Tracing Juanicipio Through Stacked Boiling SystemsMon, 10/22/2018 - 17:24
What was old is new again as a shortage of exploration projects has miners re-examining historic mining districts and enjoying a high level of success. Take Candente Gold, for example. It acquired El Oro because the mine was located in a district where 8 million equivalent ounces of gold were produced from only two of its 50 known veins.
At El Oro much of the exploration and development had been completed in the 20th century. A fresh look, however, indicates that there is excellent potential left both in and below the old workings as well as surrounding areas. “We own 100 percent of this project, which covers mines that have already produced 5 million ounces of gold equivalent (4 million ounces of gold and 44 million ounces silver) from a single vein, along with an additional 3 million silver ounces in another vein,” says Joanne Freeze, President and CEO of Candente Gold. “The geological setting is quite similar to what was found in Juanicipio.”
Combined with the region’s strong track record, the identification of stacked boiling systems in the district is another factor behind the project’s potential for a discovery. “In Mexico, we often see cases of these systems where a vein is created by hydrothermal fluids that rise then precipitate silica and precious metals before receding,” explains Freeze. “The process repeats itself over and over again, precipitating minerals at various levels in a stacked boiling system.” This means that instead of finding base metals below the gold and silver zones in these veins, drilling intersects silver and gold at various levels thanks to these alternating precipitation levels. “This is even more evidence that the project is reactive and can reap significant results from drilling programs,” Freeze says.
Candente Gold, which previously worked in Peru, believes Mexico is an attractive mining jurisdiction. “Other companies say that permitting is quite difficult in Mexico but in our experience, it is quite efficient,” says Freeze. “Our only issue is the exploration expenditure commitment that is required to hold the land package; this can be quite high for a small exploration company.”
Despite these costs, Freeze says the authorities in the area are open to collaboration. “We completed a negotiation with the municipality to acquire a tailings project that was left behind by the previous mine in the middle of the town,” she says. “The company found common ground by agreeing to build the tailings facility outside of the municipality if it was economically feasible and to share profits, if there are any.”
Even though many believe that small exploration companies cannot make an impact on surrounding communities due to their lack of capital, Candente Gold defies these paradigms by finding innovative ways to support CSR. “In Peru, we had a partner that taught us to be flexible in the way we think about our work to make an impact,” Freeze says.
For example, when operating in Peru, the company saw the need to improve employment opportunities in the area and helped a group of people growing coffee to connect with NGOs to improve their crops. Candente also helped them achieve an organic certification to sell their product for a higher price. The coffee farmers were not the only beneficiaries of Candente’s social projects. “Other communities located higher in the mountains could not grow coffee so we supported them by expanding their houses, allowing them to harvest cuy, a specialty in the country,” she says. “We also called in agronomists who assisted with growing quinoa.”
In Mexico, the company is applying the same principles to the community surrounding El Oro. Candente taught locals to grow different types of crops and even provided the seeds. “We introduced new ideas and skills to them so they would not become dependent on us,” explains Freeze. “This is the idea of shared value and what can be accomplished in the early days of a project.”