In an exclusive preview of the 2019 edition, Mexico Mining Review James McDonald, President & CEO of Kootenay Silver discusses Mexico’s mining outlook, the exploration landscape and the main achievements the company made in its drilling program this year.
Q: How would you describe the general outlook of Mexico’s mining industry?
A: Kootenay Silver recognized the start of an upcycle at the beginning of 2016 but it has been a slow process. Mining in Mexico is greatly impacted by the broader market cycle. This is something exploration companies like Kootenay Silver must take into consideration because we rely on investor capital. Mexico’s mining industry is being further impacted by slow bureaucratic processes. This problem has forced the company to wait up to four years for a mining concession to become liberated and awarded.
Q: What is your perception of the exploration market in the country?
A: Upcycles are the moment for exploration companies to raise and spend capital because this is when investors are interested in funding new projects. As I mentioned a big challenge in Mexico right now is the time it takes to get title to new ground. Often it takes so long to get title that the capital that was available is spent elsewhere. When Mexican authorities address these problems, I believe that exploration expenditures will significantly increase within the country. This translates into more employment especially in remote areas that greatly need it and would also result in more deposits being discovered and developed into mines, which attracts even more investment to the state and the country.
Q: What milestones has Kootenay Silver achieved in its drilling programs in Mexico?
A: Kootenay Silver’s drilling programs shift according to the availability of capital and its budget. The program in La Cigarra is progressing well and we have started to drill this site again. There are several targets in the region that we want to evaluate and we have prioritized these areas according to our expertise and knowledge. We believe we are on the extension of the mineralized silver belt that trends northwest coming out of San Francisco Del Oro and Santa Barbara. We cover about 20 km of that trend which is very exciting as the trend to the south has produced over half a billion ounces of silver. At La Cigarra, Kootenay Silver has 51.5 million silver ounces measured and indicated and an additional 11.5 million inferred silver ounces.
On top of these discoveries, Kootenay has also identified a footprint in the mineral zone that is between 2-4km wide that stretches over 10km before disappearing to the south and re-emerging into the San Francisco del Oro-Santa Barbara districts. We have numerous targets to drill and are focused on finding not only more ounces but high grade ounces The type of ounces that can improve the economics of the current deposit and move the project towards a feasibility study.
Along with these projects the company is continuously searching for new acquisitions. During downcycles in the exploration business is when the opportunity for high quality assets arise and we are always on the lookout for these opportunities. It is a give and take process. We are always balancing the assets each project can offer against the capital that is required to develop them and the assets we own.
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.