Photo Update Shows Strieborná Being Prepared for Underground Access
With the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” in mind, Global Minerals Ltd., 32% owned by Esperanza Resources (EPZ – $1.60), published a number of photographs on the significant progress it has made on bringing the Strieborná property, in the Republic of Slovakia, back in operation.
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The entrance of the mine in 2011
The entrance of the mine today
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The haulage tunnel at 300m in 2011
The caved-in sections have been cleared and supports have been placed
The photos above show that the 1600 meter haulage and access tunnel has been restored, along with full electrical service. It took about 6 months to clean out and restore the entire tunnel.
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On the left, part of the decline, which starts at surface and about 25 meters above the haulage tunnel, and goes all the way down to approximately 250 metres below surface. The decline is used to transport equipment, tools and people up and down. Currently, Global Minerals is pumping out the water and expects to reach the bottom of the decline by late spring 2012. Once they get down to that level, they’ll be able to make a connection with the Strieborná vein, after which a drill program will begin to expand the already significant high grade resource.
The photo on the right, also taken inside the decline, shows on the top left the air supply (white pipe) and at the bottom left the pipe which is used to pump up the water (grey pipe). Again, mine ventilation and underground power systems will be refitted as deeper access becomes available due to the dewatering.
The Strieborná Vein
The Mária Vein, which is parallel to the Strieborná vein, has been mined since the 14th century, making it one of the oldest known and mined vein occurrences in the region. The Mária Mine was in operation until the end of the second World War when it became part of a state controlled organization.
The Strieborná vein itself was discovered in 1981 adjacent to the Maria mine. It was subsequently explored on four underground levels totaling over 3,000 metres in length. Underground exploration and diamond core drilling on the vein was conducted from 1982 until 1994 by the exploration branch of the Slovak Geological Survey.
After London-based CMX Resources Limited (CMX) verified the resource results reported by the Slovak Geological Survey in 1994, all underground workings were flooded. When Global Minerals gained control over the Strieborná property in 2007, it contracted AMC Consultants (AMC) to prepare a NI 43-101 Technical Report based on the work and results of the Slovak Geological Survey and the verification program conducted by CMX.
The April 2008 NI 43-101 technical report on Strieborná defined a silver/copper/antimony resource which is expected to be economically significant. It included 1.9 million tonnes (Measured and Indicated) grading 231.7 g/t silver, 1.1% copper, and 0.7% antimony and 1.5 million tonnes (Inferred) grading 280.0 g/t silver, 0.9% copper and 0.6% antimony.
The Strieborná resource estimate from April 2008. The mineral resource is based on 394 channel samples taken on four levels, one raise and 10 drill hole intercepts. No cut-off grade was applied.
The NI 43-101 resource occurs within a mineralized structure of 1.2 kilometres long, 600 metres deep and an average thickness of 3.4 metres. This is the so-called Strieborná vein.
In addition to the Strieborná vein, the property includes several parallel veins and similar structures. Although these veins have been explored by underground tunneling and drilling and are known to be mineralized, they have not been included in the resource estimate as further exploration is required.
Preparing an Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA)
While access to the Strieborná vein is being restored, the Company is preparing a Preliminary Economic Assessment, or PEA, which should be ready in the second quarter of this year.
Next to the NI 43-101 resource report, the PEA will also include results from metallurgical testing, which demonstrates that a conventional, low cost flotation process will yield a high grade silver/copper/antimony concentrate with as much as 5,423 grams silver per tonne (158 tr. ounces per ton) at recoveries of 96% for silver and 97% for copper. Hydrometallurgical treatment of the concentrate can then be used for selective removal of antimony, arsenic and mercury.
Furthermore, a mine plan and production schedule will be included.
The rehabilitation of the Maria Mine is important, because it will provide access to the Strieborná (which translates as “Silver”) vein.
The PEA will also give an indication of the economic value of the property, and as such of Esperanza’s stake in Global Minerals. Although we’ll have to wait a few more months for the answer, I’m positive a relatively good minable 28 million ounces silver resource plus copper and antimony is worth a nice amount of money.
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