Success prompts more Silvertip drilling
Last updated 8/10/2018 at 6:28am
Coeur Mining Inc. said thick zones of high-grade silver, zinc and lead cut during a 44,500-meter drill program at the company's newly acquired Silvertip Mine indicate the robust resource expansion potential of this operation in northern British Columbia.
"Results from exploration at Silvertip during the first half of 2018 have demonstrated both the quality of the known resource and the strong potential for significant mine life extensions," said Coeur President and CEO Mitchell Krebs.
Last October, Coeur paid US$200 million to acquire Silvertip and has agreed to pay up to another US$50 million more if certain permitting and resource expansion milestones are met.
By the end of the year, Coeur had six rigs turning on the property and by mid-2018 had invested US$9.2 million for 44,500 meters of drilling. Considering Coeur had budgeted US$10 million for 30,000 meters of initial drilling, the company is pleased with progress at Silvertip.
And with the drills tapping mineralization with grades and thickness that exceeded expectations, the Chicago-based miner was also pleased with the results.
"Drilling targeted three zones with a particular emphasis on upgrading resources to reserves in the Central zone, where results also confirmed the continuity of mineralization in zones previously thought to be discrete," said Krebs.
Based on the limited data at-hand, Coeur's model for the Central zone showed discrete pods of mineralization. The 17,700 meters of drilling Coeur completed in 103 holes at Central during the initial phase of 2018 drilling, however, demonstrates these pods are part of thicker, more continuous horizons with higher grades than expected.
One hole drilled at Central, CEN18-162-499-002, cut 6.3 meters of 845.3 grams per metric ton (24.7 ounces per ton) silver, 10.9 percent zinc and 15.3 percent lead.
Mineralization at Central zone is near existing underground infrastructure and remains open to the north, south and at depth.
The 22 surface holes drilled at Discovery, which is immediately east of Central, cut several zones of previously undiscovered mineralization as well as multiple, stacked, horizon.
One such hole, DSC18-Pad2-004, cut 11.4 meters of 193.3 g/t (5.6 oz/t) silver, 18.3 percent zinc and 3.2 percent lead; 2.7 meters of 137.5 g/t (4 oz/t) silver, 10.9 percent zinc and 2 percent lead; 3.3 meters of 851.2 g/t (24.8 oz/t) silver, 21 percent zinc and 14.6 percent lead; and six meters of 925.7 g/t (27 oz/t) silver, 16 percent zinc and 15.2 percent lead.
Due to the success in the first phase of drilling this zone, Coeur plans to continue with up to two surface rigs in the second half of 2018 with the goal of expanding the resource to the north, south, and down-dip to the east.
The 14 holes drilled at Silver Creek also encountered multiple stacked horizons, as well as previously unknown vertical feeders.
One hole that encountered the multiple horizons at Silver Creek, SCZ18-158-479-006, cut 2.9 meters of 160.4 g/t (4.7 oz/t) silver, 4.5 percent zinc and 3.1 percent lead; and 3.8 meters of 905.5 g/t (26.4 oz/t) silver, 29.2 percent zinc and 16.5 percent lead.
These zones are adjacent to existing mine workings and remain open to the south, southeast and at depth.
Results from Silvertip's drilling program received through early July are expected to support an updated resource model with a maiden reserve estimate, both of which are expected to be included in an updated technical report published later this year.
Given the success of this initial program, Coeur has budgeted US$4 million for the second phase of drilling, which is focused on expanding resources and testing prospective targets across the 93,000-acre (37,650 hectare) land package at Silvertip.
"We look forward to continued exploration success during the program's second phase," said Krebs.