Goldcorp reported in early May 2010 that Goldcorp subsidiaries had entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Escobal silver deposit in Guatemala to Tahoe Resources Inc., a private company headed by former Goldcorp president and CEO Kevin McArthur. Under the terms of the agreement, Goldcorp will receive total consideration of $505 million, consisting of Tahoe shares representing a 40% ownership position in Tahoe following Tahoe’s proposed initial public offering of common shares in Canada and the balance in cash of at least $230 million, depending on the final results of the offering.
The Escobal discovery is located in southern Guatemala, approximately 120 km east of Goldcorp’s Marlin mine and 70 km west of its Cerro Blanco development project. Following an initial discovery of high-grade silver in mid-2007, 47,300 m of diamond drilling in 180 holes has outlined a high-grade silver deposit that as of December 31, 2009, had an indicated resource of 130.1 million oz and an additional inferred resource of 187.5 million oz. Grades average 580 g/mt silver for the indicated resource and 443 g/mt silver for the inferred resource.
Aurizon Mines and Typhoon Exploration have formed an exploration joint venture to develop Typhoon’s Fayolle project 10 km north of Aurizon’s Joanna project in Quebec, Canada. Typhoon has spent approximately $10 million advancing the project since 2003. The mineralized zones on the Fayolle deposit are distributed along a major shear corridor approximately 2.5 km long by 1 km wide that is marked by intensive carbonate alteration and local gold enrichment associated with finely disseminated pyrite. The grade is highly variable inside the favorable corridor, ranging from 0.1-g/mt anomalies to concentrations of up to 100 g/mt in individual drilling samples. Down dip, the mineralization remains open at depth.
Aurizon can earn a 50% interest in the Fayolle project, subject to an underlying 2% net smelter royalty, by incurring expenditures of $10 million over four years, of which $3.5 million is a firm commitment to be spent within two years. Aurizon can earn an additional interest of 15%, for a total interest of 65%, by either delivering a feasibility study or spending an additional $15 million on the project.
(www.aurizon.com and www.explorationtyphoon.com)
Bendigo Mining, which produces gold at its Henty and Kangaroo Flat mines in Australia, is investing A$3.5 million to acquire a 20% shareholding in GoldStone Resources, a West African gold exploration company. In a May 7, 2010, press release, Bendigo said, “The business fit between the two companies is strong as GoldStone wishes to remain an African gold explorer and does not seek to become an operator, whereas Bendigo’s goal is to gain access to new discoveries and production opportunities in West Africa.”
GoldStone’s key asset is the Homase project in the Ashanti gold belt in Ghana, where GoldStone may earn up to an 85% interest. The project has a 282,608-oz gold resource, estimated in accordance with JORC guidelines, beneath and along strike from the Homase main pit. The now-abandoned pit was mined by AngloGold Ashanti in 2002 and 2003.
Other GoldStone assets include the Manso Amenfi license in Ghana, which GoldStone believes is prospective as it lies along a trend of intense artisanal gold mining and in a similar belt of rocks to Perseus’s Ayanfuri gold deposit, located some 50 km to the northeast. The company also has a 471-km² exploration license in Senegal near the border with Guinea. The ground is to the south of Randgold’s license containing the 3.4-million-oz Masawa discovery and along trend from the Sabodala, Yatela and Sadiola gold mines.
(www.bnml.com.au and www.goldstoneresources.com)
Soltoro Ltd. has reported an indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate for the Las Bolas mineral deposit on its 100%-owned El Rayo silver-gold project in Jalisco, Mexico. At a cut-off grade of 40 g/mt silver, the indicated resource is 9.5 million mt at an average grade of 76.3 g/mt silver, containing approximately 23.2 million oz of silver, and the inferred resource is 1.8 million mt at an average grade of 68.9 g/mt silver, containing approximately 4.1 million oz of silver. The mineral resource estimate is NI 43-101 compliant and is based on a total of 12 diamond drill core holes and 72 reverse circulation holes.
The Las Bolas deposit consists of a northeast trending, 40° northwest dipping body that is approximately 40 m thick and that extends down dip from surface to more than 200 m below the surface and 800 m along strike. A 15,000-m reverse circulation drill program is continuing in order to expand the oxide silver and oxide gold resources around historical mine areas.