Mining and mineral exploration in the U.S. has been on an uptick in recent years, thanks to higher gold and silver prices, and an easing in some regulatory burdens. Here’s a look at 10 companies involved in mining or mineral exploration in the United States.
Toronto-based junior silver miner Americas Silver (TSX: USA; NYSE-AM: USAS) has two operating mines in Mexico and Idaho, plus a development project in Mexico, and ranks as one of the lowest-cost silver producers globally.
In Mexico, Americas Silver achieved commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2017 at its San Rafael silver-zinc-lead mine, which is part of its wider Cosala operations in Sinaloa State.
In Idaho, the company has its Galena silver-lead mine and mill complex.
In 2018, from the two mines, Americas Silver reported consolidated production of 6.3 million equivalent oz. silver, plus 1.4 million oz. silver, or a 32% increase and 31% decrease, compared to fiscal 2017. Consolidated all-in sustaining costs were US$9.82 per oz. silver, in a 28% decrease year-over-year.
“The fourth quarter of 2018 was the best production quarter, and representative of expected production going forward, with San Rafael reaching targeted throughput levels, and improved operating performance at Galena in 2019,” said Darren Blasutti, president and CEO of Americas Silver.
In Mexico’s Sonora State, Americas Silver has its San Felipe silver-lead-zinc development project — a high-grade past producer acquired by Hochschild in 2006, which spent US$45 million on the asset.
Americas Silver is merging with Pershing Gold in a deal that should close soon.
AMERICAN CUMO MINING
Vancouver-based American CuMo Mining (TSXV: MLY; US-OTC: MLYCF) describes itself as being “directed by industry experts, with more than 260 years of combined environmental policy, regulation, permitting, compliance, geological exploration, mine planning and sustainable development expertise.”
The junior is advancing two grassroots projects in Idaho: the large, wholly owned CuMo copper-molybdenum project, and its newly acquired Calida gold project.
In the CuMo project near Boise, the firm says it has “discovered one of the largest deposits of molybdenum, copper, silver, tungsten and rhenium in North America,” and it is advancing it towards feasibility with the goal of being “one of the world’s largest and lowest-cost primary producers of molybdenum.”
In Calida (the Spanish word for “warm”), CuMo Mining has picked up a property located south of the town of Salmon within the Mormon Canyon area. The property includes 53 unpatented lode mining claims, with “numerous old producing mines both surface and underground, having produced from seven separate shear zones containing important quantities of gold, silver and copper.”
Barksdale Capital (TSXV: BRO; US-OTC: BRKCF) is a base and precious metals exploration company based in Vancouver. The company’s flagship project is called “Sunnyside,” and is next to South32’s newly acquired Taylor-Hermosa zinc-lead-silver-copper deposit in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
Barksdale says Sunnyside “represents a potentially world-class, advanced-stage exploration asset,” and that it has a “robust treasury and a tight share structure, allied with strong institutional support.”
During 2018, Barksdale carried out reconnaissance geological mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysical surveying to generate targets for further fieldwork and proposed drilling this year.
In January, Barksdale closed a non-brokered private placement with Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR), with Barksdale issuing 5.83 million shares at 60¢ per share for $3.5 million in gross proceeds. There are 38,489,686 Barksdale shares outstanding, with Osisko owning 15.2%.
BUNKER HILL MINING
Toronto-based junior Bunker Hill Mining (CSE: BNKR; US-OTC: BHLL) says it is “uniquely positioned to redevelop one of the largest zinc-lead-silver deposits in the Americas not in production.” Its flagship asset is an option to acquire the dormant Bunker Hill mine in northern Idaho’s Silver Valley.
Historic reserves and resources at Bunker Hill stand at 9.1 million tons (8.3 million tonnes) grading 5.08% zinc, 2.35% lead and 1.29 oz. silver per ton.
Management says there is “near-term access to at least seven years of mineable material at 1,500 tons [1,400 tonnes] per day,” with the highest-grade zones running at more than 20% combined lead and zinc.
Bunker Hill says the area has excellent infrastructure, with paved road access, low-cost power, water, skilled labour and mining services. It says Idaho is “mining friendly and a ‘right-to-work’ state.”
Bunker Hill ran into trouble in October 2018, when it reported it was “in default of its lease with an option-to-purchase agreement with Placer Mining Corp., the lessor of the Bunker Hill mine.”
By November, the lease had been reinstated and Bunker Hill had closed a $484,000 private placement for the Bunker Hill project.
Wayne Parsons has since joined Bunker Hill as a director, after helping negotiations to reinstate the lease.
CALIFORNIA GOLD MINING
Toronto-based junior California Gold Mining (TSXV: CGM; US-OTC: CFGMF) is advancing its wholly owned, flagship Fremont high-grade gold project in central California.
The property is 150 km east of San Francisco in relatively pro-development Mariposa County, on 14 sq. km of patented land in the prolific Mother Lode gold belt that has historically produced over 50 million oz. gold.
Total open-pit resources calculated in 2016 stand at 17.2 million indicated and inferred tonnes grading 1.60 grams gold per tonne, for 879,000 contained oz. gold.
The company acquired the property in 2013, and as of mid-2018 had carried out four drilling phases totalling 16,100 metres, and preliminary metallurgical testing showing 93% recoveries from an oxide cap, and 86% from sulphide zones.
The company is led by president and CEO Vishal Gupta, a geologist and former mining equity analyst.
Goldcliff Resource (TSXV: GCN; US-OTC: GCFFF) sees itself as a “mine-development company focused on near-term cash flow by applying the phased production business model to precious metals assets.”
The Vancouver-based junior is funding engineering and permitting on the Pine Grove gold project in Lyon County, Nev., in which it has a 40% joint-venture interest, and is being developed by operator Lincoln Mining.
Goldcliff recently raised $350,000 by issuing a convertible promissory note to George Sanders — Goldcliff’s president and CEO — that is convertible into common shares at 7¢ per share until January 9, 2020, and bearing interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum, payable semi-annually.
Proceeds are earmarked for working capital and for permitting activities at Pine Grove. Goldcliff is earning its 40% interest by spending US$1.4 million over three years.
Pine Grove is comprised of two deposits — Wilson and Wheeler — which host cumulative measured and indicated resources of 3.1 million tonnes grading 1.37 grams gold per tonne at a 0.24 gram gold cut-off grade.
Major gold miner Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC) produced 2.5 million oz. gold equivalent in 2018 from the three regions: the Americas (80% of output); Russia (20%); and West Africa (20%).
In the U.S., Kinross has three gold mines: Fort Knox in Alaska, Round Mountain in Nevada and Bald Mountain in Nevada.
Fort Knox is one of Kinross’ largest producing mines, and Kinross considers it one of its “centres of excellence,” as one of the few cold-weather, heap-leach facilities in the world. In 2016, the open-pit mine poured its 7-millionth ounce of gold, 20 years into its mine life.
Kinross is proceeding with the Gilmore pit-expansion project at Fort Knox, which should extend Fort Knox’s mine life to 2030. The company says early construction work began in the recent third quarter, with initial production from Gilmore expected in early 2020.
In January 2016, Kinross acquired the 50% of Round Mountain it did not already own from Barrick Gold, consolidating ownership in what it calls one of its “best-run and established mines.” Kinross is also carrying out a pit expansion project at Round Mountain that will add five years of mine life and 1.5 million oz. gold of production.
In October 2018, Kinross acquired 50% of the Bald Mountain joint venture zone from Barrick Gold to consolidate ownership to the 100% level in the Bald Mountain property, which Kinross says is the largest private mining land package in the United States.
McEwen Mining (TSX: MUX; NYSE: MUX) is on the cusp of first production at its new Gold Bar gold mine project in north-central Nevada’s prolific Battle Mountain-Cortez trend, with the company confirming that commercial production will begin by March, just 14 months after breaking ground in November 2017.
In a Feb. 5 update, McEwen said the project is on track to achieve the original US$81.4-million capital cost estimate, and that 150,000 tons ore have been placed on the heap-leach pad since starting in December 2018.
Leaching started in January, and gold is being dissolved by the cyanide solution at the desired rate.
McEwen says the Gold Bar mine will produce 55,000 oz. gold in 2019 at an all-in cost of US$975 per oz. gold, but said December and January “were challenging months on-site, with heavy snow and cold temperatures delaying some work.”
Other activities to finish the process plant include electrical work, instrumentation installation and commissioning the gold refinery circuit.
McEwen reported that exploration drilling last year extended the estimated mine life to 7.4 years, and adding the Gold Bar South resource to the mine plan should extend the mine life again by at least a year.
Rob McEwen-led McEwen Mining already has three producing mines: its Black Fox gold complex in Ontario’s Timmins district, its mined-out, non-operating El Gallo gold-silver mine in Mexico (where residual leaching will produce gold for several more years) and its 49%-owned, San Jose gold-copper mine in southern Argentina.
Development projects include the Fenix silver-gold project near the El Gallo mine, and the large, low-grade Los Azules copper asset in Argentina’s San Juan province.
NEVADA CLEAN MAGNESIUM
Vancouver-based Nevada Clean Magnesium (TSXV: NVM; US-OTC: MLYFF) says it is focused on “becoming a major U.S. producer and distributor of primary, high-grade, low-cost magnesium metal” extracted from its 100% owned Tami-Mosi property in north-central Nevada.
Based on the company’s National Instrument 43-101-compliant preliminary economic assessment by Wardrop Engineering in 2011, the Tami-Mosi project has an inferred resource of 412 million tonnes grading 12.3% magnesium for a contained metal content of 111 billion lb. magnesium, using a 12% cut-off grade contained within a high-purity dolomite block.
In December, Nevada Clean Magnesium announced that its technical team — under the guidance of engineer James Sever — produced a magnesium ingot from dolomite secured from the Tami-Mosi property.
In January, the firm closed its non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $317,000, comprised of 6.35 million units at 5¢ per unit.
NEVADA ENERGY METALS
Rick Wilson-led Nevada Energy Metals (TSXV: BFF; US-OTC: SSMLF) is a Vancouver-based junior on the hunt for brine lithium projects in Nevada.
The company’s chief asset is its Clayton Valley BFF-1 lithium property, located 250 metres from Albemarle’s Silver Peak lithium mine and brine processing operations.
Nevada Energy Metals says the broader Clayton Valley’s central location in Nevada and its highways, access to power, water and labour provide excellent infrastructure for mineral exploration and development.
In January, the junior closed a financing that raised a gross $324,000.