Coeur Mining has provided an update on the exploration program at its Palmarejo mine in Chihuahua. Boosted by 2021’s exploration results as well as the company's continued quest to extend the life of Palmarejo, Coeur planned more aggressive programs to find new mineral-rich areas and expand its deposits in 2022.
In a press release, Coeur highlighted that over the past five years it has invested US$240 million in exploration programs, which has led to a major reserve and resource growth, as well as new discoveries. Coeur stressed that infill drilling programs have successfully replaced production of 1.8Moz of cumulative gold and 56.4Moz cumulative silver. They furthermore added 0.5Moz of gold and 85.4Moz of silver reserves. Meanwhile, expansion drill programs have added 1.8Moz and 123.6Moz of measured and indicated gold and silver resources, respectively.
In 2021, Coeur's exploration investment at Palmarejo decreased 17 percent quarter-over-quarter to US$4 million. However, full-year exploration investment increased 31 percent year-over-year to US$14 million. Moreover, the company announced that a total of 74,200m were drilled in 2021, including 31,750mof expansion and 42,450m of infill drilling.
Expansion drilling during 4Q21 focused on the Hidalgo and El Ojito zones, while infill drilling focused on specific zones within the Independencia and Guadalupe deposits. Mitchell J. Krebs, President and CEO, Coeur Mining, said the results at Palmarejo show the best grade thickness in recent years, which "highlights the compelling growth opportunities within the Coeur portfolio and the success of our multi-year exploration investment.”
Due to the success of previous exploration programs, Coeur announced that it will invest US$40 million for its 2022 exploration programs at the Silvertip, Kensington and Palmarejo mines, which will be split equally between infill and expansion drilling. In an interview with MBN, Euridice González, Country Manager Mexico, Coeur Mining, said “our main objective at Palmarejo is to extend the life of the mine and we are planning to implement an aggressive exploration program that will be Coeur’s most important exploration in Mexico. Coeur has high expectations for Palmarejo and we are excited to unlock its great potential.”
In 2022, the company expects to complete its Palmarejo infill program in the North Independence Zone and begin expansion drilling beyond the current limits. In addition, the infill program in the Nacion zone will seek to convert inferred resources at depth in the South-Central and North areas. The company also expects to complete its infill drilling at the Zapata Zone during 2Q22. Furthermore, the company will continue to test new targets in the Guazapares district.