TSX-V-listed Silver Bullet Mines (SBMI) has made a surprise discovery of significant quantities of palladium and gold in the mineralised material from its Buckeye silver mine, in Arizona, which CEO John Carter says could be a “game changer” for the company.
The gold and palladium were discovered after SBMI initially processed about 60 t of Buckeye material at its 100%-owned mill, and then encountered challenges in pouring proper silver dore bars to satisfy the outstanding sample run order.
To help identify the source of this, SBMI sent a sample from its concentrates to third-party lab Lone Pine for analysis, which revealed elevated levels of palladium and gold. The analysis found 83.8 parts per million (ppm) palladium and 50. 8 ppm of gold, among other elements.
(One ppm is equivalent to one gram per tonne. There are 28.35 g in an ounce.)
“Those are astonishing results for the gold and palladium,” said Carter. “To the best of our knowledge, the only significant producer of palladium in the United States of America is Sibanye-Stillwater, in Montana, so this is a possible game-changer, not just for SBMI, but for platinum group metal exploration in Arizona.”
“We have heard anecdotal evidence of platinum/palladium production as a by-product of porphyry mining in the Globe area and have seen data from a local prospective platinum/palladium property, but we are still investigating what our results mean. At this time, the company is actively investigating the source and recovery of the anomalous palladium and gold values and is currently engaging additional technical support in this pursuit,” Carter said.
SBMI has sent a second batch of samples from a 140 t bulk sample to Lone Pine, which also returned elevated concentrates of gold and palladium. In response to these unusual values, SBMI will be undertaking a referee sampling with another independent third-party ISO-accredited lab.
“We made a decision early on to build our own mill in Arizona to high standards, and as a result we have been able to immediately recognise there were significant amounts of elements other than silver in this new material,” said Carter.
“Standard exploration techniques may not have found the gold or palladium without the expenditure of millions of exploration dollars. We are there now, more quickly for less money.”