Black Mountain Resources (ASX:BMZ) is on the threshold of first production of high grade silver ore from its New Departure project in Montana after successfully accessing the eastern area of the Bonanza Zone.
Black Mountain gained access to the Bonanza Zone by cutting a development drive from the Laczay Tunnel, and entering the eastern area of the zone from beneath the historic workings.
It will continue the Bonanza Drive out of the mountain-side to create further access to the Zone.
New Departure contains a non JORC-compliant Resource of 2.5 million ounces silver at over 15 ounces per tonne with Black Mountain saying previously that it was targeting initial production of 250 tonnes per day grading 600 grams to 800 grams per tonne.
Now production samples from historic workings will be taken for assaying to confirm the historic data and to finalise the toll treatment arrangements with local mills.
Also, samples have been taken from the shear zones found in the Bonanza Drive to ascertain if the intercepts contain mineralisation and potentially extend the historic Bonanza Zone.
The access to the eastern area of the Bonanza Zone represents a major milestone towards first production of high grade silver from the project.
Black Mountain chairman Pete Landau commented, "New Departure is located in a proven high grade silver region of Montana, US which is serviced by a range of processing mills located within economic distance from the project.
"With access to the high grade Bonanza Zone now facilitated, assaying is next on the agenda to enable us to both confirm the extensive historic data available for previous production areas, which demonstrates the high grade nature of the silver mineralisation in the licence area, as well as to finalise contracts with local mills," he added.
Black Mountain holds a 70% interest in the New Departure project, having obtained a 45 year lease from Chester Mining Company.
Once the initial mining operations start in the Bonanza Zone, the company will continue to focus on the development of the New Departure Silver Mine.
It is also planning to gain access to the Main Zone with the Main Drive being cut from the Bonanza drive.
Black Mountain is focussed on restarting small scale production this year from two of the six identified mining blocks.
This includes the New Departure ore shoot, which historically produced the bulk of the high grade silver.
With the milestone marking access gained to the eastern area of the high grade Bonanza Zone, Black Mountain is poised to join the prestigious ranks of being a silver producer.
New Departure's location in a proven high grade silver region of Montana, US that is serviced by a range of processing mills located within economic distance from the project will also contribute to favorable project economics.
Production will bring early cash flows, which could be further complemented once production starts at the Conjecture Silver project in Idaho. For a near term producer, current market cap, is undemanding.
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