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Exploration Drilling Advances Mineral Reserve Potential at Pan American Silver’s La Colorada Mine

By Friday October 1st, 2021October 12th, 2021Blogs, Industry News

At the Pan American Silver-owned La Colorada Mine, Major Drilling teams continue to advance mineral reserves through exploration drilling. The mine is in Mexico’s Zacatecas region and represents one of the largest silver reserves in Mexico and in the world, with reserve estimates at 101 million ounces.

In summer 2021, Pan American Silver reported 2.9 million ounces of silver added to mineral reserves at La Colorada, despite the severe limitations on underground access due to ventilation issues and COVID-19 restrictions. Several Major Drilling rigs are turning both on the surface and underground. Pan American Silver improved ventilation in the mine in July 2021, and increased underground exploration drilling is planned through the end of the year.

“Improvements to the ventilation circuit will allow us to ramp up exploration drilling at this long-life mine where we have over 100 million ounces of silver mineral reserves and 192 million ounces of inferred resources,” Christopher Emerson, Pan American’s Vice President of Business Development and Geology, said.

Major Drilling has operated in Mexico since 1993 with a reputation as a key drilling service provider in the region. At La Colorada Mine, Major Drilling provides drills placed among the three exploration drilling projects. These include Major 50 drills, UDR 200 drills, and an STM 1500 underground rig.

Sunset at the La Colorada project, May 2021

Cory Crawford, Major Drilling Mexico Assistant Branch Manager, said that what began as an underground project has, season after season, evolved into both underground and surface campaigns. He’s overseen adding machines ever since Major Drilling teams began drilling at La Colorada in July 2018.

“We value the partnership we share with Pan American Silver,” Crawford said. “As we work closely alongside their surface and underground project managers and geologists, we respond to their exploration needs and help them reach their goals,” Crawford said.

Both Pan American and Major Drilling teams are proud of the progress. In July 2018, drilling began with 36,787.55 underground meters. Then, surface drilling commenced in March 2019 including Devico directional core drilling for a total of 42,871.95 annual meters. Drilling holes and injected cement for raise bore and drilling geotechnical work started in February 2019 resulting in 5,725.35 meters drilled through early 2021. As of September 2021, Major Drilling completed the following drilled meters for Pan American Silver at the La Colorada Mine:

  • Underground at 41,804 meters
  • Surface at 71,219 meters
  • Surface projects including geotechnical and cementing at 7,225 meters

Major Drilling teams at La Colorada mine during 2021

Like Major Drilling, Pan American Silver has a nearly three-decade history of operating in Latin America. The mining company is the world’s second largest primary silver producer and owns and operates silver and gold mines located in Mexico, Peru, Canada, Argentina and Bolivia. Gaining access to enhanced exposure to silver is only possible through active exploration.

More exploratory drilling is underway in Chihuahua state with Major Drilling teams drilling man-portable projects at the Pan American Dolores Mine and a similar, planned man-portable exploration program in the hills of Chihuahua.

Drilling through the night at La Colorada mine.

The Mexican flag flies from the top of a Major 50 diamond drilling rig at the Pan American Silver La Colorada Mine.

Major Drilling’s experience and expertise in Mexico makes it possible for clients to realize specialized drilling results while making safety a top priority. Teams are also socially responsible through environmental, safety and governance initiatives that help ensure long-term sustainability efforts that strengthen communities, keep teams safe and govern operations with integrity.

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