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Silver Mines major upgrades of mineral deposits at Bowdens, Wales

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Silver Mines reported a major upgrade to the mineral resource estimate at its Bowdens silver deposit in central New South Wales.

Based on extensive drilling work over the past five and a half years, the estimate now measures 200 million tonnes at 62 grams per tonne (g/t) of silver equivalent, representing a total of 396 million ounces of contained silver equivalent.

Compared to the company’s previous estimate in 2017, this represents a 56% increase in tonnage, a 16% increase in silver ounces, and a 44% increase in silver equivalent ounces.

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However, Silver Mines reported an 8% decrease in the silver equivalent grade, which it said was due to the lower quality of the added tonnage.

“We will now move rapidly in our ore reserve assessment as part of the optimisation of the project’s feasibility study in (the) lead up to the proposed Bowdens silver mine development,” managing director Andrew McClure said.

“The high component of measured and indicated mineral resources reflects increased geological confidence and provides considerable scope in delivering further project longevity.”

A golden opportunity

While silver is the dominant focus at Bowdens, the presence of gold offers a significant opportunity to add value to the deposit.

According to this morning’s announcement, Bowdens also contains an estimated 19 million tonnes at 0.31 g/t of gold, representing a total of 190,000 contained ounces.

While the deposit remains open in a number of directions, recent seismic surveying has presented several gold exploration targets to the south and west.

Going forward

With the renewed estimate complete, it will now serve as the basis for a similarly updated feasibility study. Silver Mines has already engaged GR Engineering Services to lead the overall upgrade, while mining consultancy firm Entech will undertake open-cut pit optimisation work.

While these next steps are expected to further enhance the value at Bowdens, the company was careful to point out that they would not affect the ongoing approval process for the open-pit development.

Approval for the development was previously with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, but has now been referred to the state’s Independent Planning Commission for a final decision.

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