Golden Minerals Company owns the silver and gold Velardeña Properties located in Durango State, Mexico. The company suspended operations in June 2013 in response to the decline in precious metals prices, and used the operating down time to conduct extensive drilling, mine planning and analyses. Mining was restarted in July 2014 and milling in November 2014. Velardeña has been re-opened as a leaner and lower cost mine, with a number of significant changes from past operations:
- New site management
- New development agreement with labor union
- Lower headcount – approximately 250 employees at year-end 2014, compared to approximately 500
in June 2013
- New mining method used – overhand cut and fill mining
- Different veins to be mined – focus is on the San Mateo, Terneras and Roca Negra veins, where higher grades and lower arsenic levels should facilitate more marketable products with favorable economics
- Method should allow mining vein widths as narrow as 0.5 meter, resulting in higher grade material being hauled to the mill
- Plan economics take a conservative approach by assuming dilution of the veins to one meter widths
- Run only sulfide mill – plan calls for a ramp up to about 285 tonnes per day by the end of the second
- Ore removal via new production-sized access ramp – should provide more efficient and lower cost ore removal compared to prior operations
The company's mining plan indicates positive net cash flow from Velardeña after production is ramped up through the second quarter 2015, assuming prices of approximately $17.50 per ounce silver and $1,250 per ounce gold.
OVERVIEW AND LOCATION
The Velardeña Properties are a group of three properties, held by Golden Minerals’ wholly-owned subsidiary ECU Silver Mining, within the Velardeña mining district. The three properties are the Velardeña Property, the Chicago Property and the San Diego Property.
The Velardeña mining district is located within the municipality of Cuencamé, in the northeast quadrant of the State of Durango, Mexico. The property is situated approximately 95 km southwest of the city of Torreón in the State of Coahuila and 140 km northeast of the city of Durango, capital of the State of Durango.
The Velardeña Property is located at Latitude and Longitude coordinates 25 4’ 34”N and 103 41’ 43”W. This property contains the Santa Juana mine, which has been the focus of ECU’s mining efforts since 1995, as well as the historical Terneras, San Juanes and San Mateo mines.
The Chicago Property is located approximately 1 km south of the Velardeña property and is centred at coordinates 25 3’ 42”N and 103 41’ 46”. This property contains the historical Los Muertos-Chicago mine, the extension of which is being drilled by Golden.
The San Diego Property is situated approximately 9 km northeast of the Velardeña property. It is approximately centered at co-ordinates 25 6’ 7”N and 103 37’ 19”. This property contains the historical La Cruz-La Rata and El Trovador mines as well as a number of other shallower shafts which were sunk on narrower veins such as the Cantarranas, Montanez and El Jal. The San Diego property is also subject to a joint venture agreement between ECU and Golden Tag Resources Ltd.
ECU holds the Velardeña Properties through its 100% owned Mexican subsidiary Minera William S.A. de C.V. (Minera William). At present, the three properties comprise a total of 32 mineral concessions (20 for the Velardeña Property, 8 for the Chicago Property and 4 for the San Diego Property). The mineral concessions in each of the properties vary in size and the concessions comprising each mineral property are contiguous.