Don Taylor, Arizona Mining Inc.
For the 2014 discovery of the Taylor lead-zinc-silver deposit in Arizona
When geologist Don Taylor joined the management team at Arizona Mining (then Wildcat Silver) in 2010 his main task was to move the company’s silver-manganese project in southern Arizona through advanced exploration to development. At that time the surface oxide deposit posed a metallurgical challenge and Don, who graduated with a MSc from the University of Missouri, was eager to test the potential for sulphide mineralization at depth.
Don compiled the historical exploration data for the area and flew an airborne survey in 2011. Using this information to develop a new geological model, he launched a drilling campaign down dip of the silver-manganese oxide zone. In 2014 Arizona Mining discovered the Taylor deposit, a carbonate replacement deposit containing lead, zinc and silver sulphide mineralization in altered limestone.
The company immediately began raising funds to test the extent of the sulphide mineralization. Under Don’s leadership, Arizona drilled several step out holes that intersected high-grade mineralization over wide widths. Jim Gowans, former co-president of Barrick Gold, came on board as president and CEO to provide further expertise and allow Don to focus on exploration. By early 2016, Arizona was able to release a maiden resource of 39.4 million inferred ton grading 11% zinc equivalent based on 25 holes.
Financing accelerated in 2016 and by late summer, 14 drills were turning on the project to expand the limits of the known mineralization. In early 2017 the company released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) confirming that Taylor is a world-class base metal deposit with further potential to grow. Based on the conservative mine plan of 61 million ton of ore, out of a total resource of 111 million ton, the project has a net present value of US$1.26 billion, an after-tax internal rate of return of 42% and a payback period of 1.7 years. The mine is expected to begin production in 2020.
The Taylor deposit continues to grow. Further drilling has delineated a separate sulphide zone called Taylor Deeps and in October 2017, Arizona Mining intersected a 112 metre interval of high grade zinc-lead-silver mineralization about 90 metres north of any previously reported drilling at Taylor Deeps. Don continues to guide the rapid expansion of this large carbonate replacement deposit, considered one of the top 10 undeveloped lead-zinc deposits in the world.