Great Panther Silver Ltd (TSE:GPR, NYSEMKT:GPL) on Tuesday updated its mineral resource estimate for the Guanajuato mine complex (GMC) in Guanajuato, Mexico.
For the purpose of resource estimation, the GMC includes the operating Guanajuato and San Ignacio Mines and the El Horcon Project, which has the potential to be a satellite operation but is not currently in production.
"Once again, we successfully replaced what we mined at the GMC, and upgraded much of the resource to higher categories", stated Robert Archer, President & CEO.
"Notably, due to permitting delays, the fourth quarter 2016 step-out drilling at San Ignacio started after the effective cut-off date for this Resource Estimate, and the results of that program, which would have added to the Inferred resource, were not included. For 2017, we have more than doubled our drilling budget at the GMC, to 34,500 metres, and will continue our efforts to expand and further define the resource base at the Guanajuato and San Ignacio Mines, and the outlying El Horcon Project."
Estimated Measured Mineral Resources at the GMC increased 22% to 5,564,396 Ag eq oz from the previous Measured Mineral Resource, as San Ignacio Mine Indicated Mineral Resources were developed and categorized as Measured, and a slight increase in the Guanajuato Mine Measured Resource.
Estimated Indicated Mineral Resources at the GMC decreased 12% from the previous Indicated Mineral Resource to 1,581,680 Ag eq oz, due to an upgrade of San Ignacio Mine Indicated Mineral Resources to Measured Mineral Resources, and a slight decrease at the Guanajuato Mine.
The GMC, excluding the El Horcon Project, contains estimated Inferred Mineral Resources of 6,990,004 Ag eq oz, a 38% decrease from the previous Resource, primarily due to the upgrade of the San Ignacio Mine Inferred Resource to an M&I Mineral Resource, and the delay in starting the San Ignacio surface drilling such that the results were not considered for this resource estimate.
Including the El Horcon Project, the GMC contains estimated Inferred Mineral Resources of 9,082,917 Ag eq oz, a 26% decrease from the previous Resource. The El Horcon Project Inferred Mineral Resource increased due to higher metal price assumptions only, as no field work was completed in 2016.
During 2016, exploration at the San Ignacio Mine consisted primarily of underground drilling to better define the Mineral Resource in the Intermediate and Melladito zones. A surface drill program to expand the Mineral Resource started after the effective date of this Mineral Resource and, therefore, has not been included. Development in the period between Mineral Resource effective dates of July 31, 2015 and August 31, 2016, was conducted along the Melladito, Melladito FW, Melladito Splay, Intermediate, and Intermediate 2 zones.
At San Ignacio, plans for 2017 include 8,000 metres of surface exploration drilling along the continuation southeast from the present Mineral Resource to the historic mining areas of San Pedro and Mexiamora and on the sub-parallel Plateros trend. An additional 13,025 metres of underground drilling will focus on converting Inferred Mineral Resources to the Measured and Indicated categories.
At the Guanajuato Mine, underground exploration in 2016 was focused on the Los Pozos, Valenciana, and Guanajuatito areas to increase the Mineral Resource. The focus of exploration in 2017 will be on those three zones and the Promontorio zone. A comprehensive evaluation of historical workings is also being undertaken with emphasis on undeveloped veins with mineralization of economic significance. This will include the Rayas, upper Cata, Los Pozos, Valenciana and Guanajuatito zones.
Along with the Mineral Resource Estimates, the Company also considered Geological Potential at the Guanajuato Mine, which was estimated within ranges for areas that contain pillars and remnant material in historical mining areas with limited topographic control. Geological Potential includes 186,908 - 311,514 tonnes grading between 96 - 137g/t silver and 1.56 - 2.22g/t gold. These areas have often been drilled and evaluated underground by detailed sampling and geological mapping and include the Promontorio area, and parts of Los Pozos and Valenciana areas. Between July 31, 2015 and August 31, 2016, it is estimated that approximately 35% of Guanajuato Mine production came from Geological Potential and other areas outside the Mineral Resource.
The El Horcon Project is located approximately 100 kilometres by paved highway northwest of Guanajuato and is considered to be within trucking distance of the processing Cata Plant. Consequently, it is included in the GMC Mineral Resource Estimate. No work was completed on this project in 2016 but a drill program is budgeted for Q4 2017 to test the continuity of mineralization.