Australia’s Alien Metals will re-open an underground mine, the company said on Thursday, more than 20 years after it last produced commercially viable silver.
Elizabeth Hill – about 20km south of Karratha in the country’s northwest – opened in 1998 as the only pure silver mine in Western Australia.
Mining ceased in 2000 due to a depressed silver price and a fall out between the JV partners East Coast Minerals and Legend Mining “hence the remaining considerable untapped resource”, Alien said in a statement.
The original underground mining team has been commissioned to map and sample the ore to better understand potential extensions, Alien said.
“We have been very fortunate to both find and secure the services of personnel with previous experience of the Elizabeth Hill Silver Project,” Alien’s chief executive officer and technical director Bill Brodie Good said.
Valuable Local Knowledge
“This local knowledge will be incredibly valuable during the re-opening work at Elizabeth Hill.”
The previous owner produced more than 1 million ounces of silver. A dealer who visited the mine in 1999 described lumps of pure silver masses of up to 40kg, and the mine reported masses of up to 100kg.
Initial assay results from the most recent drilling programme are expected this month.
“We have purchased all the necessary equipment to support the mine re-opening, along with a small but fully self-contained field camp,” Brodie Good said.
“Ultimately, going back underground presents us with a fantastic opportunity to work on the remaining resource and increase our knowledge and geological understanding of the project.”
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