (147 g/t AgEq) over 5.4m, plus 561 g/t Ag, 1.08 g/t Au, 1.3% Pb, and 6.2% Zn (849 g/t AgEq) over 1.35m, plus 346 g/t Ag, 2.21 g/t Au, 0.8% Pb, and 4.3% Zn (650 g/t AgEq) over 0.4m; hole NP-23-301 with 64 g/t Ag, 0.72 g/t Au, 0.8% Pb, and 0.8% Zn (160 g/t AgEq) over 1m, plus 908 g/t Ag, 7.37 g/t Au, 1.6% Pb, and 4.9% Zn (1,568 g/t AgEq) over 1.9m, including 1,500 g/t Ag, 8.96 g/t Au, 2% Pb, and 4% Zn (2,205 g/t AgEq) over 0.65m; hole NP-23-392 with 527 g/t Ag, 3.78 g/t Au, 2.1% Pb, and 5% Zn (989 g/t AgEq) over 2.5m, including 1,500 g/t Ag, 9.97 g/t Au, 5.2% Pb, and 6.7% Zn (2,465 g/t AgEq) over 0.69m, plus 258 g/t Ag, 1.62 g/t Au, 1.9% Pb, and 15.5% Zn (967 g/t AgEq) over 0.95m, plus 40 g/t Ag, 1.96 g/t Au, 0.6% Pb, and 11.4% Zn (602 g/t AgEq) over 1.55m. “The new drill results are centered on the western portion of the district and are part of Vizsla’s ongoing 90,000m resource infill and expansion/discovery-focused drill program. Infill and step-out (expansionary) drilling completed to date has led to an improved understanding of the mineralization controls along the Napoleon vein corridor”.
- Golden Minerals Company completed an updated technical report as a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for its Velardeña properties in Durango. Mineral Resource Estimate (sulphides) as at June 1, 2023 considers measured + indicated resources of 665,900 tons with grades of 402 g/t Ag, 5.54 g/t Au, 1.7% Pb, and 2.1% Zn for a total of 8.6M Oz Ag, 118.5K Oz Au, 24.77M Lb Pb, and 30.48M Lb Zn contained, and inferred resources of 1,059,900 tonnes of 413 g/t Ag, 5.1 g/t Au, 1.8% Pb, and 2.3% Zn for a total of 14.06M Oz Ag, 173.7K Oz Au, 42.3M Lb Pb, and 52.7M Lb Zn contained. Highlights of the economic analysis include a mine life of 10.5 years; Pre-Tax NPV (8%) of USD $136.7M and IRR of 1,320.2%; After-Tax NPV (8%) of USD $87.6M and IRR of 860.7%; and a payback of less than one year.
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd., provided drill results from its Topia Mine in Durango. Drilling highlights reported in true widths include hole UT23-468 (Argentina Vein) with 0.15 g/t Au, 202 g/t Ag, 2.3% Pb, and 0.8% Zn (317 g/t AgEq) over 0.36m; hole UT23-470 (Argentina Vein) with 0.09 g/t Au, 132 g/t Ag, 0.2% Pb, and 1.1% Zn (182 g/t AgEq) over 0.35m; hole UT23-471 (Argentina Vein) with 0.1 g/t Au, 547 g/t Ag, 1.1% Pb, and 1.8% Zn (644 g/t AgEq) over 0.80m; hole UT23-474 (Santa Cruz Vein) with 0.06 g/t Au, 490 g/t Ag, 0.7% Pb, and 0.2% Zn (521 g/t AgEq) over 0.18m; and hole UT23-476 (san Gregorio Vein) with 0.16 g/t Au, 1,180 g/t Ag, 5.1% Pb, and 23.9% Zn (2,150 g/t AgEq) over 0.15m, plus 0.19 g/t Au, 161 g/t Ag, 0.3% Pb, and 10.6% Zn (551 g/t AgEq) over 1.91m, plus 0.33 g/t Au, 124 g/t Ag, 0.4% Pb, and 7.2% Zn (409 g/t AgEq) over 0.25m. “Drilling of the Argentina and Santa Cruz veins is being done from the new El Condor Tunnel with the objective of defining the trend of mineralization to the west of the current intercepts. The Rosario and San Gregorio veins, located in the southeastern part of the district, have been drilled from the Rosario ramp; these veins are separated by approximately 350 metres, and the objective there is to follow the trend of mineralization to the west”.
- Sierra Metals Inc., announced a mineral resource expansion at its Bolivar Mine in Chihuahua. The company reported additional 15.5M Lb CuEq in measured and indicated mineral resources hosted by the Dulce structure at its Bolivar mine in Chihuahua, Mexico. Mineral Resource at Dulce Zone as at June 30, 2023 include measured + indicated resources of 1,236,000 tonnes with grades of 0.83% Cu, 0.47 g/t Au, and 26 g/t Ag (1.24% CuEq) for a total of 22.7M Lb Cu, 18.7K Oz Au, and 1.03M Oz Ag (33.8M Lb CuEq) contained, and inferred resources of 431K tonnes with grades of 0.67% Cu, 0.57 g/t Au, and 25 g/t Ag (1.12% CuEq) for a total of 6.4M Lb Cu, 7.9K Oz Au, and 345K Oz Ag (10.6M Lb CuEq) contained.
- Silver Tiger Metals Inc., reported results from initial scoping-level metallurgical test from its high grade Ag-Au El Tigre project, Sonora. Preliminary metallurgical work demonstrates excellent recoveries of silver, gold, copper, zinc and lead in the Sulphide and Black Shale Zones with silver equivalent recoveries of 95.7% and 98.1%, respectively. Preliminary rougher flotation tests of the Black Shale Zone recovered 91.1% copper, 98.2% lead, 98.8% zinc, 91.9% gold, and 98.4% silver (Overall Silver Equivalent Recovery – 98.1%); preliminary rougher flotation tests of the Sulphide Zone recovered 94.2% copper, 95.3% lead, 97.6% zinc, 79.6% gold, and 96.0% silver (Overall Silver Equivalent Recovery – 95.7%); surface Stockwork Zone column test extractions recovered – 83.1% Gold, 64.3% Silver at 3/8-in crush size with no requirement for agglomeration indicated in these tests (Overall Silver Equivalent Recovery – 78.1%; and also notable is the low cyanide consumption of 0.68 kg per tonne and lime consumption of 2.33 kg per tonne. “Previous drilling of the Surface Stockwork Zone has indicated a mineralized zone in excess of 100 meters true width. With high recoveries of 78.1% silver equivalency in column testing, simulating a heap leaching process, the Corporation sees the potential for an open pit low-cost heap leach process. This open pit heap leach process will be defined as part of the upcoming PEA”.
- Impact Silver Corp., provided a construction update at its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. “All necessary components of the mill have arrived on site or have been refurbished with assembly currently in the final stages. Testing and modification of the plant is expected to start in late summer, with ramp up to design capacity of nearly 200 tpd expected over the coming months. Construction is now approximately 85% complete. The Company has applied for the expansion of the current tailings pond which is expected to add at least an additional two years capacity. Meanwhile, an additional tailings pond is in the planning stages to accommodate years of future production and growth. Refurbishments to ventilation, electrical and lighting systems are ongoing as activity increases underground. Mining has begun and is expected to ramp up as the Company deploys additional equipment to the mine including scoop trams and underground trucks. Underground drilling to better define and expand resources has begun and drill permits for surface brownfield and green field exploration targets have been received. The exploration team has initiated its first phase of the 2023-2024 mine plan. This includes extraction of high-grade material in line with previous grades in excess of 13% Zn. There are currently 70 Company employees on site and another 25 contract workers. The Company is fortunate to have inherited a strong workforce after the acquisition closed and is adding positions in specific areas centred around engineering, exploration and day-to-day operations”.
- Pan American Silver Corp., announced mineral resource and mineral reserves as at June 30, 2023 at their Mexican mine operations and advanced mining projects (Mineral resources are reported exclusive of mineral reserves). At La Colorada, Zacatecas, the company reported measured resources of 0.7M with grades of 153 g/t Ag and 0.13 g/t Au for a total of 3.6M Oz Ag and 3K Oz Au contained; indicated resources of 2.5M tonnes with grades of 182 g/t Ag and 0.19 g/t Au for a total of 14.6M Oz Ag and 15K Oz Au contained; and inferred resources of 14.7M tonnes with grades of 174 g/t Ag and 0.2 g/t Au for a total of 82.2M Oz Ag and 43K Oz Au contained. At La Colorada Skarn, Zacatecas, it reported indicated resources of 95.9M tonnes with a grade of 31 g/t Ag for a total of 94.4M Oz Ag contained and inferred resources of 147.8M tonnes with a grade of 28 g/t Ag for a total of 132.9M Oz Ag contained. At Dolores, Chihuahua, Pan American reported measured resources of 5.5M with grades of 23 g/t Ag and 0.33 g/t Au for a total of 4M Oz Ag and 57.7K Oz Au contained; indicated resources of 0.7M tonnes with grades of 70 g/t Ag and 1.35 g/t Au for a total of 1.5M Oz Ag and 28.7K Oz Au contained; and inferred resources of 1.3M tonnes with grades of 40 g/t Ag and 1.18 g/t Au for a total of 1.7M Oz Ag and 50.3K Oz Au contained. At La Bolsa, Sonora, the company reported measured resources of 10.8M tonnes with grades of 10 g/t Ag and 0.7 g/t Au for a total of 3.5M Oz Ag and 242.8K Oz Au contained; indicated resources of 10.6M tonnes with grades of 8 g/t Ag and 0.54 g/t Au for a total of 2.7M Oz Ag and 184.3K Oz Au contained; and inferred resources of 13.7M tonnes with grades of 8 g/t Ag and 0.51 g/t Au for a total of 3.3M Oz Ag and 224.6K Oz Au contained. The company also reported mineral reserves as at June 30, 2023. At La Colorada, Zacatecas, it reported proven reserves of 5M tonnes with grades of 296 g/t Ag and 0.21 g/t Au for a total of 47.2M Oz Ag and 33.8K Oz Au contained; and probable reserves of 4.2M tonnes with grades of 292 g/t Ag and 0.19 g/t Au for a total of 39.1M Oz Ag and 25.3K Oz Au contained. At Dolores, Chihuahua, Pan American reported proven reserves of 6.3M tonnes with grades of 17 g/t Ag and 0.53 g/t Au for a total of 3.4M Oz Ag and 108.6K Oz Au contained, and probable reserves of 1.3M tonnes with grades of 24 g/t Ag and 0.53 g/t Au for a total of 1M Oz Ag and 22.1K Oz Au contained.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- McEwen Mining Inc., announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors (El Gallo mine complex, Sinaloa).
- Sierra Metals Inc., announced the appointment of a new member to its Board of Directors as an independent non-executive Director (Bolivar Mine, Chihuahua).
- Discovery Silver Corp., announced key appointments that strengthen the company’s Board of Directors, and also the permitting and technical teams. These include: an Independent Director, 2 Advisors to the Board, a Director, Corporate Affairs, Mexico, a Vice President Mineral Processing, and a Corporate Secretary & Manager Administrative Services (Cordero project, Chihuahua).
- Aloro Mining Corp., announced that it has cancelled the option agreement with Cuesta del Cobre S de R.L. de C.V., to purchase the Quitovac Mine project in Sonora. After conducting further due diligence and considering the newly proposed changes to the Mining Law by the current Government of Mexico and the difficulties in obtaining a surface use agreement from the Quitovac Comunidad, Aloro feels that it is not in the Company’s best interest to proceed.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Orla Mining Ltd., released its inaugural sustainability report. Highlights include that 25% Orla´s corporate goals were environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-linked, all of which were achieved; 100% of Orla executives and managerial-level employees were evaluated against ESG performance; achieved a respectable health and safety record, with a lost time injury frequency rate of 1.49 across their sites; generated USD $5.8M in community economic contributions at Camino Rojo, Zacatecas, including salaries, local procurement, land leases and investments in local infrastructure; achieved an emissions level of 0.19 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per ounce of gold equivalent produced at Camino Rojo, establishing the operation as a global leader on this metric; achieved 0.15 m3/t of processed ore water intensity, with zero water discharge (100% of water reused and recycled), at Camino Rojo; developed the “Towards 2030 Sustainability Strategy” and set ESG targets to build a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive business, anchored around the goal of accelerating value creation and net-positive benefits for stakeholders.
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, silica + alunite in a hydrothermal breccia from an epithermal system in a project in Chihuahua, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia.