Silvercorp: maximising mine life in China’s Ying district
Silvercorp’s Vice President Lon Shaver has revealed how the company is cracking the code to tackle a nest-like swarm of ore bodies across four mining licences at the Ying mining district, rich with silver, lead, zinc and gold deposits.
In an exclusive interview with Mining Global he discussed the joint venture originally established at Ying in 2003 by Silvercorp making a $5mn investment to kickstart operations. The mines across the property have remained self-funded ever since through a revenue stream that has also delivered profits of $480mn to its shareholders.
A recently published technical report, completed by AMC Mining in 2020, highlights a bright future for mining across the Ying property. Shaver notes that added to the current inventory, including reserves of around 12 million tonnes, there is also the potential for a 50% increase if further drilling can convert known resources to reserves.
Shaver highlighted the restoration of a 20-year mine life and the potential for a seventh mine (the DCG project) to bear fruit at the property in the future.
“We’ve been drifting across towards the fourth licence with recent drilling efforts where we’ve hit some of these gold zones,” he confirmed. “If it all proves to be positive, the next steps would be to get formal permits to develop another mining operation, improve the access and add all the infrastructure required.”
Underpinning these efforts is Silvercorp founder Dr Rui Feng’s drive to see the Canadian junior set the sustainability standard for others to follow in China’s mining industry.
“To help them maintain that standard, Silvercorp have been working with AMC for a number of years to understand the nature of the ore bodies, the information being collected, how it gets processed and how that picture is applied to operations,” said Shaver. “AMC provide trusted expertise on technical reports which will be further utilised by Silvercorp on future projects.”
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.