SilverCrest Metals Inc. ("SilverCrest" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the receipt of the underground drilling permit, including the permission to mine a 100,000-tonne bulk sample for testing and processing off-site. With these permits in hand, the Company is preparing to commence an extensive Phase II exploration program at the Las Chispas Project ("Las Chispas").
N. Eric Fier, CPG, P.Eng, CEO and President commented, "We are very encouraged with the early success from our initial drilling campaign at Las Chispas, which has confirmed continuity of high grades over potential mineable thicknesses. With the underground drilling permit, we will start drill-defining resources and preparing for a broader Phase II exploration program. Our current focus is to systematically drill the Las Chispas and William Tell veins in a grid pattern for resource estimation, test vein extensions and to further explore the Babicanora area. SilverCrest's schedule is to establish a maiden resource estimation in the first half of 2017. We see further upside in this historic silver-gold mining district with prospective discoveries of multiple unidentified veins, and drill testing Babicanora which is considered the largest target in the district."
Summary of Phase I Exploration Program
SilverCrest's recently completed Phase I exploration work consisted of approximately 6,400 metres of drilling in 22 core holes. Details of the Phase I drilling results were previously announced on the Company's news releases dated August 2, September 7 and September 14, 2016. In summary, 19 core holes have been drilled in the Las Chispas and William Tell veins. All drill holes intercepted quartz stockwork veinlets, veining and/or breccia. The drilling has defined several discoveries and confirmed high grade continuity with resultant multiple drill intercepts of greater than 2,000 grams per tonne ("gpt") silver equivalent ("AgEq", based on 75:1 Ag:Au and 100% metallurgical recovery). The remaining 3 holes, of the 22 drilled, targeted the La Victoria area which is approximately one kilometre southwest of the historic Babicanora Mine. The Las Chispas discoveries may be influenced by a controlling, cross-cutting, high-grade structural corridor that extends from the Las Chispas Vein through the William Tell Vein and southwest beyond Babicanora. This corridor is potentially 750 metres wide (Figure 1), and high grade mineralization appears to extend to a depth of at least 300 metres from the surface.
Some of the more significant core drilling results for the Las Chispas Vein include 4.6 metres in true width of 4.56 gpt gold and 621.5 gpt silver, or 963 gpt AgEq, including 0.8 metres grading 18.55 gpt gold and 2,460.0 gpt silver, or 3,851 gpt AgEq in hole LC16-05. Drill hole LC16-08 showed 7.2 metres in true width grading 2.41 gpt gold and 311.5 gpt silver, or 492 gpt AgEq, and a more recently announced drill assay from hole LC16-18 drilled 1.0 metre grading 1.55 gpt gold and 706.0 gpt silver, or 822 gpt AgEq (Figure 2).
The William Tell Vein runs parallel to the Las Chispas Vein and is about 120 metres to the west. The Company discovered what appears to be an unmined faulted southern extension of the William Tell Vein. Four of seven drill holes at William Tell intersected high-grade mineralization. The most notable core drilling results are 2.3 metres in true width grading 1.63 gpt gold and 583.6 gpt silver, or 705 gpt AgEq, including 0.8 metre of 3.81 gpt gold and 1,102.0 gpt silver, or 1,388 gpt AgEq in hole LC16-03 (Figure 3). Hole LC16-03 has been reinterpreted, and true thickness has been changed from 1.5 metres, as previously announced on September 7, 2016, to 2.3 metres. Drill hole LC16-15 showed 1.3 metres in true width grading 1.94 gpt gold and 352.0 gpt silver, or 494 gpt AgEq.
Two new vein discoveries were made with drill holes LC16-13 and LC16-16 near the William Tell vein. Reported grades of these new veins were 4.79 gpt gold and 364.0 gpt silver, or 723 gpt AgEq and 6.57 gpt gold and 395.0 gpt silver, or 888 gpt AgEq over estimated true widths of 0.8 metres and 0.9 metres, respectively.
Of the 14 historically identified veins near the Las Chispas and William Tell veins, 12 have been located by the Company. In the Babicanora area, five historically identified veins plus two additional veins have been located by the Company (see Figure 1).
As of September 15, 2016, approximately 6 kilometres of 11.5 kilometres of underground workings have been rehabilitated by the Company, with rehabilitation work continuing over the remainder of 2016. To date, an estimated 2,055 underground rock chip/channel samples have been collected and assayed, with 301 sample results grading above a cutoff grade of 150 gpt AgEq; averaging 4.35 gpt gold and 331.6 gpt silver or 658 gpt AgEq. In addition to chip/channel sampling, underground backfill sampling is being completed while removing material to gain access to the workings. Average backfill sample results show 2.45 gpt gold and 226.3 gpt silver, or 410 gpt AgEq for the Las Chispas Vein, 1.24 gpt gold and 212.1 gpt silver, or 305 gpt AgEq for the William Tell Vein, and 1.88 gpt gold and 126.1 gpt silver, or 267 gpt AgEq for the Babicanora Vein. Backfill material will be considered in the upcoming resource estimation.
Surface dump trenching and sampling is ongoing in easily accessible areas. Results as of September 15, 2016 from 493 samples show potential economic material immediately available for possible processing. Average dump grades are 1.04 gpt gold and 78.1 gpt silver, or 156 gpt AgEq with select grades up to 4,548 gpt AgEq. Dumps will be considered in the upcoming resource estimation.
Approximately 1.2 square kilometres of surface area have been geologically mapped with select sampling. Surface rock sampling results range from trace to 15.05 gpt gold and 1340.0 gpt silver or 2,469 gpt AgEq. Further expanding surface mapping and sampling is ongoing.
Phase II Exploration Program Outlook
The Company is preparing an underground core drilling program of 2,000 metres and a minimum surface core drill program of 6,000 metres. Phase II will commence in November 2016 and will test potential near-surface resource areas, as well as extensional targets along trend and below the historic workings.
Underground drilling is planned to start at Babicanora with approximately 5 to 10 core holes to initially test the historic mine area and multiple parallel veins. Drill access to the historic mine is provided by a 4 metre by 4 metre portal and a 230 metre drift which intersects the Babicanora Vein. Subsequent Phase II surface drilling is planned for Babicanora to initially evaluate its estimated 2.5 kilometre strike length with multiple parallel veins, stockwork and breccias (Figure 1). As with the Las Chispas and William Tell veins, Babicanora has not been previously drilled.
Additional surface and underground drilling will be conducted at the Las Chispas and William Tell veins where the Company recently completed the successful Phase I program. The focus will be on infill drilling for resource estimation and step out drilling to test the possible southern and northern vein extensions of the Las Chispas and William Tell veins.
Phase II drilling will also include initial drilling of other targets on the Company's concessions including the historic Varela Mine, Espiritu Santo Mine, and Granaditas Mine (Figure 1). The Company anticipates that this Phase II campaign will be completed by early Q2 2017, with the results to be incorporated into a maiden resource estimate for the Las Chispas project in late Q2 2017.
As previously reported, the underground drill program will also focus on the delineation of a large bulk sample. A bulk sample is a large sample, in many cases hundreds or thousands of tonnes, and is generally a composite of material from development drifts and raises. It is also used to define metallurgical characteristics. With continued success, the Company expects to begin with its bulk sample in late 2017. Arrangements for processing the bulk sample off site are required.
As previously reported, the first Las Chispas NI 43-101 technical report (non-resource) is currently being completed and will be available before the end of October 2016.
The Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects for this news release is N. Eric Fier, CPG, P.Eng, CEO and President, who has reviewed and approved its contents.