Mogollon Project FAQ
1. When was the permit for Summa Silver’s minimal exploration drill project approved?
After extensive review, New Mexico Mining and Minerals approved a minimal impact exploration drill permit for the Mogollon project in September 2021.
2. When will Summa Silver begin actively mining?
Summa Silver’s Mogollon minimal impact exploration drill project is in support of initial exploration work. We anticipate that mineral exploration could take up to five years or more. After Summa’s exploration work is advanced, the Company will decide about next steps for the project.
3. Is Summa Silver’s drill exploration occurring on any public lands?
Exploration drilling currently permitted at the Mogollon project is entirely on private lands and will not impact public lands. Currently Summa Silver’s Mogollon drill exploration project activity only occurs on approximately 3.5 acres of the approximately 1,104 acres in private lands. Summa Silver also controls 2,641 acres in 178 Federal claims, but these are currently outside the minimal impact exploration drill permit boundaries for exploration.
4. What impact will Summa Silver’s Mogollon exploration drill project have on the local environment?
Summa Silver’s minimal impact exploration drill program will not have any lasting impact on the environment. The project is not expected to have a direct surface impact on wetlands, springs, streams, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, or riparian areas. The project is not located in designated critical habitat areas for the Mexican Spotted Owl or other federal endangered species. The project is not located in an area with endangered plants. And the project is not located in an area designated as a Federal Wilderness Area, Wilderness Study Area, Area of Critical Environmental Concern, or an area within the National Wild and Scenic River System.
5. What impact does the Summa exploration project have on water?
The Summa exploration project has no impact on water quality or quantity in the County. No diesel fuel is released into the environment, and this is something we take very seriously. As a protective measure against any potential fuel spill every drill rig is lined with plastic sheeting with absorbent pads – which is a mix of cotton, rice paper, and polypropylene fiber that is designed to soak up only hydraulic fluid, oil, gasoline, and diesel, but not water.
Diesel fuel is used exclusively to run equipment like drilling rigs and support vehicles. No fuel is released at all or used down-hole in drilling operations. The only products used down-hole are National Safety Foundation certified and approved as non-toxic and non-hazardous materials, which follow New Mexico state guidelines and regulations. These include compounds like clay, polymers, and shredded paper. After completion, each hole is sealed with cement for the entire top to bottom hole length. Some holes may be temporarily left open if they need to be deepened.
Adhering to State water regulations, Summa is permitted to purchase water locally. There is no net impact on water availability or water quantity as a result of Summa’s exploration drilling. To add some perspective, we will have used approximately 1,000,000 gallons or 3-acre feet (per State Engineer rules) of water in total in all of our operations by the time we pause drilling at the end of February. Comparatively, according to the United States Geological Survey, Catron County uses over 18,000,000 gallons of surface and ground water per day.
6. What is Summa Silver doing to protect the Mexican Spotted Owl?
We recognize that the Mexican Spotted Owl is a species of concern. Summa Silver has completed several rounds of Mexican Spotted Owl surveys following U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Spotted Owl Survey Protocols.
The most significant finding is that no Mexican Spotted Owl nests or roosts were discovered or known to occur within 0.5 miles of the currently permitted exploration drilling area. Therefore, activities approved by the minimal impact exploration permit are not located in an area likely to result in adverse impact to the Mexican Spotted Owl.
Summa Silver will cease drilling operations and undertake its second year of Mexican Spotted Owl surveys during the 2023 nesting season for the Mexican Spotted Owl (March – August).
7. How is Summa Silver communicating with local communities?
Summa Silver is committed to broad stakeholder engagement to ensure that agencies, local communities and regional stakeholders are part of our efforts. We have a local website, invite active communication, meet with community members, and provide regular updates on our activities to the relevant authorities. This helps to ensure that the environmental stewardship critical to our work is maintained, and that we are proactively addressing concerns that arise. As our exploration work advances past the very early stages, we will continue to foster the growth of these important lines of communication and engagement with our communities and stakeholders.
8. How does Summa Silver’s Mogollon minimal impact drilling project benefit local communities?
A core value of Summa Silver’s is to be part of the local communities where its projects are located, contributing to their economic and social well-being. The Mogollon exploration drill project benefits the local economy by employing local contractors for various aspects of exploration, and through purchases of food, fuel, lodging, and other goods and services at the local, regional, and state levels.
9. Why is silver important to the green economy?
Silver is an essential metal for the transition to new technologies including the green economy. Silver is a primary component in solar panels, transmission lines, cell phones, electric vehicles, and a wide array of medical devices.
Sixty-four percent of the electricity in New Mexico in 2021 was generated from coal and natural gas. As the shift to a greener economy advances, it is of critical national and local importance that we do not source the required minerals from other countries where environmental protections and labor standards are weak or may not exist. New Mexico is blessed with mineral resources, including silver. This state also has strong labor standards and among the highest degrees of environmental protections. There is no better place than New Mexico to explore for minerals, like silver, which are critical for the shift to a greener economy.