As SilverCrest Metals (TSX: SIL; NYSE: SILV) prepares to put its Las Chispas project in Sonora, Mexico, into production by the second half of 2022, its latest infill and expansion drill results suggest 1.3 km of strike continuity across the three veins in the Babicanora area.
The results include assays for 78 holes, totalling 29,308 metres of drilling, completed at the Babi Vista veins and splays, the Granaditas veins and the adjacent hangingwall and footwall veins at Babicanora. Although the drilling was completed in areas with existing mineral resources and close to planned underground development, the Splay and Granaditas veins contain inferred resources that are outside of the mine plan outlined in the February 2021 feasibility. This study outlines underground development within 180 metres of high-grade intercepts from the Splay.
The results include 31 drillholes from the Splay and 7 intercepts from the Granaditas 1 vein.
Highlights (in true widths) include 2.3 metres of 87.05 g/t gold and 6,469.2 g/t silver (14,034 g/t silver-equivalent) from the Splay; 3.7 metres of 40.42 g/t gold and 6,089.4 g/t silver (9,602 g/t silver-equivalent) from the Granaditas 1 vein; and 0.4 metres of 114 g/t gold and 78,872 g/t silver (88,779 g/t silver-equivalent), also from the Granaditas 1 vein.
The 31 drillholes completed in the high-grade section of the Splay feature a true width estimated at 0.9 metres, grading 16.12 g/t gold and 1,351.5 g/t silver (2,752 g/t silver-equivalent), while the Splay’s inferred resource currently stands at 211,363 tonnes grading 13 g/t gold and 909.4 g/t silver (2,039 g/t silver-equivalent) with an estimated true width of 1.3 metres. Seven latest holes at the Granaditas 1 vein average out to a true width of 1.6 metres grading 19.24 g/t gold and 5,095.1 g/t silver (6,767 g/t silver-equivalent), compared with the existing inferred resource of 63,157 tonnes grading 3.2 g/t gold and 260 g/t silver (538 g/t silver-equivalent) with a true width of 0.6 metres.
Drilling has also discovered two new veins in the hangingwall and footwall of the Babi Vista and Splay veins and confirmed the southeast convergence of the Babi Vista, Splay and Granaditas veins.
“We are very encouraged by the results from the Babi Vista and Granaditas areas, including the Babi Vista Vein Splay, which support our goal to target potential resource conversion proximal to planned and existing underground workings,” CEO N. Eric Fier said in a release. “Our systematic and aggressive approach to exploration continues to yield positive drill results in areas outside of the mine plan and further improves our knowledge of Las Chispas geology and mineralization.”
Fier added that the main goal of the company’s 2021 exploration program is growing the mineral inventory to optimize the economics of Las Chispas mine plan and support additional studies on potential throughput and mine life expansions.
Infill drilling at the Splay, 90% complete, is expected to wrap up by the end of the second quarter. Nine rigs (six surface drills at Las Chispas and three at the nearby Picacho property acquired in August) are turning at the company’s holdings.
Based on the February feasibility, Las Chispas could be an 8.5-year underground mine, producing an average of 5.2 million oz. of silver and 56,000 gold oz. annually (10 million oz. of silver-equivalent) at all-in sustaining costs of US$7.07 per oz. of silver-equivalent at an initial capital cost of US$137.7 million.
Only 15 of at least 45 known veins are included in the Las Chispas reserve.
In January, SilverCrest entered into a fixed price, turnkey US$76.5-million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Ausenco for the construction of a 1,250 t/d process plant; ramp up is expected in the second half of next year.
For more information, visit www.SilverCrestMetals.com.