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SilverCrest gets operating permit for Las Chispas

Las Chispas gold-silver project in Sonora, Mexico. Photo by SilverCrest Metals.

Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources approved SilverCrest Metals’ (TSXV: SIL) Environmental Impact Statement for the development of its Las Chispas gold-silver project in the state of Sonora. 

The acceptance of the statement -known as MIA- provides the Canadian company with conditional approval to build, in a 96-hectare space, a 3,000-tonne-per-day underground mine and a conventional processing facility with subsequent dry stack tailings and underground backfill for Las Chispas. 

SilverCrest wants to begin construction in H2 2020

In a press release, the miner said the MIA remains in good standing for 14 years until July 17, 2033, subject to appropriate environmental management activities. 

“The MIA should enable SilverCrest to have all major operating permits in hand ahead of our scheduled construction timeline,” N. Eric Fier, SilverCrest’s CEO, explained in the media brief. “With the anticipated completion of a successful Feasibility Study in H1, 2020, the company is well positioned to project finance and begin construction activities in H2 2020.” 

The Las Chispas property consists of 28 concessions totalling 1400 hectares and is located 180 kilometres northeast of the town of Hermosillo in northwestern Mexico.  

SilverCrest has 14 active drill rigs on the site which, according to the company, continue to test, expand and upgrade the high-grade resource delineated to date. 

Back in March, a resource update was performed and estimates show that Las Chispas contains 1 million indicated tonnes grading 6.98 grams per tonne gold and 710.6 grams silver, or 1,234 grams silver equivalent, for 224,900 oz. gold and 22.89 million oz. silver, or 39.8 million oz. silver equivalent.

The project also contains 3.6 million inferred tonnes at 3.32 grams gold and 332.5 grams silver, or 581 grams silver equivalent, for 388,300 oz. gold and 38.9 million oz. silver, or 68.1 million oz. silver equivalent.