The 37 ounce historic first pour is the first of many. What is in the pipeline right now and what can shareholders expect over the next few months?
Mineral Solutions is currently identifying the right particle size of the rock to get maximum recovery of the silver. They also want to do a combination of flotation and gravity work to get the highest concentrate grade to process through to refining, to achieve at least 98% plus recovery.
As we determine the exact grind particle size, we will change the configuration of the crushing grinding circuit to suit. Getting it right the first time is the difference between making it or breaking it, and many mines have had costly overruns by not getting this stage right. Just as we have had lots of very talented people get the mining right, we have extremely talented people doing the processing/refining stage. Better to be patient. This will not be done overnight.
We are looking to do a vertical integration of all the stages through to the final refining .9999 fine, or four nines. For comparison, LBMA good delivery bars are +/- 1,000 ounces and are only .999 fine, or three nines.
Due to the nuclear winter in the markets this past eight months that starved everyone of working capital, including Bayhorse, we did not get to the high-grade zones until late September. Which is why we are late getting all this work done. Mines take money before they make money.
Going forward, Apex Geoscience will conduct the geological mapping and decide what we will mine first. While that is happening, we will put a new working drift into the Big Dog zone to enable bulk mining from two working faces, the Goldilocks and the Big Dog zones.
At the same time, subject to financing, of course, we will complete rearranging the primary and secondary crushing circuits, to speed them up and reduce identified bottlenecks. By the time that is finished, Minerals should have finished their work, and we should be well underway mining, processing and refining.
Does the Mineral Solution process allow the recovery of other metals in the Bayhorse Rock. What are those metals?
The Bayhorse mineralization is a polymetallic deposit, mainly Tetrahedrite, that is copper/silver, but also carries lead, zinc, and antimony as the minor metals. One of the problems with any refining process, is how to separate these minerals cost effectively. For Bayhorse mineralization, silver and copper are the primary metals and to refine them the rest have to be suppressed in the concentration stage.
This is why so many small mines have problems getting their concentrate to market. Smelters and refiners have almost disappeared in North America, with most now offshore. Every smelter has a primary metal that they process. For example, the Trail smelter primarily does zinc, with lead and silver. It does not do copper. Others do copper, silver, and gold, but not lead, zinc, and antimony. So, they either won’t take the ore, or charge an arm and a leg to the mine to get rid of what they call, “deleterious metals” that interfere with their recovery process.
So, we will probably get copper along with the silver, and try to defray the cost of getting rid of the lead, zinc, and antimony that will cause problems in the refining stage.
In terms of mining, have you identified a reasonable quantity of high-grade rock? What sorts of grades are you looking at and how much of that rock have you identified?
While we have identified what we believe is a reasonable quantity of high grade, we are leaving it up to Apex Geoscience to determine the tonnage and what the mining grades will be and guide the miners to get the most out of the mine. If you have a one-foot thick zone of 300 ounces a ton, you cannot mine that narrow, so it will have to be averaged over the actual mining width, that could be four or five feet, so that brings the average grade down. Mind you, the ore-sorter takes care of a lot of that waste, but waste still has to be mined to get the good stuff.
The material we sent to Minerals was averaging 300 oz per ton silver. This is without sorting. Straight from the mine face to Minerals. That gives an indication of the very high grades in the mine, and why Apex was able to establish the average 21.65 ounces per ton in the 43-101.
The miner’s adage, is drift into the high grade as narrow as possible and get the high grade to pay off as many of the upfront costs as possible, then when backing out, slab off the lower grades and leave as little behind as practicable.
Is your current Private Placement still open for subscription?
Yes, it is. Mining costs money, and to get to where we have positive cash flow we need additional funding.
The PP is a 10 cent share and a 2 year 15 cent warrant. We are already filling up the second tranche. Anyone wants to participate, email us at email@example.com
Will you be announcing new pours with recovery rates as they occur?
Yes, we will. Minerals is being very careful in evaluating the silver recovery, just as we have been very cautious in everything we have done so far. Our goal is to get 98% plus recovery. The 1984 mining program was really concerned about recovery rates, as they were not up to their expectations. That is why we are leaving no stone unturned in identifying the right crush/milling particle size, for flotation and leaching. The recovery numbers will be variable at first until we get the process fine-tuned, but we are encouraged by the preliminary results.
What is Bayhorse’s time line to commercial production and can Mineral Solutions scale to meet that production?
That is what the next couple of months are about. Minerals getting their part right, and telling us what we need to do to give them the right stuff, so we get our part right. This should all happen concurrently during this time. We will gradually ramp up to full production over the next few months. Hiccups will occur, but we have talented teams to take care of them.
At this point, what is the estimated all in cash cost per ounce of silver from the Bayhorse mine using the Mineral Solutions process.
Ah! That is the 64 dollar question. We have our internal numbers based upon the last two years of underground operations, and have put in a hefty number for the processing refining stage. We are targeting an all-in cash cost of US$10.00 per ounce, or less, but it will probably take 12 months of operations before we can say for sure what our exact costs are. Mind you, some of our costs should be lower, because we do not have to ship containers of concentrate to China, or suffer the low smelter payouts. Then there is VAT that does not get charged, nor potential tariffs. All in all, we are much better off with Mineral Solutions.
We believe the mine will be profitable, or we would not be doing it, but ask me again in six months.