Mining in Mexico: Q&A with SilverCrest Mines Inc. (TSX.V: SVL) (NYSE MKT: SVLC)
How Mexico is changing the opportunities for Mining Companies and Investors
Point Roberts, WA / New York, NY - June 14, 2013 (Investorideas.com Mining Stocks Newswire) Investorideas.com, a leader in sector research for independent investors, including mining stocks, presents an exclusive Q&A with SilverCrest Mines Inc. ( TSX.V: SVL ) ( NYSE MKT: SVLC) (CW5.F), a company with its flagship property in the State of Sonora, México.
This interview is part of an ongoing series of articles on investment opportunities within the four countries of the Pacific Alliance, (Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru) with a primary focus on mining and oil and gas stocks.
Scott, can you give investors a brief history of when your company first invested in the Mexico property and why ?
A: J. Scott Drever , Chief Executve Officer, Chairman
SilverCrest had its first major effort in Mexico in 2005 with the acquisition of the Santa Elena project. We transitioned to Mexico from some very bad experiences in Honduras and El Salvador with changing mining laws and concentrated NGO opposition to mining. Mexico on the other hand has turned out to be one of the best jurisdictions for mining of all the countries I have worked in during my rather lengthy career. The relatively untapped potential for economic mineral deposits, decent infrastructure and access along with a pool of qualified people make the country all that more attractive.
Can you give investors a brief update on the reserves and estimates on the Santa Elena Mine, in the State of Sonora, México?
A: J. Scott Drever, Chief Executive Officer
After an extensive program of development drilling over the last 12 months we recently announced new reserve and resource estimates for Santa Elena. Our total probable reserve currently stands at 8.19 million tonnes grading 1.24 gpt gold and 74.9 gpt silver and containing 327,000 ounces of gold and 19.75 million ounces of silver. This should be sufficient reserves for approximately 8 years of production starting in January of 2014 when our new 3000 tonne per day conventional mill should be operational. Of course there are also indicated and inferred resources containing another 188,000 ounces of gold and 15.36 million ounces of silver. We are also making discoveries of additional zones as we continue to explore and develop the underground reserves so we are confident the mine life can be extended beyond the expected 8 years..
The company has announced expansion plans to almost double the annual metals production in 2014 at the Santa Elena Mine. Separate from the company, is there direct benefit back to the State of Sonora and Mexico?
A: J. Scott Drever , Chief Executive Officer
The returns to the local, state and federal governments take the form of corporate taxes, direct and spin off employment benefits, utilization of construction and operating contractors and service and equipment purchases from local suppliers. We currently have approximately 450 people on site engaged in our operations and construction of the mill related facilities. SilverCrest has about 150 direct employees with contractors for operations and construction employing another 300 people nearly all of which are Mexican nationals and all of which pay state, federal and local taxes. Through our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives we provide support for such things as municipal infrastructure, community improvement projects, health care and scholarships for local graduates.
Since you have been involved in Mexico, what have been the biggest obstacles to overcome in mining there ?
A: J. Scott Drever, Chief Executive Officer
Compared to other jurisdictions I have worked in the challenges in Mexico have been minimal. We have had excellent cooperation from all levels of government, there is rule of law where ever we have worked and most importantly the mining law and environmental permitting process are well established. If you do things in a proper manner the permits will be forth coming in a timely manner. SilverCrest’s main challenge in developing the Santa Elena was not anything in Mexico but the dearth of financing options during in the 2008-09 financial crisis.
The intent of the recent formation of the Pacific Alliance( Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru) was to create an environment that is investment friendly and to encourage new business and trade. Do you see improvements that would motivate new companies to enter the mining space, since that is your area of expertise?
A: J. Scott Drever, Chief Executive Officer
I am not terribly familiar with the mandate of the Pacific Alliance nor have I seen any of their specific initiatives. However, from my perspective, based of some fairly subjective information, I would say that Colombia has made some positive progress, most of Mexico is still very attractive for mining projects but I think both Peru and Chile have regressed in terms of creating an attrative environment for mining investment.The recent moves by many governments to secure greater and greater interests in or returns from mining projects without assuming any of the risks is certainly a disincentive to most mining companies.
About SilverCrest Mines Inc.
SilverCrest Mines Inc. (TSX VENTURE: SVL) (NYSE MKT: SVLC) is a Canadian precious metals producer headquartered in Vancouver, BC. SilverCrest's flagship property is the 100%-owned Santa Elena Mine, located 150 km northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in the State of Sonora, México. The mine is a high-grade, epithermal gold and silver producer, with an estimated life of mine cash cost of US$8 per ounce of silver equivalent (55:1 Ag: Au). SilverCrest anticipates that the 2,500 tonnes per day open pit heap leach facility at the Santa Elena mine should recover approximately 625,000 ounces of silver and 33,000 ounces of gold in 2013. An expansion plan, which is centered on the construction of a 3000 tonne per day conventional mill, is well underway to increase the annual metals production in 2014 by about 60% at the Santa Elena Mine (open pit and underground). Exploration programs have rapidly advanced the definition of a large polymetallic deposit at the La Joya property in Durango State with stated resources nearing 200 million ounces of Ag equivalent. www.silvercrestmines.com
About the Pacific Alliance:
The Pacific Alliance is the coalition of four countries with a coastline facing the Pacific Ocean ( Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru), seeking to act as a bloc on topics of trade and investment to ensure open mobilization of goods, services, capital and people. The Alliance was created in April 2011 by the Lima Declaration.
The Alliance is based on the affinity between these countries on matters related to market economy, openness to foreign investment, increased trade strategy and political and economic relations with the Asia-Pacific region.
The four countries that make up the coalition represent about 206 million people (equivalent to the total population of Brazil) and generate a gross domestic product (GDP) of U.S. $ 1.7 billion, equivalent to 34% percent of Latin America, with a GDP per capita of around U.S. $ 11 billion. Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru account for half of the region's foreign trade: U.S. $ 471 billion in exports and $ 453 billion in imports and are recipients of nearly $ 53 billion in FDI 2.
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Note: all content in this Q&A is based on recently reported results from the company.
Contact SilverCrest Mines: Fred Cooper
Telephone: (604) 694-1730 ext. 108
Fax: (604) 694-1761
Toll Free: 1-866-691-1730
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