After drilling more than 27 holes on its La Joya property in Durango state, Mexico, last year, SilverCrest Mines (SVL-V) has released an initial inferred resource estimate totalling 100 milion silver-equivalent oz.
The deposit, which it acquired in late 2010, hosts 57.9 million inferred tonnes grading 28 grams silver per tonne, 0.18 gram gold, and 0.21% copper for 51.3 million oz. silver, 333,400 oz. gold, and 270.3 million lbs. copper. That translates to 101.9 million silver-equivalent oz. at a cutoff grade of 15 grams per tonne of silver equivalent, and based on a silver-to-gold ratio of 50:1, silver-to-copper ratio of 86:1, and metals prices of US$24 per oz. silver, US$1,200 per oz. gold and US$3 per lb. copper.
The resource is contained in a 1 km by 500 metre section of the main mineralized trend at La Joya, located 75 km southeast of the city of Durango. That main trend extends for 2.5 km at an average minimum width of 500 metres, and is associated with a nearby exposed intrusive stock.
The resource is based on historic information from the property that has been independently verified (eight drill holes totalling 2,575 metres), as well as work conducted by SilverCrest in 2011 — 27 holes totalling 5,754 metres and 178 surface samples for more than 500 metres. Drill holes were spaced around 100 metres apart.
A $3-million, phase-two drilling program, consisting of around 60 core holes and 20 reverse-circulation holes totalling 15,000 metres, is now under way.
Mineralization at La Joya is contained within at least nine sub-vertical, near east-west-striking, structurally controlled stockwork zones. The zones are semi-continuous along strike and are 15 to 50 metres wide. Interpreted as secondary to the stockwork mineralization, there are also at least 14 nearly horizontal skarn zones within the resource area.
SilverCrest picked up the La Joya property just over a year ago, with an agreement to pay local vendors US$2.68 million over three years for the 5.2-sq.-km western portion of La Joya, and US$1.5 million for the 11-sq.-km eastern portion. The vendors retain a 2% net smelter return royalty on both sections of the property.
Historic work on La Joya was conducted mainly by Luismin SA de CV.
The property also holds lead, zinc, tungsten and molybdenum mineralization, which SilverCrest is evaluating as potential byproducts.
The property is located close to several producing mines, including Grupo Mexico‘s San Martin mine and First Majestic Silver‘s (FR-T) La Parrilla.
SilverCrest’s flagship project is its Santa Elena silver and gold mine in Sonora state, Mexico, where commercial production began in mid-2011. Full production will see Santa Elena produce 600,000 oz. of silver and 35,000 oz. gold annually over its 6.5-year mine life. The company plans to expand the operation to 3,500 tonnes per day from a current rate of 2,500 tonnes per day.
Shares in SilverCrest traded flat on the resource news at around $2.05 apiece. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $1.07-2.26 and the company has 87.1 million shares outstanding.
Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the resource in the first sentence as 100,000 silver-equivalent oz.