SilverCrest Metals (TSX: SIL) has acquired a 100% interest in the 71-sq.-km El Picacho property, located 40 km northeast of its flagship Las Chispas silver-gold development project in the state of Sonora, Mexico.
SilverCrest paid US$1.6 million to American Metal Mining (a private company) and its affiliate, in addition to the required taxes to bring the 11 mining concessions to good standing.
There are seven known low-sulphidation epithermal veins at Picacho, with additional structures in the hangingwalls and footwalls. The main veins cover a total strike length of over 10 km, with widths between 0.5 metre and 15 metres. El Picacho is the most explored vein at the site, with a historic resource estimate of 360,000 tonnes at 8.5 grams per tonne gold and 40 grams per tonne silver (677 grams per tonne silver-equivalent).
In 2017, SilverCrest completed underground channel sampling at El Picacho. Ten samples, extracted over 50 metres of strike, suggest an average true width of 6 metres, with grades of 13.66 grams per tonne gold and 50.8 grams per tonne silver. Bottle roll tests suggest composite recoveries of over 90% for both gold and silver.
A related press release notes that “depending on drilling success, [Picacho] may be considered as either a standalone mine or a satellite project for additional mill feed to Las Chispas…”
While Picacho has generated both gold and silver historically, reliable production records are not available. First production took place in the late nineteenth century, and artisanal mining has been ongoing at the site for the last 100 years.
More recently, in 2012, Yamana Gold (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) drilled 100 holes at the site. Highlight intercepts from the El Picacho vein include 15 metres of 4.19 gram per tonne gold and 6.4 gram per tonne silver (321 gram per tonne silver-equivalent); and 7 metres of 3 gram per tonne gold and 6.8 gram per tonne silver (232 gram per tonne silver-equivalent).
N. Eric Fier, the company’s chief executive, notes in the press release that SilverCrest first considered acquiring the asset back in 2016, as part of its “regional exploration program on search of a new district containing multiple precious metal epithermal veins.”
Fier added that the El Picacho vein, which is the best-known mineralized structure at the site, can be accessed through an underground decline.
SilverCrest expects to start drilling at Picacho by year-end, once the required drill permits are in hand. Additional mapping, sampling and surveying are also scheduled for the project. Initial drilling is expected to focus on twinning prior intercepts within the defined high-grade areas, as well as expanding this footprint and drilling near-surface.
SilverCrest is currently developing the Las Chispas project, with a feasibility expected by the end of 2020.