By Miguel A Heredia
During the 32nd week of the year (August 9th to August 15th, 2021), at least 22 press releases were announced by companies working in Mexico and 2 news published by the media, with eight reporting resources and developments of their properties, seven communicating production and financial results, four informing on exploration results, two announcing financial topics,, one disclosing deal and corporate issues, one commenting on Mexican issues and one discussing social issues. ON MEXICO ISSUES, According to World Bank Data, Mexico continued to dominate world silver production last year, despite a 9.5% drop on the previous year. ON EXPLORATION, In Durango, Canasil released results from the first drill hole of its 2020 follow up drill program collared at its Nora project, and Mithril presented drilling results, extending the El Refugio high-grade “clavo” zone 80m further east. In Zacatecas, Zacatecas Silver announced it has received drilling permits for their El Panuco and San Gil projects. In the State of Mexico, Xali has identified new drill targets at its El Oro-Tlalpujahua mining district. ON MINING, Gatos Silver reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from its Los Gatos mine in Chihuahua. Argonaut announced Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their Mexican operations. Endeavour presented Q2, 2021 consolidated financial results from their Mexican operations. GoGold reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from its Parral Tailings project in Chihuahua. Guanajuato Silver announced that it began stockpiling mineralized material from its El Cubo mine in Guanajuato. Pan American reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their La Colorada and Dolores mines in Zacatecas and Chihuahua respectively. Sierra Metals announced Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their Bolivar and Cusi mines in Chihuahua. ON FINANCING, Magna provided an update to its previously announced non-brokered private placement of CAD $10M convertible debentures (San Francisco mine, Sonora). Southern Silver provided exercise instructions for warrants dated September 11, 2020 (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango). ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT, Barksdale commenced a 5,000m Phase 1 drilling program at its San Javier project in Sonora. Azucar Minerals provided an update for its El Cobre project in Veracruz. Gatos Silver reported drilling results from its definitional drilling at its Cerro Los Gatos, Chihuahua. Gold Resource confirmed the up-dip extension of the Switchback Vein system and has also intersected additional mineralization outside of the current mining area (Don David Gold mine, Oaxaca). Osisko provided an update of the activities carried out in 2021 at its San Antonio project, Sonora. Pan American reported its estimated mineral reserves and resources as of June 30, 2021 at their La Colorada, Dolores, and La Bolsa deposits in Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Sonora respectively. SilverCrest provided an update on its Las Chispas mine construction in Sonora. Southern Silver released assay results from its ongoing drilling program at its Cerro Las Minitas project, Durango. ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES, Excellon provided an update on litigation in respect of the La Antigua mineral concession (Evolution property, Zacatecas). ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Alamos Gold has allocated MXP $400M in environmental investment at its la Yaqui Grande mining project in Sonora.
ON MEXICO ISSUES
- According to World Bank Data, Mexico continued to dominate world silver production last year, despite a 9.5% drop on the previous year. Mexico produced 5,541 tonnes of silver, followed by China with 3,443 tonnes, and by Peru with 2,991 tonnes. Global production of silver totaled 25,516 tonnes last year, a 3.7% decrease compared to 2019, largely due to COVID-19 restrictions which required several major silver producers to temporarily halt production. “Mexico´s Fresnillo plc, the world´s largest silver producing company, said mine extraction of the metal has shown a steady decline since 2015”.
- Canasil Resources Inc., released results from the first drill hole of its 2020 follow up drill program collared at its Nora project. Highlights of the hole NRC-21-09 drilled on the Candy Vein include 20.59 g/t Au and 1,290 g/t Ag (2,783 g/t AgEq) over a true width (TW) of 1.53m, including 43.7 g/t Au and 1,290 g/t Ag (4,458 g7t AgEq) over a TW of 0.63m; plus 6.44 g/t Au and 884 g/t Ag (1,355 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 3.29m on the Candy hanging wall structure, including 8.45 g/t Au and 1,021 g/t Ag (1,634 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.84m, including 15.6g/t Au and 561 g/t Ag (1,692 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.50m; plus 2.76 g/t Au and 250 g/t Ag (450 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 2.71m on the Candy foot wall structure, including 6.19 g/t Au and 319 g/t Ag (768 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.90m. The high gold and silver grades and relatively low base metal values suggest the upper levels of the system which is open to depth.
- Mithril Resources Ltd., presented drilling results, extending the El Refugio high-grade “clavo” zone 80m further east. High-grade was intercepted in hole CDH-079 with 7.60 g/t Au and 332 g/t Ag over 12.4m, including 18.1 g/t Au and 810 g/t Ag over 4.19m; and hole CDH-80 with 5.08 g/t Au and 197 g/t Ag over 6.11m, including 9.47 g/t Au and 399 g/t Ag over 2.3m.
- Zacatecas Silver Corp., announced it has received drilling permits from SEMARNAT for the execution of 10,000m of drilling at their El Panuco and San Gil projects in Zacatecas. The company also completed environmental studies at San Manuel and El Cristo projects and has submitted drill permit applications to SEMARNAT which expect to be received in approximately four weeks.
- Xali Gold Corp., has identified in a 3D Leapfrog model, new drill targets at its El Oro-Tlalpujahua mining district in the State of Mexico. These targets are designed to test potential extensions to the mineralized veins where they are intersected by cross-cutting mineralized structures. These structures have been incorporated into the 3D model in order to optimize drill angles and azimuths.
- Gatos Silver Inc., reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from the Los Gatos mine in Chihuahua. The company mined 240,047 tonnes and milled 230,656 tonnes of 322 g/t Ag, 0.35 g/t Au, 2.5% Pb, and 4.4% Zn with metallurgical recoveries of 89%, 63%, 90%, and 75% respectively to produce 2.1M Oz Ag, 1.5K Oz Au, 11.2M Lb Pb, and 14.5M Lb Zn. Co-product cash cost and Co-product AISC were $11.5 and $17.65 per Oz AgEq respectively, while by-product cash cost and by-product AISC were $2.87 and $12.63 per Oz AgEq respectively. Gatos Silver reported operating expenses for $5.1M, a net income of $13.5M, and a cash and cash equivalents at June 30, 2021 for $29.6M.
- Argonaut Gold Inc., announced Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their Mexican operations. At El Castillo mine in Durango, the company mined 2,496,000 tonnes and processed 2,468,000 tonnes on leach pads with a grade of 0.25 g/t Au to produce 12.7K Oz Au and 17.4K Oz Ag or 12,929 Gold Equivalent Ounces (GEOs) at a cash cost of USD $1,109 per Oz Au sold. At San Agustin mine in Durango, Argonaut mined 2,718,000 tonnes and processed 2,962,000 tonnes on leach pads with a grade of 0.32 g/t Au to produce 18.1K Oz Au and 138.5K Oz Ag or 19,734 GEOs, at a cash cost of USD $801 per Oz Au sold. Consolidated results for El Castillo Complex (El Castillo + San Agustin mines) were 5,214,000 tonnes mined and 5,450,000 tonnes processed with a grade of 0.29 g/t Au to produce 30.8K Oz Au and 155.9K Oz Ag or 31.4K GEOs at a cash cost of USD $924 per Oz Au sold. At La Colorada mine in Sonora, it mined 1,150,000 tonnes and processed 1,247,000 tonnes on leach pads with a grade of 0.76 g/t Au to produce 16.7K Oz Au and 48.1K Oz Ag or 17,288 GEOs, at a cash cost of USD $608 per Oz Au sold. Argonaut also reported the discovery of high-grade gold veins below the El Creston open pit, including 98.9 g/t Au and 30 g/t Ag over 12.2m, and 44.6 g/t Au and 275 g/t Ag over 21.3m.
- Endeavour Silver Corp., presented Q2, 2021 consolidated financial results from their Mexican operations. The company produced 1.07M Oz Ag and 11.1K Oz Au (2MOz AgEq) at cash and AISC of USD $13.03 and USD $25.39 per Oz Ag payable respectively. It reported net revenue of USD $47.7M from the sale of 1.12M Oz Ag and 9.8K Oz Au; cash flow of USD $8.7M before working capital changes; earning of USD $6.7M; adjusted earning of USD $0.8M; cash position of USD $125.2M; and working capital of USD $146.8M. Endeavour also announced the suspension of operations at its El Compas mine in Zacatecas.
- GoGold Resources Inc., reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from its Parral Tailings project in Chihuahua. The company produced 315.6K Oz Ag, 3,170 Oz Au, and 268.8K Lb Cu (563.4K Oz AgEq) at cash and AISC of USD $13.31 and USD $16.98 per Oz AgEq. GoGold reported revenues for USD $15M on the sale of 563.4K Oz AgEq; free cash of USD $7.5M; cash flow from operations before working capital of USD $6M, and USD $2.7M after working capital; adjusted net income of USD $3.9M; and cash of USD 73.5M. The company plans to use the free cash flow generated from its Parral Tailings project to fund the current exploration program conducted at its Los Ricos project in Jalisco.
- Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd., announced that mining, mucking, and stockpiling of mineralized material has begun at its El Cubo mine in Guanajuato in anticipation of the recommencement of operations at the El Cubo mill.
- Pan American Silver Corp., reported Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their La Colorada and Dolores mines in Zacatecas and Chihuahua respectively. At La Colorada, Zacatecas, the company produced 1.01M Oz Ag and 700 Oz Au at cash and AISC of USD $4.52 and USD $12.42 per Oz Ag respectively. At Dolores, Chihuahua, Pan American produced 612K Oz Ag and 43.3K Oz Au at cash and AISC of USD $602 and USD $716 per Oz Au respectively.
- Sierra Metals Inc., announced Q2, 2021 production and financial results from their Bolivar and Cusi mines in Chihuahua. At Bolivar mine, Chihuahua, the company processed 385,331 tonnes of 0.86% Cu, 19 g/t Ag, and 0.21 g/t Au to produce 5.8M Lb Cu, 202K Oz Ag, and 1,627 Oz Au (7.75M Lb CuEq) at cash and AISC of USD $1.17 and USD $3.27 per Lb CuEq respectively. At Cusi mine, Chihuahua, Sierra Metals processed 73,294 tonnes of 139 g/t Ag, 0.16 g/t Au and 0.1% Pb to produce 269K Oz Ag, 142 Oz Au and 129K Lb Pb (283K Oz AgEq) at cash and AISC of USD $21.67 and USD $35.73 per Oz AgEq.
- Magna Gold Corp., provided an update to its previously announced non-brokered private placement of CAD $10M convertible debentures. The principal amount of the debentures is convertible, at the election of Delbrook Capital Advisors Inc., into common shares of the company at a conversion price of CAD $1.25 per common share. The Company will pay Delbrook a 1.25% arrangement fee on closing of the private placement (San Francisco mine, Sonora).
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp., provided exercise instructions for warrants dated September 11, 2020 in connection with a CAD $10M brokered private placement of subscription receipts and a CAD $4M non-brokered private placement of subscription receipts which both closed on August 14, 2020 (Cerro Las Minitas, Durango).
ON RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Barksdale Resources Corp., commenced a 5,000m Phase 1 drilling program at its San Javier project in Sonora. Goals of this Phase 1 drilling program is to test the controls of the Cu mineralization at the Cerro Verde deposit in San Javier project, to step out of from known areas of previously drilled mineralization, and provide metallurgical samples for a column test work. Results from this drilling phase will be used to update a 3D model that will form the base for a new resource estimate.
- Azucar Minerals Ltd., provided an update for its El Cobre project in Veracruz. It has drilled a couple of holes: one at El Pedregal target and a second one at the Raya Tembrillo target within the Villa Rica Zone at its El Cobre property. A hole planned for the large area of alteration and mineralization of the Encinal Zone will be deferred until more detailed geologic work and review is complete. Assays of the two holes already drilled will be released when they are received and processed. It is also reviewing past acquired data to plan additional drilling for future programs.
- Gatos Silver Inc., reported drilling results from its 27,000m definitional drilling at its Cerro Los Gatos, Chihuahua. Highlights include hole GA404 collared at SE Zone of Esther deposit with 211 g/t Ag, 0.28 g/t Au, 5.5% Pb, and 8.3% Zn over 12.5m, and hole GA392 collared at NW Zone of Esther deposit with 27 g/t Ag, 0.9% Pb, and 4.5% Zn over 30m. “Drilling has identified three separate veins in SE Block #4: an upper vein, a middle vein with more characteristic thickness and grade of the main Cerro Los Gatos system, and a deeper footwall vein which was first identified in this campaign of drilling. The upper vein now has a demonstrated strike length of 400 meters which is open to the southeast and at depth. The middle vein has a demonstrated strike length of 520 meters which remains open to the northwest and at depth. The third vein has a demonstrated strike length of 800 meters and remains open to the southeast and at depth. These drill results extended 800m from the existing resource reserve blocks and remains open to the SE”.
- Gold Resource Corporation confirmed the up-dip extension of the Switchback Vein system and has also intersected additional mineralization at Sandi Vein system outside of the current mining area with upside potential to develop a new mineralized zone. Drilling highlight on Switchback Vein include hole # 521013 with 1.51 g/t Au, 95 g/t Ag, 0.21% Cu, 1.2% Pb, and 1.8% Zn over 5.37m, including 2.61 g/t Au, 155 g/t Ag, 0.25% Cu, 2.1% Pb, and 3% Zn over 2.9m; hole # 521014 with 0.82 g/t Au, 640 g/t Ag, 0.24% Cu, 0.2% Pb, and 0.8% Zn over 0.78m, hole # 521015 with 0.01 g/t Au, 2,610 g/t Ag, and 0.31% Cu over 1.55m; and hole # 521018 with 4.45 g/t Au, 4,460 g/t Ag, 0.03% Cu, 1% Pb, and 2.4% Zn over 0.36m. Drilling highlights at Sandy Vein system include hole # 521021 with 1.61 g/t Au, 33 g/t Ag, 0.5% Cu, 2.4% Pb, and 2.1% Zn over 8.67m, including 4.88 g/t Au, 75 g/t Ag, 0.93% Cu, 6.4% Pb, and 4% Zn over 2.77m; and hole # 521022 with 2.32 g/t Au, 19 g/t Ag, 0.2% Cu, 1.4% Pb, and 6.8% Zn over 1.18m. “The Sandy 1 vein is open on dip and along strike to the northwest, whilst southeastern potential, including linkage to the Switchback system, is being evaluated”.
- Osisko Development Corp., provided an update of the activities carried out in 2021 at its San Antonio project, Sonora. The company completed 9,900m of infill drilling of a planned two phase 45,000m drilling campaign. It also continues preparations to commence processing of the large stockpile on site, and announced that the heap leaching permitting is on schedule and anticipates granting of the permit by the end of the year.
- Pan American Silver Corp., reported its estimated mineral reserves and resources as of June 30, 2021 at their La Colorada, Dolores, and La Bolsa deposits in Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Sonora respectively. Mineral resources are exclusive of mineral reserves. At La Colorada mine, Zacatecas, the company reported proven reserves of 3.9M tonnes of 350 g/t Ag and 0.25 g/t Au for a total of 43.5M Oz Ag and 30.6K Oz Au contained and probable reserves of 6.2M tonnes of 289 g/t Ag and 0.19 g/t Au for a total of 57.3M Oz Ag and 38.2K Oz Au contained. It also reported measured resources of 1.3M tonnes of 185 g/t Ag and 0.15 g/t Au for a total of 7.6M Oz Ag and 6K Oz Au contained, indicated resources of 1.9M tonnes of 175 g/t Ag and 0.15 g/t Au, for a total of 10.6M Oz Ag and 9K Oz Au contained, and inferred resources of 8.4M tonnes of 190 g/t Ag and 0.15 g/t Au for a total of 51.1M Oz Ag and 40.9K Oz Au. In addition La Colorada Skarn has inferred resources of 100.4M tonnes of 44 g/t Ag to contain a total of 141M Oz Ag. At Dolores mine, Chihuahua, Pan American reported proven reserves of 20.8M tonnes of 22 g/t Ag and 0.74 g/t Au for a total of 14.9M Oz Ag and 495.3K Oz Au contained and probable reserves of 6.2M tonnes of 28 g/t Ag and 0.78 g/t Au for a total of 5.6M Oz Ag and 155.1K Oz Au contained. The company also reported measured resources of 2.82M tonnes of 16 g/t Ag and 0.3 g/t Au for a total of 1.5M Oz Ag and 27.2K Oz Au, indicated resources of 0.82M tonnes of 22 g/t Ag and 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 0.6M Oz Ag and 16.3K Oz Au contained, and 2.7M tonnes of 46 g/t Ag and 1.25 g/t Au for a total of 4M Oz Ag and 108.5K Oz Au contained. At La Bolsa deposit, Sonora, the company reported measured resources of 10.8M tonnes 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 Oz tonnes of 8 g/t Ag and 0.54 g/t Au for a total of 2.7M Oz Ag and 154.3K Oz Au contained, and inferred resources of 13.7M tonnes 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.
- SilverCrest Metals Inc., provided an update on its Las Chispas mine construction in Sonora. The company reported that at the end of HI, 2021 Las Chispas progress was 33% completed; camp facility and earthworks completed; concrete foundation work 74% complete; plant tank, power line, road and bridge commenced; and 4.6Km of underground development completed. SilverCrest reported that as at July 31, 2021, the company remains well funded with cash and cash equivalents of USD $188M and USD $90M available under a USD $120M project financing facility. “Las Chispas could generate after-tax project free cash flow of approximately USD $160M in 2023 and an estimated average of USD $110M per year from 2023 to 2029”.
- Southern Silver Exploration Corp., released assay results from its ongoing drilling program at its Cerro Las Minitas project, Durango. Drilling highlights from Mina La Bocona Area include hole 21CLM-164 with 102 g/t Ag, 1.8% Pb, and 1.7% Zn (234 g/t AgEq) over a true width (TW) of 16.3m, including 383 g/t Ag, 7.9% Pb, and 10.2% Zn (1,051 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.4m; 21CLM-167 with 263 g/t Ag, 0.2 g/t Au, 6% Pb, and 1.2% Zn (513 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 1.7m, including 543 g/t Ag, 0.4 g/t Au, 12.7% Pb, and 1% Zn (1,011 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.7m; and hole 21CLM-170 with 7 g/t Ag, 0.4% Cu, and 10.6% Zn (443 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 2.5m, including 14 g/t Ag, 0.4% Cu, and 21% Zn (844 g/t AgEq) over a TW of 0.7m. The current drill program has now completed 56 core holes totaling 22,360 metres since drilling recommenced in September 2020. Assay results from five drill holes are pending and are anticipated over the coming weeks. “Southern Silver has now tested over 850m of strike length along the east side of the Cerro to depths of up to 500m, primarily in the South Skarn and Mina La Bocona target areas. Three bonanza grade mineralized zones have been identified as well as shallow intercepts of high-grade mineralization to the northwest of the Bocona target, results of which will be incorporated into an upcoming mineral resource update on the project”.
ON DEALS AND CORPORATE ISSUES
- Excellon Resources Inc., provided an update on litigation involving the Company’s subsidiary, San Pedro Resources SA de CV (San Pedro) in respect of the La Antigua mineral concession (Evolution property, Zacatecas). Excellon received an initial electronic notice last July that San Pedro’s appeal to the federal courts of Mexico in respect of the litigation was dismissed, despite the lack of evidence, facts or law to support this outcome. The Company has now received the formal written decision on the appeal which, based on initial legal review, appears to uphold the judgment granting the plaintiff an award of approximately USD $23M and is not subject to further legal appeal in Mexico. Brendan Cahill, President and CEO of Excellon, stated that “The value ascribed in the judgment is impossible based on evidence, facts or law. Simply put, the maximum value realizable by the plaintiff from the agreement on La Antigua was USD $500K in the best-case scenario, yet the Miguel Auza Mine was shut down in 2008 almost immediately after operations commenced.”
ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Alamos Gold Inc., has allocated MXP $400M in environmental investment at its la Yaqui Grande mining project in Sonora. The foregoing consists of environmental remediation works that will be carried out as areas of the mine are vacated, a different model from the traditional work that waits until the end of the useful life of a mine to carry out reclamation and closure activities. In La Yaqui Grande, it is contemplated to have constant reclamation of areas, placing the vegetal roof covering in layers and stages, which implied a special design and engineering to make it possible throughout the seven years of operation. The company will also acquire a treatment plant that will allow the water used in the operation to be recirculated, reducing its consumption. The design of “tepetateras or dumps” is different from the traditional ones and there is already a nursery for the reproduction of native plants of the region, which will supply the demand for the development of this environmental project.
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On the picture above, a volcanic-hosted quartz vein with oxidized pyrite in a low sulphidation epithermal vein system from a prospect in Chihuahua, Mexico. Photo by Miguel A Heredia.