By Jorge Cirett
During the 20th week of the year (May 13th to May 19th, 2019), at least 34 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico. ON MEXICO ISSUES, the Mexican government set the goal to reach $8 billion on mining investment annually. Fresnillo received an award for sustainable development. ON EXPLORATION, In Chihuahua, Silver Spruce granted the contract for its drilling program at Pino de Plata. ON MINING, Mag Silver, Sierra Metals, Americas Silver, Great Panther, Consolidated Zinc, Starcore International and Fortuna Silver presented its first quarter 2019 financial and or operational results. Mexus Gold is hiring technical personnel for its Santa Elena mine and Fresnillo is setting logistic controls to prevent concentrate theft. ON FINANCING, Alien Metals raised £300 K, Orla Mining announced an early warrant incentive program for $4.2 M, Vangold raised $248 K, and Sable Resources $863 K. Almaden secured a gold loan for US$2 M from Almadex, First Mining raised $7.41 M . ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Fresnillo and Mag Silver approved the development of the Juanicipio mine in Zacatecas. Premier Gold released good exploration results at its Mercedes mine in Sonora. GoGold released results from two more drill holes at Los Ricos, Jalisco. SilverCrest filed a PEA with good numbers from its Las Chispas property in Sonora. Goldplay announced a 5,000 m drilling campaign at its San Marcial project in Sinaloa. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Riverside signed a 2 year US$2 M exploration financing agreement with BHP for copper exploration in Sonora. Silver Spruce received $200 K for the sale of a property outside Mexico. Azure Minerals regains control from Teck of the Alacrán property in Sonora. Goldgroup Mining and Dyna Resources presented their stances respect litigation rulings relating to the San Jose de Gracia property in Sinaloa.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- The Bureau of Economy (Secretaría de Economía) set the goal for the non-oil mining sector, including processing, of attracting an investment of US$ 8 billion per year. This is a steep endeavor, taking into account that in 2018 Mexico saw mining investments for US$4.55 billion, a 1.8% decrease 2017 levels, and a far cry from the 2012 record of 8 billion dollars.
- Fresnillo PLC. received by eleventh occasion the award from Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía, which recognized the company’s compromise and adherence to national and international social responsibility practices. Fresnillo programs are focused on quality education, care and promotion of natural resources and personal development of inhabitants in neighboring communities.
- The Mexican Core Shack saw the addition of core images from the Metates and Sirio projects, in Durango and Chihuahua respectively.
- Silver Spruce Resources. announced the granting of the drilling contract for a twelve hole program on its Pino de Plata property in Chihuahua. The rig is to be mobilized within a week.
- Mag Silver Corp. released its first quarter 2019 financial results. The Juanicipio project (Zacatecas) approval was subsequent to the period end, but all principal permits have been obtained and the process plant construction is to begin immediately. Underground development continues, with over 19 km of total underground development now completed. The company estimates US$344.4 M of remaining pre-operative initial capital. As of the end of the quarter Mag Silver held US$128.6 M of cash and cash equivalents.
- Mexus Gold US. announced the payment of a $111.5 K note. Furthermore, the company is looking to hire two chemists and one geologist to assist at the Santa Elena mine in Sonora (not to be mistaken with First Majestic’s Santa Elena mine, also in Sonora).
- Sierra Metals Inc. presented its consolidated financial results for the first quarter of 2019. Sierra had revenue of $49.2 M and adjusted EBITDA of $12 M for the period, with record throughput at Cusi. At Bolivar, Chihuahua, cash cost was $2.04 per CuEq Lb and AISC $3.59 per CuEq Lb. At Cusi, also in Chihuahua, cash cost was $16.53 per AgEq Oz and AISC $30.57 per AgEq Oz. During the quarter the consolidated production (Mexico and Peru) was 7.7 M Lb Cu, 0.7 M Oz Ag, 16.4 M Lb Zn, 7.0 M Lb Pb. The company has a net debt of $45.0 M, holding 23.9 M in cash and cash equivalents.
- Americas Silver Corp. reported operational and financial results for the first quarter of 2019. The company released consolidated production figures (without disclosing the production in Mexico) of 1.8 M AgEq Oz, with a revenue of $17.8 M and net loss of $2.8 M for the quarter. The enterprise had a cash balance of $3.4 M and working capital balance of $5.2 M at the end of the period (Cosalá Complex, Sinaloa).
- Fresnillo PLC. is setting logistics controls to reduce the probability of concentrates theft. Some of the measures taken include keeping close relations with authorities at the Federal, State and local levels; remote technological controls; physical security improvements at its Merrill Crowe plants; replacement of most security contractors, with increased controls; keeping to invest in community programs and infrastructure to back community development and support the rule of law; Suspending access to areas deemed too insecure; promoting the disclosing of criminal acts to the authorities.
- Great Panther Mining Ltd. reported financial results for the first quarter 2019. The company completed the acquisition of Beadell Resources and its Tucano mine in Brazil in March, and most of the report refers to its impact on the company. “A project to increase Topia mining and processing capacity by 25% commenced in the first quarter of 2019 with design specifications and equipment purchases and is scheduled to be completed late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter”. At the end of the period the company had $41.4 M of cash and short-term deposits.
- Consolidated Zinc Ltd. disclosed production from its Plomosas mine in Chihuahua during the month of April, 2019. During the month 3,694 tonnes of ore were mined @ 11.66% Zn, 1.75 % Pb, for a total of 11,267 tonnes mined @ 10.7% Zn, 2.5% Pb during the first quarter 2019. Mine development was 173 meters for the month, 612 m for the quarter , with 4,737 tonnes sent to the Santa Eulalia concentrator plant, achieving a recovery of 88.9% Zn.
- Starcore International Mines Ltd. announced production results for the fourth quarter 2019, ended on April 30, 2019. During the period 72 K tonnes were milled @ 1.8 gpt Au, 30 gpt Ag, recovering 86.03% Au, 54.56% Ag, to produce 4,093 AuEq Oz. The company stressed the 25% voluntary reduction on salary for the three top executives, same that will save $250 K annually.
- Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. reported consolidated financial results for the first quarter 2019. During the period the company had sales of $59.0 M, net income of $2.2 M, adjusted net income of $8.4 M, adjusted EBITDA of $23.8 M and an AISC of $10.7 per AgEq Oz. At the San Jose mine in Oaxaca, 256.4 K tonnes were milled at a rate of 2,984 tonnes per day @ 267 gpt Ag, 1.71 gpt Au, recovering 91% Ag, 90% Au, to produce 2 M Oz Ag, 12,741 Oz Au at a cash cost of $6.4 per AgEq Oz and an AISC of $8.7 per AgEq Oz.
- Alien Metals Ltd. raised £300 K, before expenses, to further exploration at its Donovan 2 project in Zacatecas.
- Orla Mining Ltd. announced an early warrant exercise incentive program for 6.7 M warrants outstanding expiring in July 2021. Holders exercising the 2021 warrants will be entitled to receive one full new warrant. If all the 2021 warrants are exercised Orla would receive gross proceeds of $4.2 M before July 12, 2019 (Camino Rojo, Zacatecas).
- Vangold Mining Corp. closed the second tranche of the previously announced private placement for gross proceeds of $248 K. A finder’s fee of $14.4 K and 285 K warrants was paid (Pinguico, Zacatecas).
- Sable Resources Ltd. closed the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement to raise aggregate gross proceeds of $863 K (Margarita, Chihuahua).
- Almaden Minerals Ltd. entered into a secured gold loan agreement with Almadex Minerals Ltd. for up to 1,597 Oz Au, or approximately US$2 M. “The interest rate of the Gold Loan is 10% of the Loan Value per annum, paid in arrears. Interest payments can either be accrued to the Loan Value, or paid by the Borrower in cash or gold” (Ixtaca, Puebla).
- First Mining Gold Corp. upsized and closed the previously announced private placement, raising aggregate proceeds of $7.41 M (San Ricardo, Sonora; Lachatao, Oaxaca).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Fresnillo PLC and Mag Silver Corp. received approval from their respective boards for development of the Juanicipio mine in the Fresnillo district, Zacatecas. Fresnillo is to be the operator in the Fresnillo-Mag JV (56% and 44% respectively), with construction to begin immediately and completion expected for late 2020. The mine is anticipated to produce annually 11.7 M Oz Ag, 43.5 K Oz Au, with an initial mine life of 12 years. The estimated pre-operative Capex is $US395 M, estimating the creation of 2,750 jobs during construction and 1,720 jobs at full production.
- Premier Gold Mines Ltd. announced the expansion of the Lupita-Diluvio resource area and a 3 km corridor that step-out exploration has identified. New mineralized veins have been discovered at San Martin and Margarita, outlining a 3 km corridor, while Lupita vein extension drilling returned multiple intercepts including 3.9 m @ 5.99 gpt Au, 41 gpt Ag; 2.9 m @ 5.70 gpt Au, 56 gpt Ag. Ongoing delineation program at Lupita intersected high-grade intercepts including 1.2 m of 10.75 gpt Au, 89 gpt Ag. At Diluvio West one delineation hole returned 30.4 m @ 6.43 gpt Au, 12 gpt Ag including 4.4 m @ 13.79 gpt Au, 22 gpt Ag.
- GoGold Resources Inc. released results from two more diamond drill holes collared at its Los Ricos project in Jalisco. The program includes twining of old RC holes, returning higher grades than the previous holes, like 21.2 m @ 7.66 gpt Au, 1,270 gpt Ag (previously 20.0 m @ 3.20 gpt Au, 845 gpt Ag), including 6.9 m @ 21.97 gpt Au, 3,718 gpt Ag (previously 6.0 m @ 9.00 gpt Au, 2,608 gpt Ag); 18.8 m @ 0.37 gpt Au, 68 gpt Ag, including 4.5 m @ 0.96 gpt Au, 119 gpt Ag.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc. released and filed the results from a preliminary Economic assessment (PEA) on its Las Chispas project in Sonora. The study displays a 1,250 tonnes per day (tpd) production rate at 411 gpt AgEq with an initial mine life of 8.5 years to produce annually an average of 5.38 M Oz Ag, 55,700 Oz Au at AISC of $7.52 per AgEq Oz. The Capex is $100.5 M with a payback period of nine months with an after-tax IRR of 78%, after-tax NPV of $406.9 M and cumulative undiscounted net free cash flow of $522.5 M. The PEA estimates a diluted resource of 3.86 M tonnes @ 4.05 gpt Au, 411 gpt Ag, or 714 gpt AgEq, containing 502,200 Oz Au and 51 M Oz Ag, or 88.7 M Oz AgEq with estimated average mining dilution of 33%.
- Goldplay Exploration Ltd. announced a 5,000 m drilling campaign on its San Marcial property in Sinaloa. The focus of the campaign is on the Faisanes and Nava targets, and to check on newly discovered zones along the Faisanes-Nava corridor. The company is anticipating a Phase II drilling campaign late in 2019 with the secondary objective of test eight exploration targets along a 6 km trend outside of the San Marcial resource area.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Riverside Resources Inc. signed a two-year US$2 M exploration financing agreement with BHP Exploration Chile SpA. for the funding of generative exploration in the copper producing belt of Mexico. BHP is to fund US1 M on an annual basis for a minimum of two years for generative grass-roots exploration within northeastern Sonora. Properties deemed of interest will become Defined Projects (DPs) and will be funded up to $5 M of exploration work. Riverside is to receive a success fee of US$200 K for each DP, with a $200 K bonus if three properties become DPs. If a DP goes to the Joint Venture stage (Riverside 20%), Riverside is to receive a $1.5 M bonus, and can sell its interest to BHP if elects not to continue on the JV (Tajitos, Sonora; El Capitan, Durango).
- Silver Spruce Resources Inc. received a $200 K cash payment from Croesus Gold Corp. for the sale of the Kay mine project. After a go-public transaction is completed, Croesus is to pay Silver Spruce a final cash payment of $150 K, no later than July 15, 2019 (Pino de Plata, Chihuahua).
- Azure Minerals Ltd. accepted a right of first offer proposal by Teck Resources Ltd to consolidate ownership of the Alacrán project in Sonora. Azure will retain 100% ownership of the project by issuing to Teck a number of common shares that would result in Teck owning 19.9% of Azure’s outstanding shares on a post-issuance basis, a 0.5% NSR royalty on the project, and a participation right on the proceeds of any sale of the project within a five year period.
- Goldgroup Mining Inc. announced a final judgement in the United States Disctrict Court for the District of Colorado confirming Goldgroup’s previously announced favorable award in the arbitration against DynaUSA, Inc., ruling DynaUSA having to pay Goldgoup $1.53 M. In addition, the jurisdictional ruling from a Mexico City court that ruled in favor of DynaUSA was challenged in Mexico by Goldgroup and is still pending resolution (Cerro Prieto, Sonora)
- DynaResource Inc. issued a response to news released by Goldgroup Mining Inc. (see above) in which the United States district court for the district of Colorado confirmed the August 2016 Arbitration award against DynaResource, same that intends to appeal the district court’s May 9 decision. Dyna describes in this news release three different favorable rulings in Mexican courts, same that award Dyna $48 M in damages to be covered by Goldgroup (San Jose de Gracia, Sinaloa).
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On the image below, quartz-chalcopyrite veinlet hosted by an intrusive rock in core from a project in Michoacan. Picture by Jorge Cirett.