SilverCrest Metals (TSX: SIL; NYSE-AM: SILV) plans to spend US$60 million on drilling through the end of 2022 at its Las Chispas silver-gold project in Mexico’s Sonora state.
“Growth from drilling is a huge part of our story, and we have only scratched the surface,” Chris Ritchie, the company’s president, said during a webinar.
According to the mining executive, the company was guiding on publishing an 85-95 million oz. reserve feasibility study, with higher-grade ounces from recent drill results moving ahead in the mine plan, pushing lower grade ounces further back.
Drilling will include the El Picacho property the company recently acquired, with two rigs planned once it receives drilling permits. It hosts 4-8 metre-wide veins compared to 1-2 metre veins on the main property. At 85 km distance from Las Chispas, the project is within trucking distance and could provide additional feed to allow the company to expand the initial 1,250-tonne-per-day plant.
The company recently announced that it has completed 97,700 metres of in-fill and expansion drilling at Las Chispas.
SilverCrest restarted exploration and development activities at the project after a temporary suspension from March 30 to May 23, in response to Covid-19.
During the first half of the year, SilverCrest completed 2.1 km of underground decline and lateral development, and stockpiled an additional estimated 12,000 tonnes of mineralized material for a total stockpile of an estimated 41,000 tonnes at an estimated diluted grade of 1,000-grams-per-tonne silver-equivalent.
According to the company, Las Chispas construction activities continued with the building of the administration and warehouse facilities, the temporary quarantined Covid-19 camp, and the production water pumping stations.
A preliminary economic assessment in 2019 outlines average annual production of 5.38 million oz. silver and 55,700 oz. gold, or 9.6 million oz. silver-equivalent.