2022: A Year Full of Abundant Exploration Plans
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2022: A Year Full of Abundant Exploration Plans

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 03/24/2022 - 08:40

Several companies with a significant presence in Mexico are planning a year full of dynamic exploration programs, with the purpose of increasing reserves and developing projects in a favorable environment for metal prices.

Ten of the main gold and silver producers set budgets of around US$377 million, according to BNamericas. The companies with the biggest exploration spending in Mexico for 2022 are First Majestic Silver, Fresnillo, Pan American Silver, Torex Gold and Agnico Eagle. Although major players Fresnillo, First Majestic Silver and Pan American Silver did not deliver a complete breakdown per country, their budgets will mainly be destined for mines and projects in Mexico.

Fresnillo plans to invest US$180 million in exploration this year. Fifty-five percent of this amount will be destined to exploration around mines already in operation, whereas 19 percent will go to projects in study and development stages. All these projects are located in Mexico, while the remaining 26 percent will be spent on early-stage exploration assets in the country, Peru and Chile. The objectives of the exploratory program of 2022 include resource recategorization, project advancement and drilling at priority objectives, said the company.

First Majestic contemplates to increase its drilling in 2022 by 41 percent, with over half of this work to be done at Mexican assets. Its objective is to drill 320,200m, including 98,000m of confirmation, extension and exploration work at San Dimas and 68,100m in Santa Elena, where it will drill at the Alejandro del Bajo, América, Fénix and Ermitaño developments. Lastly, the company aims to drill close to 19,000m at La Encantada with the goal of incorporating new resources and test objectives.

Pan American Silver’s mostly Mexico-focused strategy involves a budget slightly higher than its US$42 million planned for 2021. The Canada-based company provided results for 20 new infill and exploration holes, all of which contain multiple skarn and breccia structures. In addition, the company announced that it expects to drill 55,000m at La Colorada for a cost between US$18 million and US$20 million for further exploring and infill drilling adjacent veins.

Another key investor is Torex Gold, which plans to develop its El Limón-Guajes mine and the adjacent Media Luna project, both located in Guerrero. “In 2022, we aim to drill between 64,000 and 65,000m at a cost of US$19 million. This would allow us to create a plan for our existing resources while adding to our reserves,” said Jody Kuzenko, President and CEO, Torex Gold, in an interview with MBN.

Of the US$324 million in Agnico Eagle’s exploration plan, 10 percent will be allocated to Mexico. The company defined a budget of US$16.7 million to drill 51,500m at their Santa Gertrudis project in Sonora. At Pinos Altos, Agnico Eagle will invest US$3.5 million toward 17,400m of drilling, adding to the US$800,000 for 5,000m of sustained exploration efforts.

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