Featured Image: El Pinguico Property. “…rich shoots are seldom found in nature to recur so often in any mine as they are found here.” ~ Professor Robert T. Hill c.1906 (Photo: Vangold Mining, 2020)
This week I chatted to James Anderson, CEO of VanGold Mining (TSXV:VGLD, OTC:VGLDF) about their 100%-owned El Pinguico silver-gold project. Located 7km southeast of UNESCO world heritage site, Guanajuato city, the project resides in a recognised but under-appreciated silver-rich district with a long history of mining. VanGold, James hopes, will be one of the first modern companies to unravel the true potential of the area.
El Pinguico’s story actually begins during the latter half of the 19th century. Historic mining targeted two main high-grade epithermal Ag-Au-bearing veins, El Pinguico and El Carmen, which are suspected to be splays of the regionally significant and well-endowed Veta Madre (Mother Vein). The current geological model suggests that Veta Madre intersects the El Pinguico property at approximately 500m depth due to its 40-45° westward dip (Figure 1).
The historic mine workings have proven a vastly significant exploration tool for VanGold, especially as grades of interest only appear at around 100m depth. The mine is accessible via two adit levels, although one is still being cleared and stabilised. It is within these adits, up to 25m either side of the El Pinguico shaft, that they carried out their recent and might I say successful channel sampling program on vein exposures.
Assays returned earlier this month boast some “pretty darn good” grades (See NR linked below), in James’ words. Encouraging, considering underground drilling will commence in just over a month and continue at surface early next year. Highlights include 1.75 g/t Au and 629.6 g/t Ag over 1.6m and 4.59 g/t Au and 465.9 g/t Ag over 1.2m.
You might wonder, if El Pinguico was historically mined, how much good stuff can really be left? The answer here is a lot. Historic reports, carefully translated to modern lingo, estimate a historic cut off grade of 15 g/t Au Eq, so anything below that, theoretically, is still in the ground.
Underground drilling will extend, in a feat of impressive logistics, to a maximum of around 200m and will test the mineralisation in several directions (Figure 2). A key understanding from the drill campaign will be characterisation of the mineralogy. This enhancement of the geological model will allow VanGold to begin to fully understand the geological complexity of El Pinguico and pull out the true relationship between the regionally extensive Veta Madre and smaller, wealthy perpendicular veins. This level of understanding will have implications for exploration in the wider district too and could help generate targets throughout the epithermal system.
Today there are several current operations in the area (Figure 3), although the evident potential at El Pinguico and in Guanajuato remains underappreciated. Why you might wonder?
James suggests it could be the reluctance of modern mining companies to target narrow, although high-grade, vein deposits. They are harder to define in terms of a comprehensive resource estimate and therefore it is harder to ‘predict’ a life of mine above a few years. Essentially, it could be harder to raise finance. However, this is only because of the need for dense (i.e. expensive) drilling and nothing to do with the potential of such deposits. Indeed, mines in the Guanajuato region have been operating for over a century including the significant Valenciana mine.
Today we aren’t just recognising El Pinguico. VanGold’s country manager Gerardo Dorado Cantu has been appointed President of The College of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, Guanajuato chapter. Mr. Cantu and his son were responsible for vending El Pinguico to VanGold, and since then their hard work has allowed them to quickly advance to the stage they are at today. Additionally, VanGold have just hired Gabriela Ponce as El Pinguico’s project geologist. Ms. Ponce has worked in Guanajuato since she graduated from the University of Guanajuato in 2007, and her experience in underground drilling will provide immense value to operations at El Pinguico.
Talking to James I realise that VanGold take pride in not just potential but in their people, certainly a company philosophy I can get behind.
All information in the above article is taken from the Vangold Mining website (see below) and materials within, as well as personal communications with James Anderson (CEO & Chairman, Vangold Mining).
https://bit.ly/2SJrgVr (NI 43 101)
Recent News Releases: https://bit.ly/34NvMb0 (Channel Sampling)
Spotlight on Vangold: https://bit.ly/2GG6S5d