McEwen Mining’s country manager for Mexico is overseeing a lot of development for the El Gallo 1 project in Sinaloa this year, with the company exploring four nearby prospects in the region.
“We’re surrounded by very prospectable areas,” said Gonzalez, 45. “We haven’t completed the half of the year yet where we will be able to evaluate the results that we have so far, but I think [we’re] getting pretty good results.”
McEwen announced in April a $5.5-million exploration program for Mexico, which will cover two advanced deposits: San José del Alamo to the north of El Gallo 1 and Twin Domes to the northeast. The budget also covers two early-stage prospects with “strong indications of gold and silver”: San Miguel, southeast of El Gallo 1’s Samaniego pit, and Tule Alto, to the north of the site.
McEwen expects the drill results will improve El Gallo’s gold grade and extend the mine life, though it is not clear yet by how much. “Hopefully we’re able to take advantage of our resources for a year and be able to [extend the mine life] as much as possible,” Gonzalez said.
For her, the El Gallo 1 project has a personal connection. She was instrumental in the land acquisition of the project in 2007, and acted as the go-between for McEwen and Mexican governmental institutions and communities to get the approval for exploration projects.
“It’s like having your son and seeing him grow up,” she joked, having seen El Gallo develop from early days. “It’s hard work to do, but we’re very committed, and this is a very high-potential target.”
Gonzalez, a Sinaloa native, was a certified English teacher before joining McEwen in 2002 as a process assistant and working her way up through the company. In 2012 she took on the job of country head for Mexico.
The mining sector, she said, has given her hometown more opportunity than it would have had otherwise. “In the area where I’ve lived for more than 30 years I’ve seen quite a change because of mining,” she said. “[It has brought] in this new type of life to areas that have never been touched before by any kind of opportunity to develop.”