Located in the Famed Mexican Silver Belt Known as the Faja de Plata

Home to numerous billion-ounce silver mines and districts and one of the world's best mining jurisdictions

Nieves
BlackBerry Ownership: 100%
  • 110,000,000 oz Ag — Indicated and inferred

  • 116,000 oz Au — Indicated and inferred

  • $16M in exploration between 2003 and 2014

  • 11 drilling programs

  • 205 holes in a 5 square mile area

  • 55 square miles in the center of one of the world’s most prolific silver provinces

  • Possible open pit mine with potential production of 5M oz silver per year for 11 years

  • With further drilling, could expand to provide 15 to 20 years of silver production

  • One of the lowest finding costs in the         industry at about 12 cents an ounce

  • Very high quality dumps

  • 60 miles north of the Fresnillo silver district

  • Mined sporadically for silver since 1676

For more detailed information, please see the "Investment Opportunity" page on this website.

Figure 1

This region includes the famous historic districts of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, the operating mines Fresnillo and Peñasquito, and the Pitarrilla project.

Figure 1 shows the four discoveries near Nieves (in red), including Peñasquito and Pitarrilla, currently the world’s first and fourth largest silver resources, respectively.

The research and development work over the past 14 years including a significant airborne geophysical survey has shown the Nieves property to be a silver district with major vein systems or zones appearing to extend much further to the west than was known and mined previously.   We now believe that the very extensive geographic extent of the property, in which the vein systems extend for at least 10 kilometers from east to west, qualifies Nieves as a district silver play.

There are only 3 open pit silver mines in Mexico.  Open pit silver mines are very rare.  Nieves has the potential to become the fourth.

In addition, the expenditure of approximately $16 million on 205 drills holes (61,600 meters) and state-of-the-art geophysical analysis has yielded the following resources...

●110,000,000 ounces of silver, indicated and inferred

●116,000 ounces of gold, indicated and inferred

 

… at a cutoff grade of 15 g/t silver.   This investment represents one of the lowest finding costs per ounce of silver in the industry, about 12 cents per ounce of silver resource.

Figure 2

Six kilometers to the west of the proposed pit, geologist Dr. Tom Patton and Site Geologist Hector Fernandez stand on the newly exposed vein system (July 2015).

Six kilometers to the west of the proposed pit, geologist Dr. Tom Patton and Site Geologist Hector Fernandez stand on the newly exposed vein system (July 2015).

Resource Assessment to Date

Open Pit Mine (Defined by Existing PEA)

In 2012, a Preliminary Economic Analysis was conducted examining data from the eastern part of the property.  The PEA scoped an open pit mine that may produce 5 million ounces of silver each year for 11 years.  With a resource base of 110,000,000 ounces of silver and 116,000 ounces of gold, the geology team is confident that with a modest infill drilling effort the life of a future mine at Nieves would increase from 11 years to 15 to 20 years. 

In addition to silver and gold, there exists both lead and zinc.  It should be pointed out that the PEA utilized a silver price of $27 in its economic analysis of the pit, a value much higher than today’s price.  The PEA could

not consider the increased resource from infill drilling.

Moreover there may be substantial areas for reducing the capital outlays required for building this mine.  Additionally this and other key factors prevail that clearly elevate this particular area to a significantly greater potential, one that puts it on a par with other producing open pit mines:

 

The current pit resource has never been optimized.  More drilling should increase the size of the pit and increase the average silver grade thus allowing a higher cutoff grade without seriously diminishing the production profile.

Figure 3​

This image shows the eastern region of the Nieves property.  The proposed pit is outlined in dark red.

Figure 4

This image shows an enlarged view of the proposed pit (outlined in red). Red and blue dots show drilled holes.

Holes — Significant Intercepts

1.     Hole QTA-19 intersected 1.5 meters of bonanza grade mineralization (4,010 g/t) on the Concordia Vein 75 meters below the level of historic mining.

2.     Holes QTA-33 and QTA-29 extended mineralization on the Concordia / San Gregorio to the east and west respectively.

3.     Hole QTA-33 intersected 1.9 meters averaging 519 g/t of silver. 

4.     Hole QTA-29 intersected 1.1 meters averaging 297 g/t silver.

5.     Significant silver mineralization was intersected over a strike length of 1 kilometer along the vein.

6.     QTA-22 on the San Gregorio vein intersected 3.96 meters averaging 203 g/t silver at a depth of 85 meters.

7.     QTA-22 also intersected 2.15 meters averaging 201 g/t at a depth of 129.5 meters.

Hole QTA-33 (top right) intersected 1.9 meters averaging 519 g/t of silver.

QTA-19 (not pictured) intersected 1.5 meters of bonanza grade mineralization (4,010 g/t) on the Concordia Vein 75 meters below the level of historic mining.

Figure 5

Core Holes 190, 191, 192:

There were 11 drilling campaigns carefully planned and executed over the past 13 years.  During the tenth campaign, three core holes — holes 190, 191 and 192 — were drilled on the Orion vein 1,000 meters west of the proposed pit area.  All three holes, separated by 200 meters, intersected a meter or less of very high grade silver.  Drill hole 190 intersected 54 ounces of silver per ton over .9 of a meter while the other two holes intersected 8 and 9 ounces, respectively, over slightly less than a meter of vein width.  These three holes covered a total Orion vein distance of 400 meters, 1 kilometer from the proposed pit, indicating that Nieves

may host very high grade silver resources and suggesting the need for further exploration drilling.  The silver potential discovered on the West Orion vein is not included in the pit resource discussed above.

Dr. Tom Patton (Nieves’ lead geologist) commented on the implications of these holes in an interview on November 15th, 2016.  He said, “The fact that you could step out a kilometer and drill those three holes that we did at Orion and still hit high grade shows you that this thing is not vectoring down to the west but, if anything, it’s increasing to the west.”

Figure 6

This is drill hole 190 on the Orion vein – 54 ounces of silver over .9 meters of vein width. The mountain in the distance is where the pit is planned.

Nieves is…

● A large land package

● Has excellent infrastructure and access (water, electricity, year round mining)

● Has substantial resource upside

    ○ Deposit open at depth and laterally

    ○ San Gregorio Vein (16.3 MM oz) not in mine plan

    ○ Two currently identified additional vein systems remain to be explored

    ○ Expansion of Concordia vein likely

Figure 7

Figure 8

The VTEM Flyover and Analysis

Under the guidance of Joseph Inman, the geophysical survey of this entire property showed several high priority targets. The fly over data suggests the possible presence of intrusive ore bodies.  Intrusive ore bodies would indicate the source of the mineralization.  Mr. Inman noted that the known veins in the eastern part of the property may extend up to 10 kilometers to the west under cover and hence have not been tested.  This discovery could mean that a larger silver resource exists and that Nieves is a large silver district.  These results are significant.  As a result of the fly over, two holes were drilled.  One hole, an extension of hole 145, confirmed the connection of the Orion vein to the proposed pit.  It intersected a narrow vein with gold and silver credits.

A second hole was drilled vertically to a depth of 651 meters on a potential intrusive target that indicated a magnetic low and resistivity high.  Though no significant mineralization was encountered, the drilling did not explain the magnetic low.   Part of the effort going forward will be to reexamine what appears to be a disconnect with the strong low mag indication.  The purpose of the hole was to discover an intrusive source of the mineralization at Nieves.  There are several more high risk / high reward targets identified by the geophysical results that will be explored in the future.  If indeed a buried intrusive system and/or a well mineralized and more extensive vein system are discovered, then clearly Nieves will become a much larger resource and, with that, a “game changer” for investors.

This image shows the magnetic complex of the entire Nieves property (outlined in black).  Note the location of the proposed pit in the upper-right section outlined in dark red (see black arrow).

Figure 9

An Optimal Property

There are very few primary open pit silver mines in the world, and only three mines in Mexico that produce more than 5M ounces of silver per year.  An open pittable silver resource with good economics and infrastructure would be an attractive acquisition target for multiple silver companies currently producing in the Faja de Plata silver province.  While potential buyers of silver properties tend to focus on possible fatal flaws, such flaws are not present with Nieves.

● Good infrastructure

● Nearby water and power

● Privately owned (vs. owned by the Mexican government)

● Flat terrain

● Vacant land

● Friendly people raised in a mining culture

● Local labor force.

History of the Property

Nieves has always been considered a silver property.  In 1560 the Spanish discovered and mined the property now known as Nieves.  Figure 10 shows the 13 old mines.  Spanish and Mexican miners mined Nieves until 1880.

At least three east / west silver vein zones have been discovered.  The Santa Rita, the southernmost vein, was deepened over the decades to 8 levels and yielded grades up to 4 kilograms of silver.  In many ways, Nieves parallels Fresnillo, a sister deposit, 60 miles to the south.  Fresnillo was discovered in 1554 and mined by the Spanish.  More recently, in 1975, very high grade silver was discovered and Fresnillo is now perhaps the richest silver mine in the world boasting mined and 

future resource of 2.2B ounces of silver.  In fact, Nieves sits in the middle of the Faja de Plata within one of the volcanic windows that have exposed the dozens of silver mines in perhaps the richest silver belt in the world.

Over the centuries, Nieves has continued to yield minerals, proving that the property is highly mineralized.  Silver, gold, manganese, mercury, and antimony have all been mined there.  Spanish, British, Canadian, and most recently the Mexican government, mined the property till the late 1980s.  There are 12 to 15 shafts and many dumps on the eastern part of the property.

Thirteen very old mines on the Nieves property.

Figure 10

Figure 11

Between 1994 and 1996, Kennecott Corporation began development of the property.  Kennecott did preliminary work, drilled 8 reverse circulation holes, and gave up on both Peñasquito and Nieves.  From 1997 to 1998, Western Copper drilled 5 RC holes.  Then, from 1999 to 2000, its sister company, Quaterra Resources, resumed development of the property drilling 12 RC holes.
 

In 2003, Dr. Thomas Patton, Dr. Michael Berry, and Harrison Nesbit defined a program to co-develop the property to lower the risk of developing the resource. They created the BlackBerry LLC partnership.  A 50/50 joint venture with Quaterra was begun and development began again on the Nieves property.  Quaterra has acted as the operator.  Exploration focused almost exclusively on the Nieves silver property.

In 2014, Quaterra, as part of a strategic restructuring, offered their 50% ownership of the Nieves property and all other Mexican assets to BBV.  On July 1, 2016, BlackBerry acquired Quaterra’s portion of Nieves and now owns 100%.  As part of the sale, Quaterra provided BlackBerry one additional high-potential 

property – Americas.  BlackBerry acquired the Microondes property in a separate transaction.

In 2014 and 2015, BlackBerry increased the size of Nieves from 44 square miles to 55 square miles and purchased significant surface rights.

© 2019 by BlackBerry Ventures I, LLC

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