Golden Minerals Company (TSX and NYSE American: AUMN) is a Colorado-based precious metals junior gold-silver producer with a pipeline of exploration projects that offers investors leverage to silver and gold prices.
We seek to establish Golden Minerals Company as a premier mid-tier precious metals mining company, with efforts focused on properties in Mexico, Argentina and Nevada (USA). We own or control a portfolio of precious metals projects -- including the Velardeña Properties and Rodeo gold open pit mine in Durango State, Mexico; El Quevar, an advanced exploration silver project with district potential located in the Salta province of Argentina; the Yoquivo silver-gold district-scale project in Chihuahua, Mexico; the Sarita Este gold-copper prospect in Salta, Argentina; and additional projects located within the traditional silver-producing areas of Mexico.
In January 2021, we transitioned from exploration company to gold-silver producer with the commencement of production at our Rodeo project in Durango State, Mexico. Rodeo generated over $12.3 million in 2021 net operating margin and $5.7 million in 2022 net operating margin. Rodeo is expected to conclude mining operations in the second quarter of 2023, after which time we will have a stockpile of lower grade material that could be processed in the future, depending on metals prices.
In June 2021, we began limited-scale mining activities at our Velardeña underground mine (Durango State, Mexico) to obtain further bulk samples for use in final optimization of a bio-oxidation (BIOX™) plant design and for use in additional flotation separation studies (BIOX is a trademark of Metso-Outotec for its proprietary bio-oxidation process.). Test results using the BIOX pre-treatment oxidation process continue to support the use of the technology in future processing at Velardeña. In March 2022 we filed an updated PEA Technical Report Summary and 43-101 Technical Report supporting a possible economic operation at Velardeña using the optimized flotation parameters, BIOX treatment of pyrite concentrates and employing resue mining techniques to control dilution. In May 2022 we began additional test-mining activities with a new mining contractor to evaluate productivity and dilution of resue mining on the principal veins accessible from the San Mateo decline in part to validate the PEA assumptions. The results of the test mining met expected productivity metrics but did not meet anticipated dilution metrics on some of the veins mined. We continued to evaluate modified mine plans and mining techniques to address dilution issues including new test work on automated ore sorting.
However in early 2023, we announced that the terms for the sale of our gold-rich pyrite concentrates had improved significantly over previously-available terms. We believe that the recently improved terms allow us to consider moving forward with the re-opening of the Velardeña Properties’ mines without the need to build the BIOX plant, as previously contemplated. Internal cash flow models using the new concentrate sales terms now yield results only slightly less attractive than models using BIOX treatment; however, the new models require very low capital investment and so are much less risky to implement. We are now evaluating plans to restart production at Velardeña as soon as the third quarter 2023 without the need for the BIOX facility.
In March 2023, we restarted our flotation plant (Plant I) to process 3,000 tonnes of mineralized material that had been stockpiled during the test mining in 2022. Under the new concentrate sales terms, subsequent to March 31, 2023, 342 tonnes of gold-pyrite concentrate and 40 tonnes of silver-lead concentrate have been sold under an offtake agreement. The three shipments that have been completed subsequent to March 31, 2023 generated cash receipts of approximately $1.1 million. There is one remaining shipment of approximately similar tonnages to each of the previous three that is expected to be completed during May 2023. These successful sales of concentrates on the improved terms have caused us to shift our efforts towards a restart of Velardeña without the requirement of constructing and using the BIOX technology.
Separately, in Q1 2023 an initial mineral resource study was completed for our Yoquivo silver-gold project (Chihuahua State, Mexico) that estimates an inferred resource of 937,000 tonnes at 570 g/t Ag eq (equivalent ounces are calculated using prices of $1,840/oz Au and $24.00/oz Ag) on five veins that had enough drill density to support mineral resources. Numerous other veins on the property have yet to be drilled sufficiently to allow estimation of additional resources.
We are led by a team of accomplished and driven management and directors whose decades of multi-faceted experience -- encompassing areas including mining exploration, development, operations and accounting -- combine to provide strong strategic direction for the company. Our team is united in working toward realizing Golden’s vision.
We seek to execute our vision through our plans for:
SAFETY – We value the safety of all our team members, and we provide them with training and support to mitigate risks that are inherent to the industry.
TRANSPARENCY – We seek to be open and accountable to all our stakeholders, and to provide clear communications about our operations, policies and programs.
INTEGRITY – We behave ethically and honestly, and we respect the laws and customs of the areas in which we operate.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP – We develop strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the communities in which we conduct business, and we take steps to both minimize our impact on the environment and maximize restoration of local ecosystems.
INCLUSION – We foster an environment of inclusion where all are welcome and encouraged to collaborate in order to achieve company goals.