News

Project Update – Virtual Information Session / Water Usage / 500kV Powerline / Exploration Activities

Virtual Information Session

A Bowdens Silver Virtual Information Session will be held online to provide an update to interested parties on the Project as it now stands. The presentation will allow for members of our local communities and other stakeholders to hear the very latest information on the Project.

 

The Virtual Information Session will occur on Friday 10th of December at 2:30pm and community members can register to participate via the following link:

http://stream.createlive.pro/bowdenssilver21

 

Bowdens Silver is currently in the final stages of responding to the second round of public and Government Agency submissions in relation to the Bowdens Silver Project. The Virtual Information Session will provide information on key aspects of the Project that have been finalised as part of the Company’s optimisation processes. This work has continued since the Environmental Impact Statement was completed and Bowdens Silver has followed the legislative requirements for amending development applications of this nature. The Virtual Information Session will be an opportunity for Bowdens Silver to present the latest information on the Project to the community and in particular to provide information on water usage and supply and the proposed realignment of the 500kV transmission line. The session will be recorded and published for those that cannot attend the live event.

Bowdens Silver’s approach to design and planning has continued in an iterative manner to ensure optimal outcomes for all stakeholders. Through the Project optimisation processes, the Company has confirmed the overall conclusions of the Environmental Impact Statement. These were that the Project provides an acceptable balance of environmental and social outcomes in achieving the economic benefits of the Mine. Most importantly, our technical assessments continue to show that the Project presents no health risk issues for the local communities.  Bowdens Silver has also reviewed and refined water demand and supply sources and refined the proposed management of the Project’s Tailings Storage Facility (TSF). It is confirmed these aspects of the Project are not detrimental risks to local communities and agriculture. Finally, it is reiterated that the Project will provide a long-term economic stimulus, including employment for the Mid-Western region.

It is anticipated that in early 2022, the Company will be undertaking final consultation with DPIE as it completes the final Government assessment of the Project along with its recommendations to the Independent Planning Commission. This represents the final stage of the State Significant Development approval process.

 

Water Usage – Reduced On-site Requirements and Removal of Pipeline

The Company advises that through a number of positive engineering refinements and water management process improvements, water usage required for mining operations are now substantially reduced. This removes reliance on external water supply sources and allows for the removal of the proposed water pipeline that would have supplied make-up water from the Ulan coalfields.

The proposed water usage and management strategy has been achieved in several ways, including:

  • The inclusion of a paste thickener plant to increase the solids content of discharged tailings expanding the Project’s water recycling capabilities;
  • Refined tailings pond management to optimise water recovery. This reduces the volume of water stored within the Tailings Storage Facility and evaporative losses;
  • Optimising water management within the Mine Site through increased on-site water storage capacity (turkeys nest dams and harvestable rights water storage);
  • Advanced de-watering of groundwater located within the open cut pit; and
  • Optimising water usage for dust management, without limiting effectiveness.

This approach satisfies all regulatory and licensing requirements and importantly would not substantially change the volume of water available to the local setting including Lawsons Creek and Hawkins Creek. Water balance modelling of this new water management approach also shows that the Project is operationally and economically viable for all years of operation, including under a range of low rainfall scenarios.

An update on the proposed water usage and management strategy will be presented at the Virtual Information Session.

 

500kV Transmission Line

A number of submissions were received in response to an Amendment Report submitted to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) that incorporated the proposed re-alignment of the 500kV transmission line that traverses the Mine Site. The main themes of submissions regarding the amendment relate to changes to visual amenity from the transmission lines and environmental impacts associated with their construction (Aboriginal heritage, biodiversity as well as construction processes).

Bowdens Silver commissioned its electrical engineering consultants to review the proposed alignment for the 500kV transmission power line to determine if it might be refined to reduce visual amenity outcomes. The Company is currently in the final stages of preparing the Submissions Report that will respond to all items that relate to the proposed amendment. This will include a review of the alignment and pole locations. Once complete, this will be made publicly available on the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal and the Bowdens Silver website.

An update on the 500kV transmission power line will be presented at the Virtual Information Session.

 

Exploration Activities

In conjunction with the ongoing work regarding potential mine development, the Company continues to conduct mineral exploration activities in and around the proposed open-cut mine location. Encouragingly, recent work has seen the Bowdens Silver geology team intercept substantial zones of silver mineralisation below the currently defined Ore Reserve. This has prompted the Company to commence a Scoping Study to explore potential underground mining scenarios. While very early in the process, results so far have been promising and as the Company learns more about this exciting scenario, further material information will be released as it comes to hand.

As part of this work, we have recently received approval to conduct a new drilling program within Exploration Licence 5920. All drilling will be occurring in and around our proposed mine site location at Lue and will continue through 2022. The expanded program will consist of approximately 255 drill holes using a combination of Reverse Circulation (RC) and Diamond Drilling (DD) to target depths ranging from 300 metres up to 1000 metres. Activity will focus primarily in the area of the proposed open cut pit but also within other areas of the Project as outlined in the diagram in the post below. Activities under this new approval will commence in December and will occur predominantly from Monday to Friday within the hours of 7.00am and 6.00pm. Some drilling will occur on Saturdays based on operational requirements and ongoing drilling will ultimately be determined by results and further predictive modelling.

Upcoming Exploration Activities

Bowdens Silver Pty Ltd would like to notify all community members that the Company will commence a new mineral exploration drilling program within Exploration Licence 5920 as part its ongoing work at the Bowdens Silver Project near Lue. Drilling will involve a combination of Reverse Circulation and Diamond Drilling methods and will continue through 2022. This new drilling program is a continuation of current work and will occur within the Drilling Area defined in the map below. Drilling will predominantly be near the proposed open pit area. Activities will mainly occur Monday to Saturday in line with relevant government approvals.

 

Response to Submissions

Bowdens Silver is pleased to report that it has submitted its Submissions Report to the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment (“DPIE”) as part of its application for the development of the Bowdens Silver Project.

This Submissions Report presents comprehensive responses from the Company to the submissions received by DPIE following the public exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for the Project. Submissions were provided by New South Wales Government agencies, organisations and the general public. Overall, the submissions expressed resounding support for the Project with 79% of all organisation and general public submissions in favour of the Project (of a total of 1,909 submissions). Bowdens Silver is not aware of a proposed mining Project in recent times in New South Wales that has received this level of support.

The review of the matters raised in the technical assessment comments provided by New South Wales Government agencies and from organisations and the general public has led to further clarification and refinement of the various assessments for the Project. However, there were no changes to the overall conclusions of the assessments and the Submissions Report serves to provide greater clarity and assessment on certain topics including further positive verification on items including human health, groundwater, surface water and economic outcomes for the Mid-Western Regional LGA and the State.

Key elements of the Project that have been reinforced during this process include:

  • The Project presents no health risk of concern to the local community which was also confirmed in an independent peer review commissioned by DPIE;
  • The Project would have substantial economic benefits for the local and regional community as well as for the State of New South Wales;
  • The expansion of the existing Community Investment Program will ensure benefits of the Project are distributed equitably; and
  • Enhanced mitigation measures proposed by the Company within the Tailings Storage Facility exceed the Environment Protection Authority’s criteria.

Along with the Submissions Report, an Amendment Report has also been submitted with the Company proposing to incorporate the proposed re-alignment of the 500kV power transmission line that traverses the Mine Site. Environmental assessment for this amendment was previously undertaken as part of the EIS but was excluded from the application.

The Company would like to recognise the considerable effort by its staff, R.W. Corkery & Co and our team of consultants in delivering the outstanding results in not only the EIS but in the Submissions Report and Amendment Report.

Of particular note, we would also like to thank those in the local communities for their unequivocal support for the Project.

The Submissions Report may be viewed at the DPIE Major Projects website at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/9641.

Bowdens Silver will shortly be providing a Community Newsletter incorporating a summary of the key items within the Submissions Report and Amendment Report.

Bowdens Silver Project – Application Amendment

Bowdens Silver recently requested an amendment to the development application to include the realignment of a 500kV transmission line that runs through the proposed mine site. This was based on feedback from TransGrid noting that the realignment would need to be included in the overall application for the Project rather than being assessed under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. This realignment was comprehensively assessed within the EIS and included field surveys for biodiversity and Aboriginal and historic heritage. Also, the construction works required for the realignment have been factored into the assessment of the potential noise and air quality impacts of the Project.

A request was made to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) as delegate of the Independent Planning Commission for the amendment and subsequently accepted. An amendment report will now be prepared and submitted to DPIE.

Further information on the above can be found here.

Bowdens Silver Project & Exploration Update

As most members of the community are aware, in May 2020 Bowdens Silver lodged the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Development Application with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for the Bowdens Silver Project. During the public exhibition period, submissions were received from community members, public organisations as well as State and Local Government agencies. The public submission process showed overwhelming public support for the Project with 79% of all submissions in favour of the Project proceeding. Importantly, no Government agencies objected to the Project and only sought clarification on certain points relevant to their role.

Since that time, Bowdens Silver has been preparing the Response to Submissions which is not only a necessary part of the approvals process but importantly responds to all themes raised during the public submission process. Our Response to Submissions Report is currently being finalised and will be released shortly. At that time, further information will be provided to the community outlining the main themes and outcomes of that work.

In March 2021, Bowdens Silver submitted its Mining Lease Application (“MLA 601”) for the development of the Bowdens Silver Project which forms part of the approvals process.

Exploration work also continues to forge ahead and has expanded with four drill rigs now on-site. Drilling will be predominantly targeting mineralisation below the current proposed open cut pit and nearby extensions with mineralisation remaining open at depth. General exploration work is also planned on some surrounding properties and further afield in agreement with landholders. This work is testing our wider geological modelling of the mineral rich systems. All exploration and subsequent rehabilitation will fall in line with NSW Government approvals. Drilling is likely to continue until at least the end of 2021.

As the Bowdens Silver Project progresses through the approvals process, pre-development work will continue to increase focusing on optimisation of the Project as a whole including detailed design work for the mine infrastructure. To accommodate the increased activity our team has also grown with six new staff in our geology, field services, farming and administration teams. Our Community Investment Program continues to operate which provides sponsorships for a range of organisations and events within the local area across our core areas of support including, education, community, sport, safety and arts and culture. As our Project continues to develop, this program will expand.  Input and ideas from community members regarding funding for meaningful community projects are always most welcome.

 

Mining Lease Application

Bowdens Silver is pleased to advise that it recently submitted its Mining Lease Application for Group 1 minerals silver, zinc and lead with the Department of Regional NSW. Please note that this process is conditional on approval of the Bowdens Silver Project by the relevant authority.

The map below shows the Mining Lease Application boundary. This boundary is an administrative boundary and does not represent the location for mining related infrastructure.

Further information on the overall Bowdens Silver Project can be found in the Environmental Impact Statement summary booklet available on the home page.

Exploration Activity Update

Drilling exploration works are continuing at the Bowdens Silver Project in 2021. Two drill rigs are operating on site with a focus on targeting further high-grade silver zones nearby and below the proposed open cut pit. At present, these activities will continue for the forseeable future in line with current approvals.

 

Virtual Open Day Presentations

Bowdens Silver held two Virtual Open Days on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2020. A range of presentations were delivered and questions answered by representatives from the company, RW Corkery & Co (EIS authors and principal environmental consultant) and other specialist consultants who have contributed to the Environmental Impact Statement.

To view the presentations, please click here.

Exploration Activity Update

The current exploration drilling campaign will be extended and is expected to continue to at least the end of 2020. Drilling will focus on targeting high-grade silver below the current proposed pit and also include multiple new targets to extend beyond the current Mineral Resource. Activities will continue to operate based on current days and timeframes.

Planning is also underway to conduct a gravity geophysical survey that will aid in identifying the extent of underground structures and mineralisation. This survey is low impact and once planned is likely to be conducted over 2 weeks.