Silvercorp has updated the resource estimate at its BYP mine in China’s Hunan province to an indicated 10.84 million tonnes for a contained 292,000 ounces of gold, 84,821 tonnes of lead and 185,000 tonnes of zinc. The company says there is a further inferred 10 million tonnes of gold and lead-zinc averaging 1.84 grams/tonne gold, 0.85% lead and 2.75% zinc.
The latest estimate updates the company’s June 2011 technical report and was done after Silvercorp completed a sampling program along drifts and crosscuts to verify previous exploration data. An extensive underground exploration program of tunnelling, geological logging and channel sampling in late 2011 also led to an upgrade of the known historic mineral resources. The program was focused on gold zone 3 and 3-1 as well as lead-zinc zones 2, 4 and 7.
Additional drilling to test results from early 2011 saw a decrease in average gold grades with an increase in tonnage after geological interpretation.
The consultants responsible for compiling the estimate, AMC, are satisfied the mineral resources have reasonable prospects of economic extraction, and that the mine appears to be economic at current metal prices and site costs.
Production started late last year at BYP, which is Silvercorp’s second Chinese project after the flagship Ying silver project. In the company’s June figures, BYP had processed 83,760 tonnes of ore for 5100 ounces of gold - which was below its target of 6000 ounces.
A 500 tonne/day processing plant exists at the BYP site and a tailings management facility, which is about 1km away, began operating in August 2011. There is also a permanent waste dump, power supply and a paved highway providing access to the site as well as domestic water supplies and a staff camp.
Silvercorp says the historic mine permits cover extraction of lead and zinc, however it has applied for a permit allowing gold extraction.