Argentina-focused Golden Arrow Resources Corp (CVE:GRG) had much to celebrate in 2016 and the progress looks set to continue this year.
Shares in the metals explorer surged as much as 600% in the year and its market cap expanded to around $75mln from around $13mln at the start of 2016.
Chinchillas was a big growth driver
A big driver of growth was progress at the firm's Chinchillas Silver deposit in Jujuy province, which it is steadily advancing towards production.
Pre-development has been funded by fellow mining group Silver Standard Resources Inc, with which it is a strategic partner to consider creating a combined mining firm with Silver Standard's Pirquitas mine - just 35 km from Chinchilla.
Golden Arrow would be a 25% owner.
Chinchillas hosts a resource of 100 million ounces of silver in the higher confidence measured and indicated categories and 44 million ounces silver /90 million ounces of silver equivalent in inferred.
Two drills have been working to complete detailed geomechanical and hydrogeological programs in and around the designed open pit.
In September, the firm posted drilling results from a phase VI programme, which included grades between 23 and 367 grams per tonne silver as well as lead and zinc. The programme consisted of 21 holes and there is potential to expand the current resource.
2016 saw extensive work
Just before the Christmas break the firm outlined the extensive work last year: "As of the end of September, 2016, Silver Standard has invested around $11mln to advance the project toward prefeasibility.
"In 2016, work completed included a phase VI drill program, an upgraded resource estimate, metallurgical studies, engineering studies, environmental monitoring and community relations programs. the environmental report, which is the major mine permit application, was submitted to the authorities in September."
Next on then cards for Chinchillas would be a development decision.
Antofalla also in the frame
In October, Golden Arrow started a C$2mln work programme on the Antofalla silver-gold-base metal project after it signed an option agreement for the project in July last year.
The deal is for a 100% earn-in option on 8,760 hectares with payments over five years and low 1% NSR (net smelter royalty). Historical drilling results include 18 metres at 128 g/t silver, 0.23 g/t gold and 0.88% lead in historic drilling.
The work includes remote sensing, IP/Resistivity geophysics, and geochemical sampling to establish targets that will be tested with an estimated 3km drill programme.
Also in Argentina, the firm aims to identify further precious and base metal projects with the potential for world class discovery.
A specialist in Argentina
Golden Arrow is a member of the Grosso Group, which has been a pioneer in the Argentine mining industry since 1993 when the country opened to foreign investment.
Before Chinchillas, the Group had two major discoveries under their belt – the Navidad Silver deposit now held by Pan American Silver and the Gualcamayo deposit which is now with Yamana (TSX: YRI)(NYSE: AUY).
Vice president of exploration Brian McEwen has told an interview it's an exciting time for the group.
"With the Silver Standard deal at Chinchillas we are positioned to move from explorer to producer in a very short time frame, and in the meantime we are continuing work on other projects to make our next big discovery – so stayed tuned!"