Silver Mines Limited (ASX:SVL) Managing Director, Anthony McClure provides an update on the significant progress at the company's Bowdens Silver Project in Mudgee.
Jessica Amir: Hi, I'm Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. Joining me now from Silver Mines is Managing Director Anthony McClure. Hi Anthony, welcome back.
Anthony McClure: Hi, Jessica. Great to be here.
Jessica Amir: So first off, just tell us about Silver Mines and just give us an update on your place in the mining industry.
Anthony McClure: So, Silver Mines Limited owns the Bowdens Silver Project, which is headed out near Mudgee in central New South Wales. Bowdens is one of the world's largest undeveloped silver projects, so we're in the process now of looking at the development of the project and we've got an aggressive exploration project as well.
Jessica Amir: Now to your key project in more detail, just tell us about the size of the resource.
Anthony McClure: Midway through 2017, we completed our first resource, which was very substantial. It was a 40% upgrade on the previous resource by the previous owners, so tonnage increased substantially. Silver ounces increased substantially, so we're sitting at about 270 million ounces of silver. It's a very, very big project.
Jessica Amir: And just update us on your environmental and feasibility impact studies.
Anthony McClure: So, we're very advanced in feasibility studies. We'll have more detail on that out midway through this year. Coupled with that is our environmental impact statement that'll be submitted to the regulatory authorities also mid-year. It's a fairly simple development project so we're hoping for a speedy approval process.
Jessica Amir: And what about exploration?
Anthony McClure: Exploration's very key to us, so when we purchased the project, we looked immediately underneath the current resource and we saw that the resource was continuing at depth and very substantially at depth. Elsewhere in the project we see a continuity, particularly to the north of us. We've got an area that's close to nine kilometers in strike length that is, effectively, what we see is a pore-free system. The mineralised system out at Bowdens is vast and it's very poorly understood. The history of the project has been directed primarily at Bowdens silver where the resource and the development take place, but on the exploration side, not a lot of work has been done. So, our work through 2017 has been hugely successful in demonstrating the potential size of additions to the resource.
Jessica Amir: And Anthony, what are the key economics?
Anthony McClure: So, well, with the resource's size, we've got a mine life that's going to be very substantial. In terms of the economics, we'll know more on that as we complete the feasibility. As I said, the resource has increased very substantially and the mining compound of that resource is looking particularly attractive, so we'll have a lot more to say out during the course of this half year.
Jessica Amir: And just on the half year, just tell us what else is planned and what are the key milestones for the coming 12 months?
Anthony McClure: Outside of the feasibility and environmental impact statement, that's obviously our number one driver, but in exploration the scope of the project is substantial. We feel that we're only just touching the surface, although we've got one of the world's largest silver projects, we're seeing at depth a lot more base metal contents. We're seeing zinc and lead. We're starting to see a bit of copper coming in the system. Most importantly through the course of last year, we discovered gold depth, and gold is particularly attractive for us. So, other commodities on this project are going to become more on the forefront during the course of this year.
Jessica Amir: So, you've spoken a lot about your exploration activity. Maybe you can just dive deeper. Just tell us at a regional level what's taking place.
Anthony McClure: So, primarily drilling. We've done a lot of G-physics as well, but drilling is what's driving us going forward. Again, in the second half of last year we had several discoveries, so mineralised system underneath Bowdens we're seeing an additional 300 meters-plus of mineralisation. A lot of that is yet to report into resources. But as I say, more importantly, we're seeing substantial gold coming into the system. We're not sure on the extent of copper at the moment, but as we get deeper we're seeing more copper and more gold, and that's going to be driving us very substantially in the course of our exploration activities this year.
Jessica Amir: And lastly, Anthony, where would you like to see the company 12 months from now?
Anthony McClure: The development is critical for us, so the feasibility and the environmental impact statement, getting the approvals underway. But I think as far as the market is concerned, I think more of the driver is going to be on the exploration side given what we're seeing at depth and further to the north.
Jessica Amir: Well, Anthony McClure, thank you so much for the update.
Anthony McClure: Thanks so much, Jess.