It’s been a big quarter for Silver Mines and the drills are still running at Bowdens, which is already the largest undeveloped silver deposit in Australia and one of the largest in the world.

Since the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) announced approval for the Bowdens Silver open cut project to move towards development and production in April, Silver Mines (ASX:SVL) has also been working on and updated Feasibility Study.

Set for completion by the end of the March quarter in 2024, the study is factoring in the massive Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of almost 400 million ounces of silver equivalent. That’s a 56% lift on total tonnes and a 44% increase in total silver equivalent ounces on the 2017 MRE. The updated resource is likely to result in a significant increase in Ore Reserves.

Approved after a long and rigorous process, the plan for SVL’s 100% held Bowdens Silver Project includes an open-cut mine feeding a new processing plant that will produce two concentrates to be sold for smelting off site.

The current 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 pet year plus zinc and lead as by-products.

Underground riches

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.

However, recent drilling has been stellar including drilling  in the Aegean Zone with six metres at 1,251g/t silver from 335 metres. That equates to more than 40 ounces silver per tonne.

The other two zones beneath the open-cut project – Northwest and Bundarra – also remain open in various orientations and all three zones continue to be targets for diamond drilling.

Seismic shifts

Meanwhile exploration programs are being planned and initial site investigations have started across a historic prospect identified by CRA in 1990. This prospect, named Barra Creek, is on the northern rim of the Bowdens caldera.

The caldera was identified by previous seismic work, which lead to greater understanding of the deposit and more significant drill targets, and an expanded seismic survey is being planned with hopes for more discoveries.

This month another exploration licence at the north and east of Bowdens was granted, which is also highly prospective for Group 1 metals and minerals including gold, silver, zinc and copper.

Minerals for a cleaner future

These are all metals essential for the clean energy transition, making Bowdens align closely with the NSW Government’s Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy. This has outlined a vision for NSW to be a major global supplier and processor of minerals needed for a sustainable future.

Silver in particular facing escalating demand as it’s essential for solar energy and EVs.

The project enjoys a high level of support from the vast majority of the community including strong support from other stakeholders including government

SVL is well-funded for its extensional exploration with over $13 million cash and other on hand.




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.