Silver Mines’ Bowdens set to get even bigger
Special Report: Silver Mines is rounding out a big 2023 with drilling results that extend the Bowdens silver project – already the largest undeveloped silver deposit in Australia and one of the largest in the world. The new intersections will be included in an updated Mineral Resource Estimate due for release early next year, while exploration continues with two diamond drill rigs on site.
Bowdens Silver Deposit is now known to extend more than 1,100m (>650 metres vertical depth) across a strike of 1,100m, while continuing to grow with further drilling down plunge.
Standout results from the latest drilling includes high-grade mineralisation intersected within the Southern Gold Zone and Bundarra Zone. Among the top hits was 22m at 185 grams per tonne (g/t) of silver equivalent (25g/t silver, 0.74g/t gold, 1.31% zinc and 0.94% lead) from only 130m; and 45m at 126g/t silver equivalent (90g/t silver, 0.03g/t gold, 0.52% zinc and 0.21% lead) from just 6m.
Silver Mines (ASX:SVL)’s exploration drilling across 2023 has targeted extensions to the Bowdens Silver Deposit mineralisation footprint, as well as high-grade mineralisation outside the current planned open pit Ore Reserves. This has also included drilling at the Aegean and Northwest Zones. Drilling has also tested responses generated from the 2022 seismic survey completed across the Bowdens Silver Deposit. The company is now processing nearly complete recent seismic survey lines and starting analysis for more regional target generation.
The current Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), updated in March, contains 396 million ounces of silver equivalent.
The highly prospective Southern Gold Zone, is in the south and at depth, within the Bowdens Silver Deposit.
Mineralisation within the zone is currently estimated 19 million tonnes at 0.31 g/t gold for 190,000 ounces of gold.
But the latest drilling included holes punched within and outside the current planned open cut pit design to improve continuity of high-grade Mineral Resources and get structural data, with assays outperforming resource estimates.
Results included 110.3m at 82g/t silver equivalent (58g/t silver, 0.05g/t gold, 0.30% zinc and 0.13% lead) from just 1m.
In the Bundarra Zone, drilling tested for extensions to mineralisation at shallow depths within an area west of the planned open pit and down plunge. One hole intersected broad zinc dominant mineralisation, which is typical of the Bundarra Zone, such as 154 metres at 45g/t silver equivalent (8g/t silver, 0.07g/t gold, 0.48% zinc and 0.21% lead) from 343.3 metres.
Bundarra remains open at depth to the west, southwest and south, and is an extensive zone of continuous mineralisation below the Bowdens Silver Deposit.
The interpretation of seismic data is expected to be finished in early 2024. Added to SVL’s extensive quality regional datasets, this analysis is expected to provide excellent geological context for targeting specific exploration activities.
Silver Mines Limited Managing Director Anthony McClure said:
“The latest drilling at Bowdens Silver have delivered outstanding results for the company and further demonstrate the quality and potential of Bowdens’ substantial mineralised system.
“We’re now looking forward to updating the project’s Mineral Resource estimate and the Feasibility Study in lead up to the proposed Bowdens Silver mine development.
“The high component of Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources reflects increased geological confidence and provides considerable scope in delivering further project longevity.”
“These results further validate our efforts to deliver value for our shareholders, to the State of New South Wales, our local communities and other stakeholders.”
Also set for completion by the end of the March quarter in 2024 the feasibility study is updating all aspects of the development including ore reserves, mine design, metallurgy, process design, and economic and market considerations.
With a mine life of 16.5 years the plant is designed to process 2 million tonnes per annum initially producing around 6 million ounces per year plus zinc and lead as by-products.
SVL has also been undertaking potential underground mining scenarios beneath the open-pit development, but this has been placed on hold in the short term to focus on the prioritised Feasibility Study. The Maiden Mineral Resource for Bowdens Silver Underground totals 42.9 million ounces silver equivalent.
After a rigorous approvals process, the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) gave the green light for Bowdens in April.
The project aligns closely with the NSW Government’s Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy, which has outlined a vision for the State to be a major global supplier and processor of minerals needed for a sustainable future.
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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.