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Significant mineralisation potential discovered at La Colorada

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Yesterday, Pan American Silver Corp. has made a major exploration discovery at its La Colorada mine in Mexico. Successful exploration drilling at La Colorada has discovered wide zones of mineralisation below the current production levels: high-grade mineralisation in limestone replacement mantos and thick intercepts of skarn mineralisation at depth.

"These are extraordinary exploration results for our La Colorada mine, indicating the potential to substantially expand mineral resources, mine life and ultimately production capacity," said Christopher Emerson, Pan American Silver's Vice President Business Development and Geology.

"Following the most recent mine expansion completed in 2017, we have renewed our exploration efforts at La Colorada, and these recent discoveries validate the important exploration potential of this mine."

The company will invest an additional US$2.5 million in exploration drilling at La Colorada over the remainder of 2018, and will budget a major drilling programme for 2019, which is expected to result in a first resource estimate later in 2019. Larger underground drill rigs capable of drilling longer holes have now been mobilised.

To date, 15 drill holes have been completed from three underground locations for a total of 6080 m of drilling. All holes intersected vein and manto mineralisation, while substantial lengths of polymetallic skarn mineralisation were intersected in six holes, with each of the three deepest ending in mineralisation. 

The skarn mineralisation comprises coarse sphalerite, galena and chalcopyrite within a classic skarn mineral assemblage, which has similar characteristics to mineralisation at other large Mexican skarn deposits, such as the nearby San Martin and Sabinas mines. The current drill holes cover a horizontal area of approximately 400 m by 200 m, delineating skarn and manto zones that are open laterally and at depth.

Drilling will continue with three rigs for the remainder of 2018 from the 498 and 528 levels, which are current production levels at the mine (the level numbers indicate metres below the surface). Manto mineralisation is located between the 600 and 800 levels, while skarn mineralisation starts around level 800 and descends to at least the 1200 level in hole U-39-18. All three holes intersecting the deep skarn ended in mineralisation due to capacity restrictions of the drill equipment.

The La Colorada mine is 100%-owned and operated by Pan American Silver, and is the company's largest silver producing mine. The company expects the mine to produce 7.4 to 7.7 million oz of silver in 2018, as per guidance as of 8 August 2018.

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