Trend: Mexico miners boost reserves

By
Friday, February 9, 2018

Mining companies have reported growth in reserves at a string of Mexican silver and gold assets.

The increase in reserves by three miners with properties in the country reflects exploration successes at operating mines and new projects during 2017 drill programs.

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ENDEAVOUR SILVER

Endeavour Silver announced a sharp rise in silver and gold reserves as a result of exploration at its Terronera project.

Companywide proven and probable silver reserves increased 217% to 33.5Moz in 2017 while gold reserves were up 246% to 315,000oz.

Terronera's reserves were 27.0Moz silver and 255,000oz gold in the probable category. No reserves were reported at the Jalisco state project at the start of 2017.

This reflects the reclassification of mineral resources as reserves as part of the project's PFS from May 2017.

Proven and probable reserves declined at each of Endeavour's operating mines (El Cubo, Guanaceví and Bolañitos, all in Mexico).

The company plans to invest US$11.1mn in exploration in 2018.

COEUR MINING

Exploration successes were also behind a rise in silver and gold reserves at Coeur Mining's Palmarejo mine in Chihuahua state.

The company reported a 15% hike in silver reserves to 47.0Moz, with gold up 19% at 706,000oz.

The increase was mainly due to an initial reserve estimate at the Nación-Dana deposit, for which preliminary mine planning is under way, the company said.

Coeur's 2017 drill program also contributed to 56% higher measured and indicated resources compared to 2016.

The company plans to maintain an elevated level of exploration investment in 2018, it said.

HECLA MINING

Hecla Mining reported a 17% increase in gold reserves at its San Sebastián mine in Mexico to 43,000oz, although silver reserves slipped 80,000oz to 5.52Moz.

The company also highlighted the identification and expansion of polymetallic mineralization in the Francine and West Middle veins in its reserves statement.

OUTLOOK

The rise in reserves reported by Endeavour, Coeur and Hecla reflects a rebound in exploration spending by gold and silver miners in Mexico in 2017, following an upturn in prices.

Further reserve growth, which will be vital for the long-term health of Mexico's mining sector, will hinge on companies continuing to plow cash into exploration in 2018 and beyond.