By Jorge Cirett
During the 31st week of the year (July 31st to August 6th, 2023), 25 companies working in Mexico posted news releases. Five companies informed on exploration work at its properties and seven more reported second quarter 2023 results. Two companies informed on private placements, while one declared a dividend payment. Five companies informed on technical reports, updated mineral resources, drilling results, mining plans and mine preparations on their projects. One company sold the royalties in some properties and one other is reviewing exploration opportunities in South America. ON MEXICO ISSUES, one company made clear commitment to get projects beyond Mexico, the country new mining policies showing its might. The Union – Grupo Mexico conflict in Sombrerete is to be solved in Mexico, not under the T-MEC, according to the federal government. Income tax returns from the mining industry fell by 35% on the first semester 2023. ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Prismo Metals mobilized a drill rig to Los Pavitos; Silver Spruce Resources resumed work at Diamante. In Chihuahua, Kootenay Silver updated on work at Columba. In Sinaloa, Prismo Metals updated on the drilling at Palos Verdes. ON MINING, Fresnillo PLC, Starcore International Mines, Capstone Copper, Equinox Gold, First Majestic Silver, Torex Gold and Orla Mining released production results for Q2 2023. ON FINANCING, Goldgroup Mining issued shares on a convertible loan. First Majestic Silver declared the payment of a dividend per share. Colibri closed the first tranche of a private placement. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, SilverCrest Metals released a new technical report with updated mineral resources and a new mine plan for Las Chispas in Sonora. Impact Silver updated on work to refurbish the Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. GoGold Resources released drilling results from Los Ricos South in Jalisco. Discovery Silver released drilling results from the FS program at Cordero, in Chihuahua. Heliostar Metals reported on the re-scoping study at Ana Paula, in Guerrero. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Endeavour Silver entered into an agreement to sell its royalty on the Cozamin property. Xali Gold is to review exploration opportunities in South America. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, no relevant news. ON MEXICO ISSUES
- Editor comments. One more company working exclusively in Mexico announced plans to look for projects in other countries. No one can say the policies imposed by the current administration are not producing the results sought, even if its full weight is to be felt in the years to come.
- The federal government directed that the labor conflict between Grupo Mexico and a Union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana) in the Sombrerete mine in Zacatecas, has to be solved in Mexican courts, out of the T-MEC rapid response labor mechanism.
- Income tax returns fell 34.6% year on year on the first semester of 2023, the biggest drop in 20 years. On VAT (IVA) and special tax on products and services (IEPS), the mining sector had refunds for $134 M ($2,275 M pesos) and $6.5 M ($110 M pesos) respectively.
- Kootenay Silver Inc. informed two of three surface access agreements needed have been now signed, and the third one is in the final negotiation stage at its Columba project in Chihuahua.
- Prismo Metals Inc. announced the mobilization of a drill rig for the planned 2,500 m program to its Los Pavitos project in Sonora. Assays for the last four trenches dug at the project were published. Highlighted intervals comprise 1.0 m @ 3.98 gpt Au, 5 gpt Ag; 2.80 m @ 1.18 gpt Au, 16 gpt Ag.
- Prismo Metals Inc. updated on the drilling program at its Palos Verdes project in Sinaloa. Ten holes for a total of 2,035 m have been completed on the 2,500 m program, with the eleventh hole in progress and three holes remaining. On a second press release the company announced the expansion of the program by a joint committee by Prismo and Vizsla, to 3,600 m “in ten holes to be completed in two phases”.
- Silver Dollar Resources Inc. submitted a drilling permit application for the next phase of drilling at the Nora project in Durango. “The geological setting is a Tertiary-aged volcanic flow-dome complex. Gold-silver mineralization is hosted within two structurally controlled epithermal veins, Candy and Nora…. Only 500 m of the potential 3-km strike of the Candy vein structure has been drill tested, and only to a depth of 250 m below surface”.
- Colibri Resource Corp. and partner Silver Spruce Resources Inc. announced the resumption of field works at the Diamante project in Sonora. Stream sediment sampling, geological mapping and rock chip sampling are some of the planned activities.
- Fresnillo PLC. provided its Q2-2023 production results. The Company produced over 14 M Oz Ag, 152,217 Oz Au, 13,994 tonnes Pb and 25,670 tonnes Zn from its operation in Fresnillo, Saucito and Juanicipio in Zacatecas, Cienega in Durango, Herradura and Nochebuena in Sonora, and San Julian in Chihuahua.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. presented results for its fiscal year and quarter ending on April 30, 2023. During the quarter the company processed 56.8 K tonnes @ 1.45 gpt Au, 11.2 gpt Ag, recovering 86.1% Au, 48.3% Ag, to produce 2,300 Oz Au, 10 K Oz Ag at its San Martin mine in Queretaro. For the year, the company produced 10,000 Oz Au, 85.4 K Oz Ag. Mine operating cash cost was $1,611 and $1,535 per AuEq Oz respectively for the quarter and full year.
- Capstone Copper Corp. reported financial results for the second quarter of 2023, including figures from its Mexican operations. At Cozamin, in Zacatecas, 6.6 K tonnes Cu were produced at cash cost $1.63 per Lb Cu.
- Equinox Gold Corp. announced its second quarter 2023 financial and operating results, without disclosing figures per project.
- First Majestic Silver Corp. announced unaudited consolidated financial results for the second quarter 2023. During the period the company produced 2.63 M Oz Ag, 40,658 Oz Au, or 5.97 M Oz AgEq.
- Torex Gold Resources Inc. reported Q2 2023 and operational results. During the period, the company mined 11.77 M tonnes from the open pit (13,293 tpd), 174 K tonnes from underground (1,913 tpd) at the Limon Guajes mine in Guerrero, of which 1.21 M tonnes were processed to produce 107,507 Oz Au at cash cost $848 per Oz Au and an all-in sustaining cost of $1,308 per Oz Au. Torex maintains its 2023 guidance to produce 440 K to 470 K Oz Au. The quarter closed with net cash of $273.8 M.
- Orla Mining Ltd. announced the results for the second quarter of 2023. At the Camino Rojo Oxide mine in Zacatecas, 29,058 Oz Au were produced at an AISC of $696 per Oz Au. The pit development is being hindered by SEMARNAT lateness to authorize permits. Cash balance at the end of the period was $114.5 M.
- Goldgroup Mining Inc. announced the issuance of 29.05 M shares upon conversion of the company’s outstanding convertible loan with a face value of $2.16 M (Cerro Prieto, Sonora).
- First Majestic Silver Corp. declared a cash dividend of $0.0051 per common share for the second quarter of 2023 (San Dimas, Durango).
- Colibri Resource Corp. closed the first tranche of the previously announced non-brokered private placement of “Units”, for gross proceeds of US$487 K. “Each Unit is comprised of: (i) US$1,000 principal amount of 10% secured convertible debentures (the “Debentures”) issued by the Company with a maturity date (“Maturity Date”) of 2 years from the date of issuance; and (ii) 5,416 common share purchase warrants of the Company” (Diamante, Sonora).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- SilverCrest Metals Inc. announced results from an updated independent technical report for the Las Chispas operation in Sonora. The report describes a 1,200 tpd operation of ore averaging 4.02 gpt Au, 396.1 gpt Ag, recovering 98.0% Au, 97.0% Ag, to produce 57 K Oz Au, 5.5 M Oz Ag per year in an operation with a mine life (LOM) of 8 years, to generate a post-tax net present value of $549 M. Cash cost is estimated at $7.84 per Oz AgEq and an AISC of $11.98 per Oz AgEq. “The Mineral Resource Estimate model was updated to reflect: narrower veins located over a larger area, thus requiring increased underground development, increased constraints on geologic, statistical, and geostatistical modelling parameters resulting in reductions in resources mainly in Babicanora Main and Babicanora Norte Main veins and increased resources in the Babi Vista Vein, including the Babi Vista Splay. Additionally, there is an increase in the number of Mineral Resource veins and the veins are more widely dispersed. The Updated Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate is reduced from the 2021 FS due to conversion to M&I Mineral Resources and application of the same stricter constraints as applied to M&I Mineral Resources”.
- Impact Silver Corp. provided an update on the recently acquired Plomosas mine in Chihuahua. The mill refurbishment is in the final stages, with testing and modification of the plant to start in late summer to ramp up production to the 200 tpd design capacity. The company has applied for an expansion of the current tailings pond while planning and permitting of the next one takes place. Refurbishment of ventilation, electrical and lighting systems are ongoing, and mine planning is being completed for 2023-2024. The current workforce is comprised by 70 company workers and 25 contract workers.
- GoGold Resources Inc. announced drilling results from Los Ricos South project in Jalisco. The highlighted core length intercepts comprise 30.2 m @ 1.68 gpt Au, 278 gpt Ag (including 9.70 m @ 4.54 gpt Au, 769 gpt Ag); 34.8 m @ 1.37 gpt Au, 132 gpt Ag (including 7.0 m @ 4.68 gpt Au, 440 gpt Ag); 32.70 m @ 1.19 gpt Au, 124 gpt Ag; 11.7 m @ 0.93 gpt Au, 387 gpt Ag (including 1.40 m @ 5.36 gpt Au, 2,780 gpt Ag); 23.10 m @ 0.80 gpt Au, 143 gpt Ag; 28.10 m @ 0.71 gpt Au, 129 gpt Ag. “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…… It is expected that these holes will be included in an updated Resource to be released by the end of the summer”.
- Discovery Silver Corp. released results from feasibility study (FS) drilling at its Cordero project in Chihuahua. Highlighted core length intervals of the reserve and expansion drilling comprise 62.10 m @ 0.25 gpt Au, 48 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.6% Zn; 45.0 m @ 0.24 gpt Au, 66 gpt Ag, 0.5% Pb, 0.7% Zn; 51.7 m @ 0.19 gpt Au, 51 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.9% Zn; 15.10 m @ 0.08 gpt Au, 278 gpt Ag, 3.1% Pb, 2.9% Zn; 12.4 m @ 0.19 gpt Au, 168 gpt Ag, 1.4% Pb, 3.1% Zn; 37.4 m @ 0.09 gpt Au, 79 gpt Ag, 1.1% Pb, 1.5% Zn; 38.5 m @ 0.17 gpt Au, 104 gpt Ag, 0.5% Pb, 0.3% Zn; 82.1 m @ 0.03 gpt Au, 33 gpt Ag, 0.6% Pb, 0.9% Zn. Discovery has now drilled 52,000 m in 164 holes as part of the FS drill program. Incoming “property-wide drilling will initially target large chargeability anomalies in the Sanson area (approximately 3.5 km to the northeast of Cordero) and skarn targets at depth in the northeast of the deposit. Currently, 9,000m of drilling is planned in 2023”.
- Heliostar Metals Ltd. reported progress on re-scoping of the current pre-feasibility study (PFS) at the Ana Paula project in Guerrero. “The Company is evaluating three underground mining scenarios, with different cut-off grades and mining rates, that are being advanced for more detailed evaluation and comparison…… The Company will refine the options upon receipt of an updated resource model and metallurgical program results, both of which rely on drilling completed in 2023. Metallurgical results will be reported in October and an updated resource model is expected in November 2023”.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Endeavour Silver Corp. entered into an agreement with Gold Royalty Corp. to sell all of its interest in a 1% Cozamin Royalty for a total consideration of US$7.5 M, payable in cash. “The Royalty applies to two concessions (Calicanto and Vicochea) on Capstone’s Cozamin copper-silver mine, located 3.6 kilometres north-northwest of Zacatecas City in state of Zacatecas, Mexico”.
- Xali Gold Corp. has decided to review exploration opportunities in South America, including Peru. The company updated on its Mexican projects: Exploration at El Oro in Estado de Mexico has been put on hold, whilst Sun River Gold (who has an option in the El Oro mine tailings) has been advancing permitting and providing some cash flow through advances on the Net Profit Interest due once in production. “Negotiations are also underway with Mexican groups regarding both upgrades and financing commitments to make the San Dieguito de Arriba (“SDA”) Plant in Western Mexico fully operational. Xali Gold terminated the previously announced agreement (see January 18, 2023 News Release) with Minera Cinco Reales S.A. de C.V. (“MCR”) earlier this month due to MCR’s lack of progress”.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Aura Minerals Inc. released its 2022 sustainability report, with a 62% reduction in frequency rates of accidents, 92% of water recycling and establishing a decarbonization plan with the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 5% from 2020 levels by 2023.
On the image below: Silicified vein ridges on a project in the Sonoran Desert. Picture by Jorge Cirett.