ZACATECAS STATE, Mexico A scoping study on the Penasquito-Chile Colorado silver deposit recommends the project proceed to the feasibility stage, owner WESTERN SILVER of Vancouver said in a statement.
"Based on data to date the financial indicators for this project appear decidedly favourable," Tucson-based M3 Engineering & Technology concluded. The study indicates an internal rate of return of 25.6% pre-tax, assuming a silver price of US$5/oz and gold at US$325/oz over a projected mine life of 12.2 years.
Indicated potential metal recoveries over the life of mine are 112 million oz of silver, 744,095 oz of gold, 760,996 t of zinc and 284,789 t of lead, the statement said. Mine production is estimated at 20,000 t/d and capital costs at US$149 million. Operating costsmine, mill and general administrationare put at US$5.40/t.
M3 Engineering's estimates are based on a mining rate of 20,000 t/d with a stripping ratio of 2.2 t of waste for each tonne of ore mined. The processing plant would be a conventional SAG and ball mill crush-grind-flotation concentrator. Of the 89 million t included in the scoping study, 80.3% is from the indicated resource, and 19.7% is contained in the inferred resource.
The oxide zone has been included as waste material in this analysis. Additional drilling and metallurgical testing will be required to evaluate the viability of heap leaching the oxide material, Western said.
Western Silver, formerly known as Western Copper Holdings, has its web site at www.westerncopper.com.