Silver Mines has expanded its Southern Gold Zone only weeks after the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) announced it had assessed the Bowdens open pit project as being in the public interest and approvable.

News of near-surface gold outside the currently planned open-pit also comes just days after Silver Mines (ASX:SVL) announced it had welcomed highly experienced Joel Ray as General Manager of its wholly owned Bowdens project, Australia’s largest undeveloped silver deposit.

Bigger footprint for open-pit

The Southern Gold Zone is an extension to the current Mineral Resource of 318Moz silver equivalent and will now be assessed in future pit optimisation studies.

Results from diamond drilling have expanded the footprint of gold mineralisation to 300m in strike, 200m in width and 15- 85m in thickness.

Some of the top results include 99m at 1.15g/t gold equivalent (0.62g/t gold, 10g/t silver, 0.35% lead and 0.39% zinc) from 159m and 82.7m at 0.89g/t gold equivalent (0.25g/t gold, 44g/t silver and 0.10% zinc) from only 8m.

After the release of a Maiden Mineral Resource for Bowdens Silver Underground totalling 42.9Moz silver equivalent, SVL shifted its exploration to testing extensions of mineralisation outside the current planned open-cut pit design and testing for higher grades within it.

Multiple areas have been targeted for extensions including in the north at the Main, Aegean and Northwest Zones, and in and to the south of the planned open-cut pit where anomalous gold has been identified.

New look at old results

Additionally, historic drill samples taken by previous operators in the area have had limited assaying for gold and SVL is now systematically re-submitting historical pulps for gold assays. Results from the first batch of samples have been received and are defining a zone of consistent width including higher grades. Importantly, most of the historic holes re-assayed are shallow vertical reverse circulation (RC) holes, with recent diamond drilling showing gold mineralisation extends beyond the depths of the RC drilling.

SVL is now awaiting further assays from diamond drill holes, while stage two of the gold assay program on historic holes will include another 3,300m of holes within, and outside the Southern Gold Zone as well.

Added extensions

In other extensional drilling to add greater tonnages of higher-grade mineralisation within the current Ore Reserve, several holes within the central eastern area of the planned open-cut pit have returned significant results. These including 96m at 63g/t silver equivalent (23g/t silver, 0.39% zinc and 0.57% lead) and 47.8m at 95g/t silver equivalent (34g/t silver, 0.53% zinc and 0.91% lead), all from 1m.

Research studies have shown that gold is associated with a silver-rich electrum (a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver).

Underground results extend Aegean Zone

In more good news for SVL, it has also received highly encouraging results from the Aegean Zone, which is part of the underground resource and extends from the base of the proposed Bowdens Silver open pit.

This mineralised zone is high-grade silver dominant at depth and is open to the north and east. It has a strike of 200m, is 100m wide and typically 50m thickness.

Results have now extended the Aegean Zone east of the recent resource estimate by 100m Best results include 16m at 114g/t silver equivalent (89g/t silver, 0.07% zinc and 0.64% lead) from 251m.

The Aegean Zone and Main Zone both remain open to the to the north and down plunge.

More to explore

SVL has two diamond drilling rigs on site continuing a 15,000m program at the Bowdens Silver Deposit and 3,000m of regional exploration drilling in the first half of this year.

Targets at the Bowdens Deposit include shallow (within 200 metres) extensions to mineralisation in the north, south and west of the deposit; extensions to the Underground Mineral Resource estimate (below 200m) where it remains open; and extensions to the Open-Cut Mineral Resources.

All this is happening as SVL waits on the Independent Planning Commission of New South Wales (IPC) for final determination.

Significantly, the DPE Assessment Report noted the NSW Government’s commitment in its Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy to develop the state’s potential to be a major global supplier and processor of critical minerals. This strategy identifies silver and zinc as critical minerals for developing technologies and renewable energy




This article was developed in collaboration with Silver Mines, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.