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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Coeur's reserves shrink, resources grow

North of 60 Mining News - February 21, 2024


Last updated 3/6/2024 at 9:26am

2023 exploration returned mixed results for the Kensington Mine in Alaska, Silvertip project in BC.

Coeur Mining Inc. Feb. 20 reported a slight drop in reserves but a significant rise in the amount of gold, silver, zinc, and lead reporting to resources across its four operating mines and two advanced exploration projects. This includes modest resource growth at its Silvertip silver-zinc-lead project in Northern British Columbia and a slight drop of gold in resources at its Kensington Mine in Southeast Alaska.

Going into 2024, Coeur's four operating mines – Rochester (Nevada), Palmarejo (Mexico), Kensington, and Wharf (South Dakota) – hosted a combined 552.94 million tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 0.006 ounces per ton (3.18 million oz) gold and 0.64 oz/t (243.9 million oz) silver.

While the overall tonnage increased, the gold within the reserves fell nearly 8% from the 3.44 million oz going into 2023, and the amount of silver within the reserves dropped slightly from 245.7 million oz.

While Coeur's drilling fell short of replenishing the reserves mined during 2023, it did significantly boost the amount of precious and base metals in all three resource categories.

In addition to reserves, Coeur's four mines and its two advanced exploration projects – Silvertip and Lincoln Hill (Nevada) – host 225.01 million tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 0.014 oz/t (3.25 million oz) gold, 0.87 oz/t (196.3 million oz) silver, 10.7% (1.37 billion pounds) zinc, and 5.1% (768.7 million lb) lead.

This marks a 5% increase in gold, 8% increase in silver, 11% increase in zinc, and 6% increase in lead compared to last year.

The growth of Coeur's inferred resources was even more robust.

Coeur's mines and projects now host 199.04 million tons of inferred resource averaging 0.01 oz/t (1.97 million oz) gold, 0.46 oz/t (92.5 million oz) silver, 10.3% (481.8 million pounds) zinc, and 4.3% (199.8 million lb) lead.

This marks a 14% increase in gold, 32% increase in silver, 27% increase in zinc, and 20% increase in lead compared to last year.

"Coeur's total exploration investment in 2023 was lower than in recent years and resource expansion was our primary goal for the year, which was achieved across all of our sites," said Coeur Mining President and CEO Mitchell Krebs. "Organic growth through elevated levels of exploration investment has been a defining characteristic of Coeur over the last several years, and our commitment to reserve and resource growth through the drill bit will continue in 2024."

Kensington and Silvertip

The reserve and resource growth at the Kensington Mine and Silvertip project in the North of 60 Mining News coverage area was mixed.

Going into 2024, Kensington hosted 2.12 million tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 0.194 oz/t (411,000 oz) gold. This is a slight increase over the 408,000 oz of gold in reserves a year earlier.

Kensington also went into this year with 2.93 million tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 0.279 oz/t (819,000 oz) gold, plus 1.57 million tons of inferred resource averaging 0.248 oz/t (388,000 oz) gold. This marks a roughly 22% drop in gold in the measured and indicated resources but a nearly 11% rise in gold in the inferred resource category compared to the resources going into 2022.

Coeur says detailed structural and geological modeling is enhancing its understanding of the controls to higher-grade gold mineralization, and the company will continue to test higher-grade targets at the Southeast Alaska mine in 2024.

Silvertip experienced modest resource growth in 2023.

Going into 2024, Silvertip hosted 7.15 million tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 8.06 oz/t (57.7 million oz) silver, 10.6% (1.52 million lb) zinc, and 5.37% (768.7 million lb) lead; plus 2.35 million tons of inferred resource averaging 6.9 oz/t (16.1 million oz) silver, 10.9% (481.8 million lb) zinc, and 4.26% (199.8million lb) lead.

While the tonnage in Silvertip's measured and indicated resource categories grew, the quantity of silver dropped by 4% due to lower grades. The amount of silver reporting to inferred resources, however, has increased by nearly 12% over the past year.

Silvertip is the only project in Coeur's portfolio with zinc and lead resources. As such, Silvertip's growth of these base metals is reflected in the company's overall resources reported above.

Coeur Mining Inc.

Click on image for larger Southern Silver Zone long section.

In mid-2023, Coeur launched a 1.5-year exploration campaign at Silvertip focused on building upon the resource and exploring this Northern B.C. property's wider potential.

"The resource has nearly tripled in just six years, and we firmly believe that we have merely scratched the surface," Coeur Mining Senior Vice President of Exploration Aoife McGrath said in January. "The significant resource growth so far validates the immense potential, but we believe that the most potent and lucrative part of the deposit is yet to be uncovered, promising an exciting phase of exploration and development that has the potential to elevate Silvertip into a world-class carbonate replacement mineralizing system."

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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