The Cerro Caliche Project in Sonora is developing steadily following three years of operations. Its owner, Sonoro Gold Corp, continues its transition from an exploration player to a full-fledged producing company. The mining player aims to become a gold producer by 2023, said Kenneth MacLeod, CEO, Sonoro Gold Corp.
Sonoro Gold is a publicly-listed gold exploration and development company that has discovered and developed 12 gold and copper mines. Its owns two precious metals properties in Sonora: its flagship Cerro Caliche Gold Project and the San Marcial Project. Cerro Caliche is located 3 hours north of Hermosillo and 3 hours south of Tucson, Arizona. The state’s friendly jurisdiction first-class infrastructure, in addition to the neighboring gold mines, add value to the already alluring project.
“One of the finest places to find new gold mines is where the old-time mining operations were scraping around a hundred years ago. When we acquired the Cerro Caliche Project in 2018, there were around 10 old mining developments and we have been working successfully on them over the past three years of drilling,” said MacLeod.
In May 2022, Sonoro Gold filed the updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Cerro Caliche Project, which contemplated an optimized mine plan for an open pit, heap leach mining operation with an initial two-year production rate of 8,000t/d, and an increase to 15,000t/d for the remaining mine life cycle.
Within the highlights of the updated PEA, Cerro Caliche has a US$53.5 million after-tax net present value, a 45.6 percent after-tax internal rate of return with US$26 million initial capital costs, 2.2 years as payback period and a seven-year life of mine.
In September 2018, Sonoro initiated a 10km drilling program at Cerro Caliche. In June 2022, the company reported the results from the last seven drill holes of its Phase IV drilling program, confirming the possible expansion of known mineralized zones. During the exploration program, more than 7,3km were drilled through 63 holes, which intersected higher-grade gold mineralization and confirmed the expansion of several gold zones, as reported by MBN.
Over the past year and a half, several milestones have been completed at the Cerro Caliche Gold Project, said MacLeod, including the environmental impact studies, a preliminary mine plan, many kilometers of drilling, the PEA and an additional 7.3km of drilling to be added in August 2022. “Sonoro is making a transition from an exploration to a development company and by next year to a production company. We have had a very successful three-year operational period at Cerro Caliche.”
The company has “about 200 years of experience” within its senior management team alone, said MacLeod. The team is built by John Darch, Chairman and Director, who has 35 years of experience as financier, developer and operator in the international resource sector, a similar profile to MacLeod’s. In addition, the technical team features Melvin Herdrick, VP of Exploration, with over 45 years of experience and Jorge Díaz, VP of Operations, who has almost 50 years of experience as a mining engineer in Mexico.