Canadian exploration company Silver Bull Resources (TSX:SVB,NYSEMKT:SVBL) created a stir of excitement in the silver market today with the release of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Sierra Mojada project, located in Coahuila, Mexico.
The company has been working on Sierra Mojada for a number of years, but since the beginning of 2013 seems to have really stepped up its efforts to move the project forward — in February, Silver Bull sold 22,912,500 units for US$0.40 each, raising gross proceeds of about $9.2 million, some of which went toward funding the PEA, while in May it filed on SEDAR an updated NI 43-101 report for Sierra Mojada.
Highlights from the PEA’s base-case study of $23.50 per silver ounce and $0.95 per pound zinc include an 18-year mine life, during which time Silver Bull is expected to mine and process 55.9 million tonnes of ore at 8,500 tonnes per day, averaging 73.4 grams per tonne silver and 2.79-percent zinc.
On average, Sierra Mojada should put out 5.5 million ounces of average payable silver a year at a life-of-mine cash cost of $6.58 per ounce, net of by-product credits. From its second to sixth years of production, the mine should produce an average of 7 million ounces of silver a year, reaching peak production of 9.3 million ounces in its second year. Production of 98.4 million ounces of silver doré and 982,000 tonnes of a high-quality zinc concentrate is also anticipated.
The project’s pre-tax net present value (NPV) at a 5-percent discount rate came in at $641.1 million, with an internal rate of return (IRR) of 26.9 percent. The PEA places its after-tax NPV at a 5-percent discount rate at $463.9 million, with an IRR of 23.1 percent.
Commenting on the news, Tim Barry, Silver Bull’s president and CEO, said, “[w]e are very pleased with this Preliminary Economic Assessment. It shows the Sierra Mojada project as a robust, long life, low cost mining operation that will put it within the top quartile of global silver producing mines. We are fortunate to have a near surface high grade zone which will act as our starter pit and is expected to produce an average of 7 million ounces per year allowing for a fast payback on initial capital expenditures.”
Shares of Silver Bull are currently trading at $0.37, up 1.37 percent.
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.