Coeur Mining, Inc. provided an update on encouraging results from its expanded Palmarejo and Kensington exploration programs. The primary objectives of these recently accelerated programs are to (i) discover and delineate additional adjacent, high-grade resources near current operations and (ii) upgrade higher-grade resources to reserves to extend mine life. Drilling at these two properties comprised approximately two-thirds of the Company’s total year-to-date (through September 30, 2017) exploration expense of $22.4 million ($15.0 million expensed, $7.4 million capitalized). Since the second half of 2016, exploration levels at Palmarejo have increased 88% while Kensington’s exploration expenditures have nearly tripled.
“Given the high relative success rates of near-mine drilling at deposits with significant untapped potential like Palmarejo and Kensington, we believe allocating higher levels of capital to exploration at these two operations makes strong strategic sense. Both of these properties have been historically under-drilled and we are generating new discoveries and positive results after only eighteen months of funding these higher levels of investment,” said Mitchell J. Krebs, Coeur’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “At Palmarejo, we have made seven new, high-grade discoveries located near existing underground infrastructure. At Kensington, we are working to expand higher-grade areas such as Jualin and Raven that have the potential to yield higher margin production and cash flow. At both operations, we see excellent potential to meaningfully expand and upgrade our resource base over the next several years and, as a result, expect to maintain these elevated exploration investment levels.”
- Exploration of deeper portions of Kensington Main continues to indicate an expansion of the zone’s resource – Drill results included 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) at 0.62 oz/t (21.1 g/t) gold and 2.3 feet (0.7 meters) at 1.66 oz/t (56.9 g/t) gold from Block M. Coeur has subsequently added new drill stations and resumed drilling in the adjacent Block L.
- At Jualin, two rigs have been active from underground focused on upgrading existing resources and two have been drilling from surface – While the majority of holes are still pending assay results from the 2017 exploration program, results from 2016 include 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) of 4.48 oz/t (153.6 g/t) gold and 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) with 6.68 oz/t (229.0 g/t) gold. Portions of Jualin Vein #4 are believed to continue at depth and to the northeast based on current drill results.
- Drilling has resumed on the nearby Raven vein, where high-grade narrow-vein mining continues to augment Kensington’s overall production – Results include 5.0 feet (1.5 meters) of 3.23 oz/t (110.7 g/t) gold.
Since June, two rigs have actively drilled Jualin from the underground and two from the surface. The two underground rigs focused on infill drilling and conversion of inferred resource of Jualin Vein #4. These programs have since been completed and a reserve estimate at Jualin is expected to be included in the updated Kensington technical report anticipated during the first quarter of 2018.
The two rigs drilling from surface remain focused on expansion of the Jualin resource. Initial planned holes were designed to test for extensions of Vein #4, with a secondary priority of testing extensions of Veins #2 and #3 above Vein #4. Drill results from Veins #2 and #3 have demonstrated additional resource potential. Several holes were deepened to test the deepest known structure, Vein #5. Preliminary results have suggested grades and thicknesses of mineralization similar to those of Vein #4.
In 2018, the Company anticipates reducing the number of drill rigs at Kensington as production at Jualin ramps up. The focus of Kensington’s exploration program is expected to shift to zones in both upper and lower Kensington Main, with additional drilling at the Raven vein. Specifically, infill drilling and resource conversion will target Zone 30 in upper Kensington, while resource expansion drilling will continue to focus on Block L of lower Kensington.Coeur Mining, Inc. is a well-diversified, growing precious metals producer with six mines in the Americas employing approximately 2,300 people. Coeur’s wholly-owned operations include the Palmarejo silver-gold complex in Mexico, the Silvertip silver-zinc-lead mine in British Columbia, 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. In addition, the Company owns the La Preciosa project in Mexico, a silver-gold exploration stage project. Coeur conducts exploration activities in North America.