By Jorge Cirett
During the 5th week of the year (January 30th to February 5th, 2023), 15 companies working in Mexico released news on their properties. One company informed on metallurgical results from its project, one company posted consolidated 2022 production and three companies provided updates on 2022 work on their properties and plans for 2023. One company began trading on the OTCQB in USA and two companies are to undertake private placements. Three companies informed on drilling results and work on their advanced properties, one other on the signing of an option agreement on the acquisition of a property and one more provided its bi-weekly status report. ON MEXICO ISSUES, mining companies are among the best compliers on environmental, social and governance strategies. ON EXPLORATION, in Chihuahua, Radius Gold informed on metallurgical results by associate Fresnillo PLC on its Plata Verde property. ON MINING, Altaley Mining provided an update on its 2023 plans for its Tahuehueto (Durango) and Campo Morado (Guerrero) properties. Minera Alamos informed on the late 2022 commercial production and some operational hurdles at its Santana project in Sonora. SilverCrest Metals released Q4 2022 production results and informed on relevant mining issues at Las Chispas, in Sonora. Capstone Copper presented 2023 production guidance for its Cozamin mine in Zacatecas. ON FINANCING, Excellon Resources commenced trading on the OTCQB in USA. GRSilver Mining and Reyna Silver are undertaking private placements for $3 M and C$4 M respectively. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Orla Mining provided an update on 2022 exploration activities and plans for 2023 at its Camino Rojo project in Zacatecas, releasing impressive drill results from the sulfide zone. Alamos Gold released drilling results from Puerto del Aire deposit in the Mulatos project in Sonora, with the second highest gold intercept in Mexico on the last nine months. Oroco Resource announced drilling results from the South zone of the Santo Tomás project in Sinaloa. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Aloro Mining signed an option agreement with Cuesta del Cobre to acquire the Quitovac project in Sonora. Gatos Silver complied with the by-weekly status report. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, no relevant news.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- According to Miranda Partners, mining companies are among the best positioned on environmental, social and governance strategies
- Radius Gold Inc. informed on metallurgical results from its Plata Verde project in Chihuahua. Fresnillo PLC has an exclusivity agreement on the project since mid-2022 to negotiate an option agreement to earn a 70% interest in the project. Approximately 100 kg of bulk samples were collected from Mina Mojonera and Mina Real underground workings for metallurgical testing by cyanide leaching and flotation. The samples were classified as “soft” for ball mining, cyanide leach tests reported average 93% Ag recovery, “Flotation studies generate Pb/Cu concentrates with a high grade of silver and good values of lead and copper with recovery of around 85% for silver, 52% for lead and 64% for copper”, the combination of flotation + tailings cyanidation averaged 97% Ag recovery. “Galena is the main sulfide, which registered around 0.11% by weight, chalcocite 0.12%, and sphalerite, pyrite, chalcopyrite and arsenopyrite, which totaled around 0.06%, were detected to a lesser extent. As silver species, stromeyerite, argentite and a low proportion of AgHg were detected. Non-sulfur gangue represented 99.6% by weight mainly as baryte, calcite, albite, and quartz”.
- Altaley Mining Corp. provided an update on its operations plans for 2023. At Tahuehueto, in Durango, a new consulting construction manager was appointed and recruiting of a new site general manager is in process. The construction of the initial 500 tpd operation is to be completed on 2Q23 and expansion to 1,000 tpd nameplate capacity operation on 4Q23. “Currently the mine is in pre-production, averaging 300 tpd”. At 1,000 tpd capacity the mine is projected to produce 42.8 K Oz AuEq per year, generating a yearly EBITDA of US$28.1 M. For the Campo Morado mine in Guerrero, plans have “strategically shifted focus” towards mining of higher-grade copper orebodies. Campo Morado EBITDA for 2023 is projected to be US$15.9 M. The company expects to progress on implementing recommendations made by Ausenco to improve plant performance at Campo Morado. The metals production for 2023 from Campo Morado is expected to be 15,433 tonnes Zn, 2,967 tonnes Cu, 2,142 tonnes Pb, 184 Kg Au (5,916 Oz Au), 25.8 tonnes Ag (829.8 K Oz Ag) while guidance at Tahuehueto is 1,903 tonnes Zn, 545 tonnes Cu, 1454 tonnes Pb, 289 kg Au (9,291 Oz Au), 6,258 kg Ag (201.2 K Oz Ag).
- Minera Alamos Inc. informed on the completion in the second half of 2022 of the initial thresholds for commercial production at the Santana project in Sonora, including gold recovery rates from the heap leach pad and monthly mining rates. Final approvals for resubmitted applications are pending for the next phase of pad expansion and full access to the Nicho deposit. Due to water scarcity the company is giving priority at this time to pre-stripping activities, and competing work and plans to proceed with the expansion when the permits are received. The mine was built for US$10 M, most of which has been paid back by the operational performance, which has demonstrated the ability to operate at 10,000 tpd of ore and waste moving. Overall gold recoveries are above 70% for material under 45-60 days leach with residual leach ongoing.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc. reported Q4 2022 operational results and an update on activities at its Las Chispas mine in Sonora, where commercial production was announced on November 1, 2022. During the quarter 104.3 K tonnes @ 3.67 gpt Au, 382 gpt Ag were processed, recovering 96.9% Au, 93.3% Ag to produce 11,940 Oz Au, 1.20 M Oz Ag (2.23 M Oz AgEq). Underground mining averaged 700 tonnes per day, with resue mining planned for some stopes currently being replaced either by cut and fill or long hole mining. Ore stockpiles stood at 261.6 K tonnes at the end of the period. The company expects to release an updated technical report on Q2 2023. At the end of the quarter cash and cash equivalents represented $50.8 M and total debt $50 M.
- Capstone Copper Corp. announced consolidated copper production for 2022, without disclosing production by property. The 2023 guidance aims for production at the Cozamin mine in Zacatecas to be in the 23 to 25 K tonnes Cu, with a cash cost of $1.50 – $1.65 per Lb Cu, the lowest for all its operations in Arizona, Mexico and Chile.
- Excellon Resources Inc. commenced trading on the OTCQB Venture Market in USA, while continuing to trade also at the Toronto Stock Exchange (La Negra, Hidalgo).
- GRSilver Mining Ltd. proposes to undertake a non-brokered private placement to raise total gross proceeds of up to $3 M (Plomosas, Sinaloa).
- Reyna Silver Corp. entered into an agreement with Eight Capital as lead underwriter and on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters in connection with a bought deal private placement financing for aggregate gross proceeds of C$4 M (Guigui and Batopilas, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Orla Mining Ltd. provided an update on 2022 exploration activities at Camino Rojo in Zacatecas, and an overview on 2023 exploration plans. Drilling the Camino Rojo Sulfides returned good gold intercepts, of which the highlighted ones comprise 64.0 m @ 4.66 gpt Au; 79.0 m @ 2.76 gpt Au; 70.0 m @ 2.81 gpt Au; 87.0 m @ 1.92 gpt Au; 73.5 m @ 1.74 gpt Au; 40.5 m @ 3.83 gpt Au; 16.0 m @ 6.94 gpt Au; 37.0 m @ 3.78 gpt Au; 49.5 m @ 2.71 gpt Au. Drilling below the current mineral resource has identified feeder-like structures, with intersects of up to 22.9 m @ 4.02 gpt Au, 1.5% Zn. Drilling of regional targets has returned up to 7.10 m @ 0.54 gpt Au and 2.35 m @ 1.35 gpt Au at the Guanamero target area. “Further drilling is planned in 2023 to test for zones of oxidized mineralization that could potentially allow for local expansion of the oxide pit”. For the Camino Rojo sulfides zone, a 34,000 m of infill drilling in 57 holes is planned, with 20% to test the deep potential, and 6,500 m more on extensions to the Oxide zone to expand resources. On regional exploration, 15,000 to 20,000 of RC drilling and 2,000 to 5,000 m of core drilling are planned to test multiple targets.
- Alamos Gold Inc. reported results from surface exploration drilling at Puerto del Aire (PDA), an underground deposit within the Mulatos project in Sonora. Highlighted true width intervals comprise 25.95 m @ 33.40 gpt Au (an impressive 866.7 gpt*m); 3.25 m @ 67.58 gpt Au; 6.20 m @ 18.33 gpt Au; 1.50 m @ 75.50 gpt Au; 2.35 m @ 36.50 gpt Au; 1.40 m @ 60.20 gpt Au; 6.75 m @ 11.16 gpt Au; 9.00 m @ 6.73 gpt Au. The results extend high-grade Au mineralization outside the resource zone that holds 556 K Oz Au in reserves and resources grading close to 5 gpt Au. Since the last mineral resource estimate was released on the PDA deposit in 2021, 92 drill holes totalling 27,117 m have been completed. The $17 M exploration budget at Mulatos includes $4 M for drilling focused on expanding resources at PDA.
- Oroco Resource Corp. announced drilling results from the South zone at its Santo Tomás project in Sinaloa. The 2 km long zone is subdivided in three segments: northern, middle and southern, with the current drilling reported from the middle and southern segments. Highlighted core length results, that are reported to be within 10% of true width, comprise 127.0 m @ 0.37% Cu, 0.049 gpt Au; 146.6 m @ 0.37% Cu, 0.073 gpt Au; 82.0 m @ 0.37% Cu, 0.032 gpt Au; 146.0 m @ 0.24% Cu, 0.014 gpt Au; 66.0 m @ 0.26% Cu, 0.009 gpt Au, 180 ppm Mo; 47.0 m @ 0.35% Cu, 0.018 gpt Au, 80 ppm Mo; 179.2 m @ 0.36% Cu, 0.022 gpt Au, 200 ppm Mo; 349.1 m @ 0.36% Cu, 0.027 gpt Au, 60 ppm Mo; 187.9 m @ 0.51% Cu, 0.038 gpt Au, 120 ppm Mo; 234.3 m @ 0.34% Cu, 0.017 gpt Au, 120 ppm Mo. Drilling on the southern zone segment has intersected western dipping dikes and mineralization, overprinted by hydrothermal breccia bodies and a wide array of stockwork vein and fracture mineralization.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Aloro Mining Corp. signed an option agreement with Cuesta del Cobre S. de R.L. de C.V. to acquire the Quitovac project in Sonora. The terms include cash and shares amounts of $35 K, 200 K shares within 30 days of approval; $45 K and 200 K shares on year one; $55 K and 200 K shares on year two; $65 K and 200 K shares on year three; $75 K and 300 K shares on year four; $100 K and 400 K shares on year five; $200 K and 500 K shares on year six. The project covers 2,644 hectares with 14 claims, with the orogenic gold mineralization having been tested with 12,450 m of drilling in 100 holes by four companies between 1987 and 2012.
- Gatos Silver Inc. provided the bi-weekly status report in accordance with National Policy 12-203-Management Cease Trade Orders. Ernst & Young LLP was appointed on November 14, 2022 as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm. “The Company expects all delayed filings, including the audit of the financial statements required to be included in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and the reviews of its quarterly reports on Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2022, June 30, 2022 and September 30, 2022, to be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2023” (Cerro Los Gatos, Chihuahua).
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- No Relevant News.
On the image below: Quartz specularite vein on a copper project in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Abraham López.