The Company's property position at Palmarejo is large, consisting of contiguous mining concessions totaling approximately 30,300 acres (12,300 hectares) in size. Of the total concessions, 29 are owned 100% by Coeur Mexicana, formerly Planet Gold S.A. de C.V. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company), and the remaining three concessions are partially owned (50 to 60%) by Coeur Mexicana. All of the Company's mineral resources and reserves at Palmarejo are located on concessions owned 100% by Coeur Mexicana.
In addition to Palmarejo, the Company also controls approximately 21,000 acres (8,500 hectares) of concessions at the Yécora exploration-stage property located in Sonora near the border with the State of Chihuahua, and approximately 17,700 acres (7,200 hectares) of concessions at the La Guitarra exploration-stage property in Chihuahua, south-east of Palmarejo.
The Palmarejo mine is located on the western flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental, a +950 mile-long (+1,500 km) mountain range that forms the western spine of northern Mexico. The north-northwest-trending range is composed of a relatively flat-lying sequence of Tertiary-aged volcanic and sedimentary rocks, cut by numerous igneous intrusive rocks. This belt, home to numerous base and precious metal mineral deposits, is deeply incised in the Palmarejo mine area, locally forming steep-walled canyons.
The gold and silver deposits at the Palmarejo Mine, typical of many of the other silver and gold deposits in the Sierra Madre, are classified as epithermal and are hosted in multiple veins, breccias and stockwork vein zones. These geologic structures trend generally northwest to southeast and dip either southwest or northeast. The dip on the structures ranges from about 45 to 70 degrees. In the mineralized portions of the structures, gold and silver are zoned from top to bottom with higher silver values occurring in the upper parts of the deposit and higher gold values in the lower parts, sometimes accompanied by base metal mineralization, though variations are common.
The Palmarejo property contains a number of mineralized zones, the most important of these being the Palmarejo area in the north-central part of the concessions where silver and gold, located in 5 zones or "clavos," are currently being mined. The clavos are located on two, northwest-striking, regional-scale fault structures - La Prieta and La Blanca.
In addition to Palmarejo, other mineralized vein and alteration systems in the district area have been identified, all roughly sub-parallel to the Palmarejo zone. The most significant of these additional targets are the Guadalupe and La Patria vein systems in the southern part of the property which are currently being explored. The new Guadalupe mine portal occurs 5.2 km southeast of the Palmarejo mill and La Patria sits 2 km west-southwest of Guadalupe. Production at Guadalupe is expected to begin in 2013.
In 2012, the $19.9 million exploration program at the Palmarejo district completed 341,975 feet (104,234 meters) of drilling. This included 149,635 feet (45,609 meters) of surface and underground drilling around the current Palmarejo mine. The remainder was devoted to the Guadalupe and La Patria deposits and other new targets such as La Independencia in the district. In 2013, over 95% of a $15.8 million exploration program in Mexico is earmarked for the Palmarejo district.
Guadalupe grew by 42% in silver and 31% in gold measured and indicated resources to 11.9 million ounces of silver and 134,000 ounces of gold, respectively.