By Jorge Cirett
During the 52nd week of the year (December 21st to December 27th, 2020), at least 28 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. To note, six companies posted exploration advances on their properties, six more made announcements related to their shares, three more released resource related news and five more on deals/corporate matters. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Covid pandemic has not dented mining company’s performance on the BMV. The illegal blockade on Los Filos mine, Guerrero, has been lifted (without great help from the authorities). ON EXPLORATION, in Sonora, Tocvan Ventures informed the RC drilling program has been completed at its Pilar project. In Chihuahua, Radius Gold informed on the status of its Amalia and Plata Verde projects; Mammoth Resources informed it has signed a surface agreement with two ejidos at Tenoriba. In Sinaloa, Mithril Resources released drilling results from Los Reyes, Copalquin. In Nayarit and Jalisco, Candente Gold is studying and permitting the Cocula and El Dorado projects, as well as a processing plant. ON MINING, Golden Minerals has commenced mining at Rodeo, in Durango. Equinox Gold informed the illegal blockade on the Los Filos projects has been lifted. ON FINANCING, Orla mining is now listed on the NYSE. Consolidated Zinc consolidated its shares on a 15 to 1 basis. Azucar Minerals granted stock options to directors, employees and consultants for $465 K. Reyna Silver issued $299 K in shares to five directors and officers. VanGold Mining and Canuc Resources announced financing rounds for C$7.5 M and $300 K respectively. ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Sonora Gold is assessing to increase the capacity of the planned heap leach operation at Cerro Caliche, in Sonora, to 20,000 tdp. Sierra Metals filed a NI-43-101 report updating the resource base on its Cusi mine, in Chihuahua. Minera Alamos filed on SEDAR the technical report and mineral resource estimate for the Cerro de Oro project, Zacatecas. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, VanGold Mining signed the acquisition of El Cubo mine and El Cubo mine complex in Guanajuato with Endeavour Silver. Almaden Minerals received notification from SEMARNAT that its permit application to develop the Ixtaca project in Puebla has been rejected. Maverix Metals informed on the acquisition of royalties from the Camino Rojo project in Zacatecas and the Cristina project in Chihuahua, as well as the sale of a royalty on the Yecora project in Sonora. Odyssey Marine Exploration informed it has gained more financial support for its litigation against the Mexican government for its refusal to concede a mining permit on its “Exploraciones Oceánicas” offshore phosphate project in Baja California Sur. Elemental Royalties informed it holds a 1% NSR on the Mercedes mine, Sonora, which is owned by Equinox Gold. ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Peñoles has been supporting soccer tournaments since 2011.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The Covid pandemic has not dented mining company’s performance on the BMV (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores). At the beginning of the year the four biggest companies in the BMV (Grupo Mexico, Peñoles, Frisco and Autlán) were worth $524,500 million pesos, and now these are valued in $796,500 million pesos (US$39.5 billion), a 51.8% increase. These gains contrast with the expected decline of 25% in exploration, partly die to the pandemic, partly also due to the lack of certitude on government policies, delays or denials of permitting (see note on Almaden) and a greater tax burden.
- Radius Gold Inc. informed on the exploration status of its projects in Mexico. At Amalia, in Chihuahua, Radius’s joint venture partner, Pan American Silver Corp. is funding and operating the phase 4 drill campaign, of which 1,838 m in 4 holes have been completed. At Plata Verde, also in Chihuahua, orientation induced polarization and ground magnetic surveys are being conducted. The target mineralized breccias occur under less than 100 m of volcanic cover rocks, and the geophysical surveys are planned to aid drill targeting.
- Mammoth Resources Corp. announced the second of two ejidos (community held surface land) voted in favor of a two-year surface agreement for exploration at its Tenoriba project in Chihuahua. During “the term of the agreements the Company will be making contributions towards a number of community benefit programs and looks forward to reporting on these contributions. Mammoth will also be providing assistance to a number of the most vulnerable inhabitants of both ejidos”.
- Mithril Resources Ltd. released good drilling results from Los Reyes target at Los Reyes project in Durango (not to mistake for Prime Mining’s Los Reyes project in Sinaloa). Highlighted core length intercepts comprise 2.22 m @ 32.35 gpt Au, 185 gpt Ag; 0.70 m @ 9.3 gpt Au, 125 gpt Ag; 1.20 m @ 2.05 gpt Au, 85 gpt Ag in one hole and 3.0 m @ 2.86 gpt Au, 84 gpt Ag (including 0.6 m @ 9.79 gpt Au, 165 gpt Ag) in other. Drilling is to recommence in early January 2021 at El Refugio target, whereas soil sampling is programmed for El Refugio West, La Soledad West, El Indio and Zaragoza prospects in January-February 2021.
- Prismo Metals Inc. completed its 2020 drilling campaign at Palos Verdes, Sinaloa. A total of 436.8 m were drilled in four holes, and a fifth hole is to be completed in January 2021. The holes intercepted wide zones of discrete quartz veins in andesite with quartz and stockwork quartz veining, local pyrite and sphalerite. Results pending.
- Tocvan Ventures Corp. informed on the completion of its campaign of reverse circulation drilling at its Pilar project, Sonora. A total of 1,505 m were drilled in nine holes, with results expected in early 2021.
- Candente Gold Corp. announced that technical experts have been engaged for permitting and deposit modelling for the El Dorado (Nayarit) and Cocula (Jalisco) projects and for permitting of the San Dieguito de Arriba (Nayarit) plant.
- Golden Minerals Corp. announced it has begun mining at its Rodeo property, Durango. Material over 3.0 gpt Au is to be transported in January to Golden’s Velardeña 200 tpd mill. A second ball mill is to be installed to increase the processing capacity to 450 tpd.
- Equinox Gold Corp. reported that “the blockade by members of the Carrizalillo community at the Company’s Los Filos Mine in Mexico has been removed and access to the mine has been restored. Representatives from Los Filos continue to meet regularly with community leaders to reach consensus on the remaining items related to benefits provided under the Carrizalillo social collaboration agreement”.
- Orla Mining Ltd. is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Orla’s addition to the exchange is classified as a “dual listing without capital raise”. (Camino Rojo, Zacatecas).
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. informed the 1 to 15 consolidation of the company securities is now complete (Plomosas, Chihuahua).
- Azucar Minerals Ltd. has granted stock options to certain directors, employees, and consultants of the company to purchase 465 K common shares in the capital of Azucar (El Cobre, Veracruz).
- VanGold Mining Corp. announced a part and parcel non-brokered private placement financing for gross proceeds of C$7.5 M (El Cubo, Guanajuato).
- Canuc Resources Corp. announced the closing of a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $300 K (San Javier Silver-Gold, Sonora).
- Reyna Silver Corp. issued $299 K of its common shares toward partial annual compensation to five directors and officers of the Company (Guigui, Chihuahua).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Sonora Gold Corp. informed on the expansion of several mineralized zones at its Cerro Caliche property in Sonora. Based on these results Sonoro is assessing the viability of a heap leach mining operation with an increased capacity form 8,000 to 20,000 tonnes per day. Highlighted core length intervals comprise 11.7 m @ 0.92 gpt Au; 11.25 m @ 1.08 gpt Au; 8.45 m @ 1.4 gpt Au; 5.7 m @ 1.25 gpt Au in the El Colorado zone, and 13.72 m @ 0.47 gpt Au; 15.24 m @ 0.40 gpt Au; 21.33 m @ 0.47 gpt Au; 25.91 m @ 0.42 gpt Au at Los Japoneses.
- Sierra Metals Inc. filed a NI 43-101 report updating the resource base on its Cusi mine, in Chihuahua. Measured and indicated resources now consist of 5.36 M tonnes @ 182 gpt Ag, 0.12 gpt Au, 0.49% Pb, 0.58% Zn (215 gpt AgEq), and inferred resources of 4.89 M tonnes @ 146 gpt Ag, 0.18 gpt Au, 0.43% Pb, 0.69% Zn (183 gpt AgEq). (Note.- this should amount to close to 55 M Oz Ag, not counting other metals credits).
- Minera Alamos Inc. filed on SEDAR the technical report and mineral resource estimate for the Cerro de Oro project, Zacatecas. The inferred mineral resource on oxide ore is 48 M tonnes @ 0.41 gpt Au, containing 630 K Oz Au.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- VanGold Mining Inc. signed a binding letter agreement with Endeavour Silver Corp. to acquire the El Cubo mill and mill complex, in Guanajuato, 8 km from its El Pinguico property. El Cubo complex includes two underground operating mines (in care and maintenance) and a 1,500 tpd flotation plant. VanGold intends to restart the mill at approximately 750 tpd “using mineralized material from its surface and underground stockpiles at its El Pinguico project as a significant portion of its estimated throughput for the first 36 months of operation”. El Cubo has measured, indicated and inferred resources of 2.4 M Oz Ag and 28.2 K Oz Au.
- Almaden Minerals Ltd. Has received notification from the Mexican federal permitting authority, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) that the company’s initial environmental permit application (MIA) in respect of the Ixtaca project has not received approval. Almaden originally submitted the MIA in early 2019. The SEMARNAT resolution cites insufficient information regarding the impacts of open pit mining on the environment, local and regional area. “The Company is continuing its review of SEMARNAT’s response to the MIA and is evaluating its alternatives which include the re-submittal of a revised MIA, continuing dialogue, and legal options”.
- Maverix Metals Inc. informed on some royalties included in the Newmont Corporation royalty portfolio acquired in October 29, 2020. Orla Mining Ltd. elected not to exercise its ROFR (Right Of First Refusal) on the 2.0% net smelter return royalty of oxide and transitional ore production from the Camino Rojo project located in Zacatecas; Orla expects the first gold pour in the second half of 2021. Criscora, S.A. de C.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of TCP1 Corporation, will acquire the 1.0% NSR royalty on the Yecora project located in Sonora, for a cash payment of $1.5 M, which Maverix will receive. The ROFR on the Cristina project located in Chihuahua, was not exercised and Maverix will acquire the 2.0% NSR royalty.
- Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. has secured up to an additional $10 M to support its pending North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claim against Mexico. The NAFTA claim relates to the “unlawful denial of the environmental permit for subsidiary Exploraciones Oceanicas’ (ExO’s) offshore phosphate project” in Baja California Sur. The project, said to be one of the largest and highest quality phosphate sands deposits in the world, is subject to a $2.36 billion claim against Mexico under NAFTA.
- Elemental Royalties Corp. disclosed it owns a 1% Net Smelter Returns (“NSR”) royalty on Premier’s Mercedes Mine, a key asset in the Premier portfolio, which becomes payable to Elemental from July 28, 2022 following a time hurdle. Premier Gold Mines Ltd. was recently acquired by Equinox Gold Corp.
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Peñoles has been supporting soccer tournaments since 2011 with the installation of the “Copa Santos Peñoles”. The last edition of the tournament (2019) counted with the participation of 288 teams.
Content like what you have just read can be seen at https://gambusinoprospector.com/ and at LinkedIn’s Mexico Mineral Exploration Group.
On the image below: Quartz vein stockwork from a project in San Luis Potosí. Picture by Jorge Cirett.