SilverCrest Mines announced initial results of exploration drilling at the El Durazno target within the Ermitaño I concession in Sonora, Mexico. Nine shallow holes, totaling an estimated 2,656 m, have been completed. The objective was to initially test surface mineralization for potential open-pit targets. El Durazno is the first of several targets identified by surface work to be drilled in the Ermitaño I and II and Cumobabi concessions.

“This is the first known exploration drilling within the Ermitaño concessions,” said Eric Fier, president and COO. “This drilling has resulted in the discovery of near surface gold and silver mineralization at El Durazno, which we believe confirms a potential low-grade oxide open-pit target. Since it is adjacent to the company’s Santa Elena facilities, which includes leach pad capacity, small lower grade discoveries can potentially become economic deposits.”

The Ermitaño I and II concessions are located within an 8-km radius of the company’s high-grade epithermal silver and gold producing Santa Elena mine.

Shortly after the discovery, SilverCrest announced that Fier would be taking a partial leave of absence to deal with certain matters of personal health. Dunham L. Craig has been appointed interim president and will assume the president’s responsibilities on a temporary basis. Fier will remain as COO and director of SilverCrest until such time as he is able to return to his duties on a full-time basis. The company’s succession plan has Fier stepping into the CEO position upon J. Scott Drever’s anticipated retirement as CEO in the coming year, which is now expected to coincide with Fier’s return. As a result, the company has embarked on a search for a new full-time president.