PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A prefeasibility study (PFS) into a Phase 1 starter pit at the Bawdwin polymetallic mine, in Myanmar, has revealed that it will be the world’s third-largest producing lead mine and the tenth largest silver mine, as well as being a significant zinc producer.
ASX-listed Myanmar Metals on Monday reported that the Phase 1 operation would have a mine life of 13 years, processing some two-million tonnes a year of ore to produce 118 000 t/y of lead-in-concentrate, more than 10-million ounces of silver-in-concentrate and 49 000 t/y of zinc-in-concentrate.
The PFS estimated a capital cost of $267-million, with operating costs estimated at $108/t processed. The study calculated a net present value of $580-million for the Phase 1 starter pit, and an internal rate of return of 30%, with a pay-back period of four years.
“Bawdwin’s mineral reserve and mineral resources underpin a very long life mining operation. The PFS represents our plan for Phase 1 of mining operations and this phase of life-of-mine infrastructure is built and paid for,” said Myanmar chairperson and CEO John Lamb.
“With the infrastructure paid for in Phase 1, it is clear that future mining operations, including the first two underground mines now under scoping study, have potential to be very value accretive.”
The starter pit operations would start in late 2021, after a 21-month construction period, with underground mining operations likely to start around year six of the starter pit. The underground operations have not been included in the PFS estimates.
Furthermore, the production of a copper concentrate product was not contemplated in the PFS, and copper has not been modelled as a payable metal in the lead/silver or zinc concentrate products.
Myanmar said that the mining, separate stockpiling and processing of copper-rich material would allow production of a copper concentrate product at the processing site, but noted that further resource drilling would be required to add to Bawdwin’s existing inferred copper mineral resource of 4.4-million tonnes at 3% copper, 5.2% lead, 178 g/t silver and 2.6% zinc, to support the production of a copper concentrate.