Bunker Hill Mining Corp. (the “Company”) is pleased to report that it has completed the underground development ‘breakthrough’ to the 6 Level of the mine, the demolition of the old maintenance shop in preparation for mill construction, and remains on track and on budget for a restart of the mine in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Sam Ash, CEO stated: “The efficient execution of this critical underground development milestone paves the way for the start of low-cost mechanized mining on the first 2 million tons of mineralized material in the upper part of the mine. Its achievement is not only a testament to the skill of our Silver Valley team and superb mining contractor - CMC - but also to the project management team’s ability to keep the restart project on track in the face of inflationary headwinds. This, together with the successful advancement of above-ground activities, bodes well for the restart of the Bunker Hill Mine in Q4 2023.”
Underground Ramp Breaks Through to 6 Level
At approximately 1:00am PT on December 13, 2022, CMC safely completed the primary portion of the 1,800-foot underground decline from the 5 Level to the 6 Level. This allows rubber-tired access from the Russell Portal to the start of the pre-existing Newgard Ramp that allows such access between Levels 6-8 of the mine. Once mining starts, this ramp will be the primary access and egress route to and from the ore body for 20-ton haul trucks. This achievement represents the majority of pre-restart underground development requirements, ensures that underground development remains on schedule and on budget for the planned restart in Q4 2023, and secures access for mechanized mining equipment to ore for the first years of the mine plan.
The focus of underground development will now switch to the rehabilitation of the Newgard ramp down to the 8 Level, and the rehabilitation of the existing underground infrastructure on the 6 Level, including the underground maintenance shop, storage areas and logistic depots plus the establishment of ventilation drifts and air walls. It will be followed by the Wardner power upgrade in Q1 2023, planned and designed in conjunction with Avista Utilities, which will supply 1.85MVA of power to the Russell Portal, in turn providing underground operations with a significant step-up in electrical power and reducing overall operating costs by means of lessening the reliance on diesel generators.
This transformative development enables the start of resource conversion and expansion, pre-production drilling, and opens up the possibility of mining certain ore to be sold onto other Silver Valley-based mining companies in advance of commencing full-scale commercial production in Q4 2023.
Concurrent with the breakthrough, the Company is working to optimize its initial 18-month mine plan, targeting savings in sustaining capital requirements through a reduction in new development in favor of leveraging rehabilitation of pre-existing infrastructure.
Demolition of Old Bunker Hill Maintenance Shop Complete
Above ground, the safe demolition of the old maintenance shop was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. This frees up space needed for the construction of a new, modern, purpose-built mill building that will house a processing facility configured initially for 1,800 tons per day but with the capacity to increase throughput to 2,100 tons per day, pending further studies and optimization work.
Additional elements of surface demolition, including the removal of a retaining wall, underground piping and obsolete utilities will be conducted over the next few weeks before transitioning to mill construction in 2023, starting with the laying of its foundations from January. The phased progress of the demolition of the old maintenance shop can be seen in a short timelapse video recently uploaded onto the Company’s website.
Process Plant Engineering Nearing Completion, Enabling Final Procurement Activity
Subsequent to the issue of the finalized flow sheet, the detailed engineering and planning for the surface footprint at Bunker Hill – the Site General Arrangement – has also now been completed, allowing the team to issue the final design of the layout of the facility within and outside the mill building including the layout of the crushing circuit, concentrate storage, and fine ore storage capacity.
The selection of a Pre-Engineered Metal Building (the “PEMB”) supplier has taken place, to be followed by the selection of the contractor responsible for the focused refurbishment of critical equipment for the process plant.
Concurrent with the PEMB, the project team has also significantly advanced engineering on a concentrate load-out building, has selected a vendor for the ore silo structure as well as finalizing conveyor and crusher designs.
Mr. Scott E. Wilson, CPG, President of RDA and a consultant to the Company, is an independent “qualified person” as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and is acting as the qualified person for the Company. He has reviewed and approved the technical information summarized in this news release.