In an exclusive preview of the 2019 edition, Mexico Mining Review asked Brendan Cahill, President & CEO of Excellon Resources about the company’s high-grade Platosa project in Durango and his opinion of the working environment in Mexico.
Q: How does Excellon Resources’ outlook for silver prices affect the company’s business plan?
BC: At Platosa, we have the benefit of high grade silver, lead and zinc production with 50 percent of our revenues from base metals. As a result, we have some protection against weaker silver prices and volatile fluctuations. We still strongly believe in silver’s potential, as it is a vital important metal, as one of the most reflective and conductive metals with multiple uses that permeate every new technology. We are living in the future and as we make more advancement, we must go back to the source to build our dreams. Our main objective is to continue to unlock exploration potential, and secure future supply.
Q: How would you generally evaluate working in Mexico?
BC: Mexico is one of the best places to work in the world. We value the fact that the country places importance on communities, with money going to where it matters. It is also one of the most self-sufficient countries with unbelievable geological opportunities.
Like any jurisdiction, there’s room for improvement. New mineral royalties in recent years have not been favourable, but we are heartened to see these royalties actually go back into our local communities. Additionally, we see room for improvement in the way that mineral concessions are granted and the fees required to hold ground. Our focus is on regional scale exploration and making world class discoveries – to do so, you need to be able to acquire large ground packages efficiently and have time to plan and execute long-term exploration programs.
Q: What part does Mexico play in your portfolio and what are your expansion plans in the country?
BC: We have two key projects in Mexico. We have been operating the Platosa Mine in Durango for over 12 years. The mine only sits on 50 of 21,000-hectares of mineral concessions. We have barely scratched the surface. With production now ramping up, we are focusing our efforts on uncovering Platosa’s expansion potential, both near the mine and regionally. Our exploration efforts for 2018 include a 30,000-metre drill program.
Our second project is located in Zacatecas at Miguel Auza, 14,000-hectares of mineral concessions with a historical resource and an operating and scalable mill. We have been trucking Platosa ore to Miguel Auza with excellent recoveries for the last few years. Recently, we reviewed the exploration potential from a regional perspective and found 10 epithermal veins right on the surface that have never been drilled to depth, with historical results at shallow depths assaying multi-kilo silver values. We consider this project a new frontier to expansion. Anything that we find in that area goes back to our mill. Drilling should commence in mid-2018.
Worldwide, we continue to see a trend to own big pieces of ground, allowing continent-sized geology to be carried out on a regional scale. That’s how the next great discoveries will be made – think big to find big. Our approach to exploration is somewhat unique, as there are few companies in Mexico thinking on the same scale.
Both of our projects are located in the heart of world famous minerals belts, home to some of the largest mining companies. Recently, we entered into a toll mining agreement with Hecla Mining to process ore from the San Sebastian Mine at our Miguel Auza facility, securing additional cash flow once the bulk sample testing program is complete in the second half of 2018.
This is an exclusive preview of the 2019 edition of Mexico Mining Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding this industry, pre-order your copy Mexico Mining Review or access our digital copy of the 2018 edition.