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Spotlight: Mexico’s top silver exploration-stage projects

Spotlight: Mexico’s top silver exploration-stage projects

Mexico hosts an array of exploration-stage silver projects with the potential to deliver production growth in the coming years.

BNamericas takes a closer look at seven key assets at the advanced exploration stage – output from which could help the country cement its position as the world’s top silver miner.

The projects selected do not have current PEAs, PFSs or feasibility studies in place.

Resource estimates have been completed at three of the projects, with exploration ongoing at all seven.

Exploration in the silver space has been given a boost by the recent surge in prices, with the metal currently trading around US$24/oz, up from US$17/oz last December.

Exploration in Mexico was suspended for around two months in April-May to comply with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with activities restarting from around early June under new health protocols.

MEXICO’S EXLORATION-STAGE SILVER ASSETS

1. La Colorada Skarn, Zacatecas state

Owner: Pan American Silver

Main metals: Silver, copper, lead, zinc

Stage: Resource estimate

Pan American has aggressively drilled La Colorada Skarn since its discovery in 2018, with CEO Michael Steinmann describing the deposit as world class.

The company reported a 100Mt updated inferred mineral resource in August, containing 141Moz silver, 4.3Mt zinc, 1.8Mt lead and 199,000t copper.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted exploration in 2020. Pan American now expects to complete 33,000m of drilling for the year, down from 44,000m initially planned, with three surface rigs currently operating.

Engineering and metallurgical studies are ongoing.

2. Los Ricos, Jalisco state

Owner: GoGold Resources

Main metals: Silver, gold

Stage: Resource estimate

GoGold is swiftly advancing its Los Ricos asset.

The company plans to complete a PEA by end-2020 for the Los Ricos South portion of the project, while the focus of drilling has shifted to Los Ricos North, where six rigs are currently operating.

An initial mineral resource estimate for Los Ricos South reported in July showed 63.7Moz silver equivalent in the measured and indicated categories and 19.9Moz inferred.

GoGold plans to release an initial resource estimate for Los Ricos North in 2Q21.

3. Panuco, Sinaloa state

Owner: Vizsla Resources (option)

Main metals: Silver, gold

Stage: Exploration

Vizsla has reported a string of discoveries and high-grade drill results since acquiring options on the project last year.

The company has expanded drilling in 2020 despite COVID-19 challenges, adding a fifth rig in October, up from one when exploration restarted in June after the pandemic suspension.

Vizsla, which acquired options for up to 100% of the project in its takeover of Canam Alpine Ventures last year, is seeking to prove up significant silver and gold exploration potential at Panuco.

4. Plomosas, Sinaloa state

Owner: GR Silver

Main metals: Silver, gold, lead, zinc

Stage: Exploration

GR Silver has reported high-grade drilling and sampling results at Plomosas which the company says provide evidence of a large, hydrothermal system at the past-producing asset.

Latest drill results in September returned significant near surface intervals, with highlights including 5.1m at 19.2g/t gold and 18.0m at 554g/t silver equivalent, with channel sampling results the same month confirming an underground discovery, according to the company.

GR acquired Plomosas from First Majestic Silver in March. The project is located close to the company’s San Marcial property, where exploration is also ongoing.

5. Cerro Las Minitas, Durango state

Owner: Southern Silver

Main metals: Silver, gold, copper, lead, zinc

Stage: Resource estimate

Southern Silver is advancing exploration with the aim of expanding resources at Cerro Las Minitas.

The company is advancing a 10,000m 2020-21 drill program, November results from which included 6.7m grading 625g/t silver and 1,454g/t silver equivalent from the South Skarn target.

An updated 2019 mineral estimate showed 134Moz silver equivalent in indicated resources and an inferred resource of 138Moz silver equivalent.

6. Tabasquena, Zacatecas state

Owner: Advance Gold

Main metals:

Stage: Exploration

Advance Gold is continuing to explore its Tabasquena property, which the company believes may host a large mineral deposit.

“The more drilling and geophysical work we do, the more it becomes clear we are looking at a big sulfide system at Tabasquena,” CEO Allan Barry Laboucan said in September.

Efforts are currently focusing on follow-up drilling after a hole returned 2.15m of 664g/t silver.

7. Columba, Chihuahua

Owner: Kootenay Silver (option)

Main metals: Silver

Stage: Exploration

Kootenay Silver has reported grades of over 600g/t silver at several holes at Columba, with latest highlights from the J-Z zone including 1,160g/t over 1.0m.

The company began a 7,000m core drill program in February, to follow up on high grade results from 2019.

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