SilverCrest Mines (CVE:SVL)(NYSE MKT:SVLC) says it has filed the updated resource report for its La Joya property in Mexico that it announced earlier this year, which includes preliminary metallurgical results that support the production of a high grade, copper-silver-gold concentrate from the site with over 30% copper.
In January, the company announced that at a global case cut off grade of 15 grams per tonne of silver equivalent, inferred resources at La Joya stand at 198.6 million ounces, almost 95% higher than the 101.9 million ounces at the same cut off grade previously.
Using a base case cut off grade of 30 g/t silver equivalent, inferred resources total 159.8 million ounces, or 100.8 million ounces using a high grade cut off of 60 g/t silver equivalent.
There are also 75.1 million pounds of inferred tungsten resources at the project, at a cut off grade of 0.05% tungsten, hailing from the Contact Zone on the property - which also contains gold, silver, copper and tin that could add secondary value.
"The significant increase of Inferred Resources at La Joya and the identification of a potential high grade starter pit have increased the attractiveness of the project," said the company in a statement on Thursday, citing president J. Scott Drever.
"Confirmation by preliminary metallurgical test work that a high grade, copper-silver-gold concentrate, with high recoveries of copper, silver and gold can be produced is extremely important and encourages us to push forward with our Preliminary Economic Assessment to define preliminary operating and capital parameters for the project."
The company says it believes that the 60 g/t silver equivalent portion of the deposit, or the high grade case, constitutes a "priority area" to be examined as a potential starter pit for initial operations, which is being looked at more closely in a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) that started in January.
SilverCrest also said the property has "excellent potential" for additional resources with the deposits being open in most directions. Further infill and expansion drilling has been recommended to increase and convert resources from the inferred to indicated category, it added.
Initial metallurgical testing was done in 2011, with further test work ongoing. Current results from "batch cleaner flotation tests" indicate that the main zone of mineralization at La Joya is amenable to conventional flotation processes for production of high grade copper concentrates with high silver and gold credits, the company said.
The company's primary asset, Santa Elena, is expected to produce 2.4 million ounces of silver equivalent this year, at cash costs of $8.50 an ounce. The mine has a higher grade open pit that is currently being mined, and an underground resource that is being developed, remaining open with exploration upside.
SilverCrest said earlier this month its plan for this year is to complete the contruction of a new 3,000 tonne per day mill facility at Santa Elena for the first quarter of 2014 in its effort to double production at the mine.
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