La Herradura, of Fresnillo plc, was placed in the first position among the 10 main mines in Mexico in 2019, according to data from the Mining Chamber of Mexico (Camimex).
In subsequent positions were the mines: the Limón-Guajes, owned by Torex Gold; Pinos Altos-Crestón Mascota (Agnico Eagle Mines), and Los Filos (Equinox Gold).
With information from Inegi, national gold mining production reported a 7.9% decrease in 2019 compared to 2018, reaching a total of 3.5 million ounces.
Other of the largest gold mines in Mexico were: Mulatos (Alamos Gold), Peñasquito (Newmont), Noche Buena (Fresnillo plc), Dolores (Pan American Silver), Palmarejo (Coeur Mining), and San Dimas (First Majestic Silver).
According to Camimex, the relevant events that reduced the growth in gold production in mines in Mexico during 2019 were:
- “Peñasquito”, in Zacatecas, presented a drop of more than half in production (52.6%), due to illegal blockades, the first lasting 49 days in the first half of the year and the second 25 days in the second half of 2019.
- In Chihuahua, “Pinos Altos-Crestón Mascota” had a decrease in its production of 8% compared to the previous year, as a result of lower grades and yields. Pan American Silver also presented a decrease in its “Dolores” mine of 13.9% compared to 2018, due to lower concentrations of the mineral. “Palmarejo”, from Coeur Mining, decreased its production 8.8% as a result of a lower grade of the mineral, although the extraction of its new deposit “La Nación” began.
- In Sonora, “Noche Buena” decreased 23.9% due to lower mineral concentrations. “El Chanate” and “Mulatos” from Alamos Gold presented a decrease in their production of 67.7 and 19.1% respectively. “El Chanate” has been decreasing its production since October 2018, due to the termination of mining activities and the production of residual leaching and “Mulatos” to lower recoveries, as well as the cessation of operations of the underground deposits of “San Carlos” and “La Yaqui Phase I”. For its part, Magna Gold’s “San Francisco” lowered its volumes by 32.5% due to significant changes in its mining plan.
- The “El Gallo 1” mine, owned by McEwen Mining, had a strong reduction of 58.5% in its gold production, reflecting the cessation of operations in mid-2018, its current activity is limited to residual production from leaching.
- At Great Panther Mining’s “Guanajuato” mine, production was reduced by 39.2% due to lower mineral yield; Meanwhile, Endeavor Silver, with its “Bolañitos” mine, had a 30% drop, due to equipment availability problems and delay in the development of the mine, which resulted in the lack of access to the mineral and “El Cubo” closed operations at the end of the year due to the depletion of reserves and resources.
Increased mine production
- In Guerrero, the “Limón-Guajes” mine presented a record in its production with an increase of 28.5% compared to 2018, due to its high operating performance.
- On the other hand, First Majestic, at its “San Dimas” mine, increased its production 61.6%, due to higher grades.
- Other mines with significant increases were: “El Castillo”, by Argonaut Gold, in Durango; “Fresnillo”, from Fresnillo plc, in Zacatecas and “La Colorada”, from Argonaut Gold, in Sonora, with 36.1, 23.6 and 16.0% respectively.
- In Sonora, the “Santa Elena” mine, owned by Mexus Gold US, commercialized its first gold production. This sale completed the production cycle and confirmed that the company is working at full capacity. For its part, Alamos Gold completed the construction of the “Cerro Pelón” mine ahead of schedule and achieved commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2019, including the start-up of the crushing, circuit and conveyor. “Cerro Pelón” is expected to be a significant contributor to the production of “Mulatos” in 2020.