Adriatic Metals builds underground mining fleet at Vares silver project

As Adriatic Metals gears up for first concentrate production at its Vares silver project in Bosnia & Herzegovina, it has revealed details of the mining fleet set to carry out work at the underground Rupice mine.

In its latest update, the company said project construction was 45% complete, with decline development progressing well – the lower decline currently being at at 210 m and upper decline at 100 m.

The majority of long-lead items and equipment orders were expected to come in on schedule, however global supply chain disruption has pushed first concentrate production from the end of the June quarter of 2023 into the September quarter, it said.

In the company’s 2021 definitive feasibility study, it shifted focus from a combined open pit and underground operation to an underground-only operation focused on Rupice, highlighting plans to mine 730,000 t/y of ore over a 10-year mine life.

In Adriatic’s most recent update, it highlighted that the fleet of vehicles required for Phase One (decline development) was on site, with delivery of Phase Two and Three vehicles commencing.

Among the fleet on site at Rupice is a Sandvik LH514i LHD, two Sandvik LH517i LHDs, a Cat 950L wheel loader, a Sandvik TH545i truck (second unit arriving in December), an Epiroc Boomer 282 jumbo drill, two Sandvik DD320 jumbos, two Sandvik DS311 rock bolters, two Titan IS26 shotcrete sprayers, three Titan BYM 6.0 underground mixer trucks and a Titan EC2 explosive charger.

Adriatic said the final project cost estimate had increased marginally from $170 million to $173 million, due to increases in engineering costs, plant and electrical equipment, including adjustments based on recent contract awards.

For the Vares silver project lower costs

An updated definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Vares silver project, in Bosnia & Herzegovina, has seen capital costs decline while the project’s net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR) have increased.

ASX-listed Adriatic Metals this week reported that an updated capital cost estimate for the Vares silver project had estimated that the project would require a $168-million investment, compared with the $173-million estimated in the 2020 DFS

The updated DFS has also increased the project’s post tax NPV from the $1.04-billion reported in the original DFS to $1.06-billion, while the IRR has increased from 113% to 134%.

The pay-back period has declined from 1.2 years to 0.7 years, while the project’s all-in sustaining cost estimates have declined from $9.70/oz to $7.30/oz of silver

“The completion of the 2021 DFS is a major milestone for the company, and clearly demonstrates the exceptional potential of the Vares silver project”, said Adriatic MD and CEO Paul Cronin.

“Project delivery and execution risks have been substantially reduced through the simplification of the process flowsheet and initial capital costs lowered against the backdrop of inflationary construction costs, whilst improving the overall project economics. In the design of this project, environmental and economic sustainability have been at the core of our thinking, shaping the project to ensure that its economic and environmental benefits extend well beyond the current mine life, and provide a perpetual benefit to our local community in Vares and indeed, to the BiH economy”.

Cronin said that the company’s focus would now be on finalising project financing, which is well advanced, and concurrently starting constructio,n while continuing to look for marginal improvements in metallurgical recovery, and capital and operating costs.

“Additionally, we have commenced a study to expand the renewable energy production we have at the Vares processing plant, and [to] augment that capacity to ensure that the Vares silver project reduces its carbon emissions significantly, soon after the commencement of commercial production. As demonstrated in our recent exploration results, we are confident that we can expand the resources and reserves at the Vares project and look forward to working with the Vares community for decades to come, jointly demonstrating the benefits of mining operations in a European context”.

Source: Mining Weekly