CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coeur Mining, Inc. (“Coeur” or the “Company”) (NYSE:CDE) today provided an update on its expanded exploration initiatives at three of its five operating mines. The focus of the Company’s exploration program continues to be upgrading existing, higher-grade resources to reserves and the discovery of new, higher-grade resources located near existing infrastructure that have the potential to further grow the Company’s production and cash flow, reduce unit costs, and extend expected mine lives.
The Company expects to invest a total of $30-$34 million in exploration during 2016, including $14-$16 million for expensed exploration and $16-$18 million for capitalized exploration. This represents an 82% increase over 2015 exploration spending. Of the $30-$34 million expanded exploration budget, approximately 85% is expected to be allocated to drilling at or near the Company’s existing operations and nearly 75% is expected to be invested at the Company’s Palmarejo underground silver-gold mine in Mexico, its Kensington underground gold mine in Alaska, and its Rochester open-pit silver-gold mine in Nevada.
Select highlights from the drilling results at Palmarejo, Kensington and Rochester are included below. For a complete table of all drill results at Palmarejo, Kensington and Rochester during the applicable periods identified in this press release, please refer to the following link:
Exploration efforts have focused on definition drilling to aid in mine
planning at the Independencia underground deposit and on upgrading
existing high-grade inferred resources at the Guadalupe underground
deposit, which are located approximately 800 meters apart and remain
open at depth and along strike.
- Highlights include a recent intercept at the center of Independencia that returned 14.4 feet (4.39 meters, “m”, true thickness) of 84.1 ounces per ton (“oz/t”) silver (2,883 grams per tonne, “g/t”) and 1.14 oz/t gold (39.1 g/t). The same hole also intersected a second vein that returned 6.9 feet (2.1 m) of 23.7 oz/t (811 g/t) silver and 0.30 oz/t gold (10.3 g/t).
- At Guadalupe, highlights include an intercept within mining Block C of 16.4 feet (5.0 m) (true thickness) averaging 15.2 oz/t silver (520 g/t) and 1.35 oz/t gold (46.3 g/t).
- The average reserve grades at Palmarejo at year-end 2015 were 4.94 oz/t silver (169 g/t) and 0.076 oz/t gold (2.61 g/t).
- In the corridor zone between Independencia and Guadalupe, drilling has focused on resource definition of the Los Bancos and Nación-Dana veins and on gaps between the two structures. Both of these zones are near the new decline accessing Independencia and could be more easily developed.
- Drilling will soon commence on the La Bavisa deposit, which is located approximately 1,300 feet (~400 m) northeast of Independencia and was part of the Paramount Gold & Silver land package that was acquired by Coeur in 2015.
- After years of being underexplored following a lengthy permitting process and the Company’s focus on first bringing stability and consistency to Kensington’s operations, the mine’s exploration program is now generating high-grade results from the Kensington Main deposit in addition to making a new discovery in 2015 of the Jualin high-grade deposit. Both areas represent expected near-term high-grade ore sources, which are expected to drive higher future production and cash flow at lower unit costs.
- One notable hole from the Zone 41 gap target in the Kensington Main deposit returned 12.2 feet (3.7 m) of 1.21 oz/t gold (41.5 g/t) (see hole #K16-0910-258-X02 in the table below).
- In the Zone 12 target, one hole intercepted 20.5 feet (6.2 m) of 0.37 oz/t gold (12.7 g/t). Underground drilling at Jualin has also been accelerated following recent underground access to exploration targets. An initial reserve from Jualin #4 – one of five known veins – is expected at year-end. The current resource at Jualin #4 is 179,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 0.619 oz/t gold (21.2 g/t).
- The average reserve grade at Kensington at year-end 2015 was 0.198 oz/t gold (6.79 g/t).
Exploration efforts have focused on in-fill and expansion drilling of
the higher-grade East Rochester expansion to support a revised
economic analysis at year-end 2016 (see February 29, 2016 news release
for full update on East Rochester).
- Of particular note was an intercept from the 2016 drill program of 150 feet (45.6 m) at 4.13 oz/t silver (142 g/t) and 0.013 oz/t gold (0.45 g/t) (see hole ROCR16-1027 in the table below), which are approximately eight times Rochester’s current reserve grades. Another hole returned 400 feet (121.9 m) of 1.2 oz/t silver (41.1 g/t) and 0.007 oz/t gold (0.24 g/t) (see hole ROCR16-1018 in the table below).
- Infill drilling was also completed at West Rochester, the results of which are expected to be included in Coeur’s year-end 2016 reserve statement.
“Near-mine exploration remains a key pillar of our returns-driven growth strategy,” said Mitchell J. Krebs, Coeur’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Prioritizing our drilling efforts in and around our operations where we have existing people, permits, and processing infrastructure offers a higher probability of success and a quicker payback on these investments. Our success-based exploration philosophy, which prioritizes targeting higher grades and rewards tight integration with our operations teams, is generating strong results that we believe will have a positive impact on the Company’s future production profile, mine lives, and cash flow.”
From late March to August 2016:
- At Independencia, a total of 84 core holes have been completed, five from surface focused on resource expansion and 79 from underground focused on infill drilling, for a total of 61,411 feet (18,723 m).
- At Guadalupe, a total of 44 core holes have been completed, focused on resource infill drilling, for a total 27,273 feet (8,313 m) from underground drill stations.
- At Los Bancos, a total of 13 core holes have been completed, focused on resource infill drilling for a total of 8,294 feet (2,528 m) from surface drill stations.
By contrast, in 2015:
- At Independencia, a total of six holes were drilled from surface for 11,618 feet (3,542 m).
- At Guadalupe a total of 25 holes were drilled from surface for 37,818 feet (11,530 m).
- No underground drilling was conducted as the underground drill stations were not set up until late 2015.
Drilling will continue for the remainder of 2016 both underground and on surface at Independencia and Guadalupe with an estimated budget of $5.4 million for the year on expansion of resources and about $6.8 million on infill drilling. Drilling will mainly focus on Independencia for the remainder of 2016 with three drill stations currently active underground and one on surface (a second is being prepared on surface), with one drill station currently active at Guadalupe. By contrast, in 2015, $4.7 million was spent on resource expansion and $2.1 million in resource infill drilling and conversion to reserves.
The recent focus of Palmarejo’s drill program has been to expand the deeper portions of the Guadalupe and Independencia deposits as well as further define the Los Bancos and La Nación-Dana veins, which are located between Guadalupe and Independencia. There are currently six active drill rigs, four of which are being used for both Guadalupe and Independencia underground drilling, and two surface drill rigs that are drilling the northern extension of Independencia vein and the gap between the Los Bancos and Nación veins. Two additional drill rigs are set to begin drilling the Nación-Dana veins and the new La Bavisa vein, located 1,300 feet (~400 meters) east-northeast of Independencia, this quarter, which will bring the total number of active drills at Palmarejo to eight.
Palmarejo’s strongest exploration results are from the central portion of the Independencia deposit along the border of Independencia Este (“East”) and Oeste (“West”). As underground development at Independencia progresses, additional exploration stations are expected to become accessible and will allow for further potential resource conversion and expansion at depth.
Drilling at Guadalupe is currently focused on testing the southern portion of mining block C and northern mining block D. Plans are underway to drill near the South Portal as development progresses and offers access to this area of the deposit. Future underground exploration stations will focus on expanding blocks C and D at depth as well as potential resource conversion and expansion to the south.
|Highlights from Independencia Drilling (March-August 2016)|
|Mineralized Interval (feet)||Assays (oz/short ton)|
|Highlights from Guadalupe Drilling (March-August 2016)|
|Mineralized Interval (feet)||Assays (oz/short ton)|
Kensington’s exploration program continues to focus on potential resource conversion and expansion within the Kensington Main orebody, the nearby Raven vein, and the high-grade Jualin deposit. Drilling at Kensington Main is currently being conducted at four zones – lower Block M and zones 41, 44, and 12 – with a focus on the potential expansion of the Kensington resource down-dip and to the south of the current resource model. In addition, drilling at Raven has targeted the down-plunge extension of a high-grade ore-shoot. A total of 31,586 feet (9,627 m) has been drilled in resource infill with potential to convert to reserve – total budgeted 60,000 feet (18,288 m) with a projected budget for 2016 of $4.6 million. A total of 16,712 feet (5,094 m) has been drilled underground in resource expansion in 2016 – total budgeted 25,000 (7,620 m) feet with a projected budget for 2016 of $4.65 million. By comparison, in 2015 $2.6 million was spent on resource expansion and $1.4 million on resource infill and conversion to reserves.
Coeur has accelerated exploration of the high-grade Jualin deposit following the development of a new exploration station and completing three drill holes targeting the potential upgrade and expansion of the Jualin resource. Surface drilling twinning historic Jualin drill holes began in August with a total of 4,074 feet (1,241.8 m) completed. The surface drill program has six holes for a total of 11,000 feet (~3,350 m) budgeted. A surface, winter drilling program focused on potential expansion of Jualin Vein #4 will begin once the twinning program is completed this fall; this will be the focus of the remainder of the 2016 budget. Vein #4 remains open at depth and extends about 1,000 feet (~305 m) to the south; Vein #5 sits 300 feet (~90 m) below Vein #5 and has similar grade-thicknesses to Vein #4 in 5 out of 6 holes drilled to this depth.
|Highlights from Kensington Main, Jualin Vein #4 and Raven Vein Drilling (2016)|
|Mineralized Interval (feet)|
Rochester’s exploration program has prioritized both in-fill and expansion drilling of the higher-grade East Rochester deposit. A total of 67,760 feet (20,653 m) have been drilled in 79 holes through the end of August 2016 and focused on resource infill and conversion to reserves. A total of 7,060 feet (2,152 m) in seven holes have been completed in resource expansion drilling. Drilling in the existing pit, focused mostly in the West Rochester area, has been conducted to evaluate the potential for additional resource conversion as well as for the discovery of new adjacent mineralized structures. For the remainder of 2016, drilling will focus on the South Pit for both expansion and conversion of resources to reserves. Rochester’s 2016 exploration budget includes $1.25 million for expansion drilling and $3.66 million for resource infill/conversion drilling. By comparison, in 2015 Rochester spent $1.32 million on expansion drilling and $1.60 million on resource infill/conversion drilling.
Priorities for 2017 will include additional in-fill and expansion drilling in those areas expected to be permitted as part of the next planned expansion at Rochester, called POA 11. Additional drilling will be allocated to offset drilling of some of the higher grade mineralized faults encountered and modeled in the 2016 program.
|Highlights from East Rochester Drilling (February-August 2016)|
|Mineralized Interval (feet)||Assays (oz/short ton)|
Coeur Mining is a well-diversified, growing precious metals producer with five precious metals mines in the Americas employing approximately 2,000 people. Coeur produces from its wholly owned operations: the Palmarejo silver-gold complex in Mexico, the Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada, the Kensington gold mine in Alaska, the Wharf gold mine in South Dakota, and the San Bartolomé silver mine in Bolivia. The Company also has a non-operating interest in the Endeavor mine in Australia as well as a royalty interest in Ecuador. In addition, the Company has two silver-gold exploration stage projects – the La Preciosa project in Mexico and the Joaquin project in Argentina. Coeur conducts ongoing exploration activities in Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and Mexico.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation in the United States and Canada, including statements regarding exploration and development efforts, exploration expenditures, drill results, production, growth, reduced unit costs, extended mine lives, investments, cash flow, future projects and mine expansion plans, and resource delineation, expansion and upgrade or conversion. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause Coeur's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the risks and hazards inherent in the mining business (including risks inherent in developing large-scale mining projects, environmental hazards, industrial accidents, weather or geologically related conditions), changes in the market prices of gold and silver and a sustained lower price environment, the uncertainties inherent in Coeur's production, exploratory and developmental activities, including risks relating to permitting and regulatory delays, ground conditions, grade variability, any future labor disputes or work stoppages (including those involving third parties), the uncertainties inherent in the estimation of gold and silver reserves and resources, changes that could result from Coeur's future acquisition of new mining properties or businesses, the loss of access to any third-party smelter to which Coeur markets silver and gold, the effects of environmental and other governmental regulations, the risks inherent in the ownership or operation of or investment in mining properties or businesses in foreign countries, Coeur's ability to raise additional financing necessary to conduct its business, make payments or refinance its debt, as well as other uncertainties and risk factors set out in filings made from time to time with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Canadian securities regulators, including, without limitation, Coeur's most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q. Actual results, developments and timetables could vary significantly from the estimates presented. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Coeur disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additionally, Coeur undertakes no obligation to comment on analyses, expectations or statements made by third parties in respect of Coeur, its financial or operating results or its securities.
Dana Willis, Coeur's Director, Resource Geology and a qualified person under Canadian National Instrument 43-101, supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information concerning Coeur's mineral projects in this news release. For a description of the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate mineral reserves and resources, as well as data verification procedures and a general discussion of the extent to which the estimates may be affected by any known environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other relevant factors, Canadian investors should refer to the Technical Reports for each of Coeur's properties as filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.