30/11/21: 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:
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.
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.