Melvin Herdrick
Vice President of Exploration
Sonoro Gold Corp
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View from the Top

Sonoro To Become a Producing Mining Company in 2021

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 06/29/2021 - 10:28

Q: How advanced are the company’s short-term objectives for exploration at the Cerro Caliche project?

A: We started working on the project about five years ago, so we have been involved in it for quite some time. We have been drilling for at least four years. Last year, we drilled more than 10,000m, a significant amount. Our best drilling was in the previous two years, which was around 25,000m. I think we have done very well in our program and we are excited to continue.

Q: How will the governmental transition in Sonora resulting from the midterm elections impact the Cerro Caliche and San Marcial projects?

A: We do not know exactly what impact it could have. However, we are very attentive to the elections and its results. I hope that we can achieve a friendly government that supports the mining sector and its opportunities, such as those we are working on. Hopefully, it will also be the same case at the federal level. These midterm elections were very important and I just hope that the next governor continues to be very friendly and supportive of the sector.

Q: What is your experience in the discovery and development of resource deposits?

A: I have been in Mexico for about 25 years, or half of my career. The other half of my career was spent in the Northwestern US where I worked for large companies that explore for gold, silver and copper. In Mexico, the environment for gold and copper exploration has been good and encouraging. Meanwhile, silver is often found as an associated mineral and that has been the case for Sonoro. We have some silver associated with the gold mineralization that we found at Cerro Caliche and San Marcial. Our long-term project is San Marcial, while in the short term we are working to develop and ensure that the resource is very well defined in Cerro Caliche.

Q: In addition to your experience and leadership, what characteristics make Sonoro a truly modern exploration company?

A: This is due mainly to its people. We have a very good quality team, mostly local workers and well-trained geologists and engineers who have a great deal of experience with other mines that have been developed and are in production in Sonora, as well as other states. I think we have a group of people who are really competent and with very good skills for this project.

Technologically, Sonora is a very strong industrial city. It is a developing labor state and its industry is really strong. The local communities are also well trained, experienced and can operate heavy equipment. Contractors are available, their prices are very reasonable and their skills are very good. Sonora is a great place for us to work.

Q: How are Sonoro Gold's ESG efforts also being implemented in Cerro Caliche’s exploration and development program?

A: Depending on the size of the program, we initiate permitting procedures that verify the condition of the land and establish limits that we need to maintain to affect it as little as possible. We have to know the impact that our project will have on the land and nearby communities. Most of the time we have to adapt the land to be able to build our project, roads and other infrastructure. Our goal is to reduce our negative impact and address the possible damage that we may cause. For example, we plant seeds to return vegetative growth to areas where the soil has been affected. Sonoro believes that if we build a mine, it will be for the long term and we ensure that its development allows a good future for the area and its resources, such as water. Therefore, if there is an area where process chemicals are used, we will monitor it and make sure it is highly protected to prevent leaks. If we find leaks, we have plans in place to control and address the damage it may cause. These measures are part of our development plan for the mine, as we intend to be very careful so that instead of having a negative impact, we have a positive one. In addition, we always try to add eight to 10 years to the mine life so that communities can adapt and benefit from it as well. Many people from the community work at Sonoro and other mines. Mining is an industry that drives the economic development of Sonora and we want to be part of this development and help communities.

Q: How is the elaboration of the 43-101 resource estimate and the PEA going so far?

A: Currently, we are trying to fully drill and define the resource on our property. We have more drilling to do. How much we will drill will probably be decided in the next two to three months. In addition to drilling, we are trying to provide all that data efficiently and quickly to independent companies that are doing the evaluations and calculations for the resource estimate. We sent 5.5 tons of material to the professional laboratory in Reno that is conducting metallurgical testing. Due to the requirements of the national instrument 43-101, we have to do it in independent laboratories that are internationally recognized for their quality work.

In the end, we hope to double our resource estimate and have a very good quality independent report – the PEA. Once it is finished, we will know more about the mine, the recovery, how to proceed and how much investors are willing to contribute. We are excited to raise more money to begin the construction of the mine and do more drilling.

Q: What factors will determine the start of production of Cerro Caliche in the last quarter of 2021?

A: A determining factor will be the PEA. In addition, the price of commodities and production costs, which are based on other nearby mines that are operating with the same type of material. We also have to reach some agreements to further develop the project and obtain government permits to operate the mine. We need the government's cooperation to start production at Cerro Caliche but the final determining factors will be our investors and the data we provide them. Typically, in Canada, the US and Europe, investors tend to be very critical and conservative about how they invest. Therefore, if we want to continue developing our project, we have to give them the best information. I think we are on the right track to do so.

Q: What is the potential of San Marcial and what are your main exploration objectives and strategies for 2021?

A: I think it has very good potential. We had a little land issue that is slowly being resolved but I think the geological and overall potential for resource development is really good. This is what we will focus on in early 2022, but we have an ongoing plan to start drilling. We stopped drilling for a couple of years but we want to resume so we can start defining the resource there as well. It is a prospect that had some drilling in the ‘90s, so we know the type of mineral and its potential. I think it will complement what we are doing now and it will be an added value for the company.

Sonoro Gold Corp is a gold and silver mineral exploration company with a portfolio of exploration-stage properties in Sonora. The company has a highly experienced management mining team made up of business and finance professionals with a successful track record in discovery through resource development.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst