Alien Metals has discovered historic silver grades at its Elizabeth Hill silver mine in Western Australia, with one drill hole finding more than 36 kilograms of silver per tonne.
The bonanza results far exceeded expectations of the long dormant mine, which once averaged grades of 2195 grams of silver per tonne (g/t) before it was mothballed in 2000.
One new drill hole at Elizabeth Hill also recovered copper grades of 10.8 kilograms per tonne (1.08 per cent) – equivalent to some of Australia’s most prominent copper operations.
Alien chief executive officer and technical director Bill Brodie Good said this was a momentous day for the Australian mining industry.
“These fantastic initial results support the company’s view that the near surface oxide expression of the deposit was never fully tested, nor its potential fully explored for both the silver and the base metals present,” Good said.
“Some of these grades have to be some of the highest for a silver project in Australia.”
Indeed, some of Australia’s largest silver mines currently in operation pale in comparison to these results at Elizabeth Hill.
Western Australia’s current largest silver asset, 29 Metals’ Golden Grove copper-gold-zinc-silver mine, milled silver at about 43 g/t in 2021, while copper was milled at almost 1.3 per cent.
In Queensland, South32’s Cannington mine milled silver at grades around 177g/t for the second half of 2021, while Glencore’s Mount Isa zinc-lead-silver mine has a measured and indicated resource of 69g/t of silver.
The Elizabeth Hill resource also appears to contain nickel, cobalt, zinc and lead.
The price of silver has ridden the COVID wave since the beginning of 2020, reaching just over $US900 ($1278) per kilogram in the September quarter of 2020.
The price has maintained a steady tilt above $700 per kilogram and sits at $729 per kilogram at time of writing.