Velardena Mine

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Pyrite
Mining Method
  • Resue mining
  • Mechanized Cut & Fill
  • Shrinkage stoping
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
ShapshotThe Velardeña Properties in Durango State, Mexico contain two past-producing underground silver and gold mines and two processing mills. Mining was suspended in November 2015 when a combination of low metals prices, mining dilution and metallurgical challenges rendered operations unprofitable.

On January 2024, the Company announced that it has begun mining in six stopes and is steadily ramping up daily production to reach a rate of approximately 325 tpd in the second quarter.

On February 29, 2024, the initial performance of the mine and processing plant during the course of the initial several months of production has not achieved the results projected by the Company. In light of the Company’s decision to cease mining operations, the Company intends to evaluate potential alternatives for the Velardeña Properties, which may include a sale of properties or winding up of certain of the Company’s Mexico operations.


Golden Minerals Company 100 % Indirect
Velardena Project is held by Minera William S.A. de R.L. de C.V. (Minera William) a wholly owned subsidiary of Golden Minerals.



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Deposit type

  • Vein / narrow vein


Although detailed petrologic studies of veins in the Velardeña property have not been completed, individual deposits within the nearby Santa María dome have been studied in some detail and found to correspond to both shallow epithermal and deeper-seated mesothermal styles of mineralization. Epithermal veins, often displaying banded and open-space-filling quartz, occur at La Industria Mine where they are clearly distal to the main intrusive mass (Gilmer et al., 1988). The higher-level veins at Velardeña appear to be of this type.

True epithermal veins occur at Velardeña, but at depth most veins, breccias, and massive sulfide replacements are mesothermal in character. The veins commonly contain arsenopyrite, which may be related to a deeper intrusive source. Exploration strategies at the Project are informed by the above model concepts. Current exploration models explore the deposit in the context of vein controls. It has been recently discovered that eastwest trending vein sets, in general, tend to have lower concentrations of deleterious elements (As and Sb) and slightly thicker true widths.

Velardeña Property
Medium to thick-bedded limestone of the Cretaceous Aurora Formation comprises basement rocks in the Project area. Limestone was first folded then intruded by the multiphase diorite/monzo-diorite Terneras stock and related dikes of Tertiary age that outcrop over a strike length of approximately 2.5 km. In detail, intrusive contacts range from sharp to broad zones characterized by the presence of numerous large, partially metamorphosed blocks of limestone. Alteration of host carbonates consists of a broad front of bleaching and marble formation, with more localized calc-silicate and hornfels. Although intrusive rocks appear fresh in general, alteration and local endoskarn development occurs near contacts. The diorite stock and the contact zone between limestone and intrusive rock primarily host the veins of the Santa Juana, Terneras, San Juanes, and San Mateo deposits. Veins extend into relatively unaltered limestone especially in the northwestern portion of the Santa Juana veins and eastern portion of the San Juanes vein.

The Velardeña property is transected by a series of northeast to northwest striking, west dipping, post-mineral normal faults. From east to west these are the Tres Aguilas, Los Bancos, Buenaventura, and Ordenanza faults which are generally characterized by meters-thick banded calcite vein filling. These normal faults demonstrate west-side-down displacements with the result that the western blocks expose higher portions of the hydrothermal system, have a higher calcite content and generally lower precious metal contents.

Two main vein systems are present on the Velardeña property. The first is the northwest striking system found in the Santa Juana deposit, while the second is the east-west trending vein array which includes the Terneras, San Juanes, Roca Negra, and San Mateo deposits.

Chicago Property
The geologic setting of the Chicago property is very similar to that at Velardeña . The oldest rocks outcropping at Chicago are folded limestone of the Aurora Formation which were intruded by Tertiary diorite stocks and dikes. Intrusive rocks occupy the western portion of the property with a northeast orientation. The limestone-diorite contact exhibits widespread recrystallization and marble formation overprinted by a distinctive green calc-silicate alteration dominated by grossular garnet and lesser wollastonite.

As at Velardeña, a system of post-mineralization faults striking northwest-southeast cuts and locally displaces mineralized structures. These faults are normally filled with calcite and can have widths up to 10 m near surface.

In the Chicago mine, rhyolitic volcanic rocks and calcareous conglomerate of the Ahuichila Formation unconformably overlie the mineralized sequence across the eastern half of the area. Mineralization is similar to that encountered at Santa Juana mine in terms of mineralogy, host rocks, geometry of the structures and vein continuity. The difference between the two is orientation - northwest strike, dipping to the northeast for the Santa Juana system; instead of northeast strike, dipping to the southeast for the Chicago system.

Mineralization consists primarily of calcite-quartz veins with minor calc-silicate hosted skarn and massive sulfide replacement bodies. All mineralization is essentially polymetallic, Ag, Au, Pb, Zn, plus or minus Cu. Individual veins are usually thin (0.2 m to 0.5 m) but remarkably consistent along strike and down dip. Coxcomb and rhythmically banded textures are common in some vein exposures. Historical production in the district has been primarily from the oxide portions of the veins that can extend to depths of several hundred meters. Previous workers have suggested a vertical zonation with increasing Au:Ag and Cu:Pb with depth (Pinet, 2009).

The mineralization at the Chicago property is similar to that encountered at the Santa Juana mine in terms of mineralogy, host rocks, geometry of the structures and continuity at depth and laterally. The difference between the two is geometric - northwest dipping to the northeast instead of northeast dipping to the southeast.

Characteristics of the mineralization are summarized below based on previous reports and Tetra Tech’s observations:
- Veins occur in limestone, marble, calc-silicate, and intrusive host rocks. The geometry of the veins is typically wider but more irregular in the limestone. In addition to being more consistent in width, veins within skarn and intrusive rocks tend to be narrower but higher grade with respect to precious metals. Skarn is the least favorable vein host.
- Although individual veins are typically narrow, zones of vein intersections and certain contacts between intrusions and limestone have focused brecciation and silicification, yielding mineralized chimneys which can reach 7 m in width and extend for tens of meters vertically.
- Within the Santa Juana sector, a zone of sheeted veins has been discovered near the intersection of northwest and east west trending veins. The overall dimensions of this corridor are approximately 500 m along strike and 250 m vertically (level 12 to level 18), with widths up to 100 m.
- Gangue minerals consist of calcite and quartz, which generally represent less than 20% of the volume of individual veins. Higher grade segments of veins generally conform to areas dominated by quartz or quartz-calcite mixtures; calcite rich zones are generally low grade. There is a distinct tendency for the upper portions of many of the veins to be calcite dominant, hence lower grades. Lateral changes in the gangue mineral composition have been observed, suggesting controls other than elevation are at work.
- Depth of oxidation is quite variable and the distribution of oxide and mixed mineral types of complex. Within limestone host rocks, the veins are oxidized down to depths of up to 450 m. Oxides are rare in intrusive and calc-silicate host rocks, reportedly encountered only near the Tres Aguilas and Los Bancos faults, due to increased fracture-controlled permeability and fluid flow.
- The alteration zone along vein margins is generally less than 10 cm and is comprised of argillic alteration and silicification of the intrusive and skarn host rocks, and localized silicification and recrystallization of limestone. While precious and base metal mineralization is generally confined to the veins, sulfide stringers were observed extending outwards along bedding planes within altered limestone.
- Underground drifting and drilling suggest many of the veins are open at depth below the 19th level.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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CommodityProductUnits2015Avg. Annual (Projected)LOM (Projected)
Silver Metal in zinc concentrate koz 426
Silver Metal in pyrite concentrate koz 1,886
Silver Metal in lead concentrate koz 10,651
Silver Payable metal koz 32712,020
Gold Metal in lead concentrate koz 16
Gold Payable metal koz 2144
Gold Metal in pyrite concentrate koz 172
Lead Payable metal M lbs 1.135
Lead Metal in lead concentrate M lbs 37
Lead Concentrate kt 2.153
Zinc Payable metal M lbs 1.223
Zinc Concentrate kt 1.424
Zinc Metal in zinc concentrate M lbs 27
Pyrite Concentrate kt 272
Silver Equivalent Payable metal koz 4652,000

Operational metrics

Daily milling rate 252 t
Tonnes milled 80,736 t

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 22, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 22, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 22, 2014

Aerial view:


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