Silver Mines sets the stage for maiden underground silver resource at Bowdens
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Silver Mines’ aggressive drilling campaign at its Bowdens project in New South Wales has delivered more high-grade silver hits, further building the case for a significant underground resource.
Silver Mines’ (ASX:SVL) Bowdens project is already the largest undeveloped silver deposit in Australia, but continued high-grade results are providing strong evidence the mine will be more than just an open pit.
Four drill rigs are going full throttle as part of the expanded 30,000m drilling program, which has produced additional high-grade hits like 3m at an impressive 679 grams per tonne (g/t) silver equivalent from 306m, 6m at 382g/t silver equivalent and 14m at 264g/t silver equivalent from 322m from the Northwest and Aegean zones.
Drilling of the Bundarra Zone returned a notable intercept of 3m at 278g/t (44g/t silver, 3.18% zinc, 1.92% lead and 0.15g/t gold, from 255m.
Meanwhile, Southern pit extensions included 9.8m at 214g/t silver equivalent including 0.31g/t gold, from 39m; and 4m at 343g/t silver equivalent, with a higher grade 1.94g/t of gold, from 88m.
The Aegean to Northwest Zone is dominated by high-grade silver vein systems comprising substantial widths, while the Bundarra Zone is dominated by wide zinc, lead and gold bearing veins with appreciable silver.
“We are very pleased with these latest results; they confirm infill and extensions to these three new deposits which lie directly beneath the open-cut development plan,” Managing Director Anthony McClure told Stockhead.
“These results will feed into our maiden underground mineral resource which will be complete in the coming months.”
Silver Mines is in the final stages of development approval for a 2-million-tonne-per-annum open pit operation that would have an initial mine life of 16.5 years producing about 66 million ounces of silver, 130,000 tonnes of zinc and 95,000 tonnes of lead.
The drilling results so far have given Silver Mines the confidence to move forward not only with an initial underground resource at Bowdens, but also to concurrently move forward with a Scoping Study for a potential underground develoment.
The study will consider a couple of alternatives including the potential for underground development to start in years 3-4 of the open pit development to supplement plant feed with high-grade material at a rate of up to 500,000 tonnes per year.
Drilling below the open pit continues to extend the Northwest High-Grade Zone closer to the Aegean Zone, cementing Silver Mines’ belief these two zones are linked.
The Northwest Zone starts about 30m below the base of the proposed open pit and so far, is up to 20m thick, extending over 450m and continuing down plunge for at least 300m. But it’s not closed off, meaning Silver Mines hasn’t yet hit the edges of this potentially very big system.
Drilling targeting resources beneath the current open pit reserve is expected to run through until at least the end of this year, while drilling to test for system extensions to the Bowdens deposit will continue into 2022.
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.