Argent Minerals Ltd (ASX: ARD) disclosed today a revised estimate of the silver-lead-zinc-barite resources at Kempfield near Bathurst - home of one of the first gold finds in Australia.
Argent said the project's silver resource has increased to 13 million ounces, 9 million of which lie within 70 metres of surface.
The latest resource above 70m - using a 60 g/t silver cut-off -- was 2.7 million tonnes grading 100 g/t Ag, 0.4% lead, 0.7% zinc and 27% barite, while below 70m - at a 100 g/t Ag equivalent cut-off - was 1.9 Mt @ 72 g/t Ag, 0.9% Pb, 2.1% Zn and 23% barite.
Heap leaching specialist Kappes Cassiday undertook metallurgical work, and the mining engineering group, expected to complete the scoping study within a month, is viewing a mining operation extracting 400,000 tonnes per annum for five to six years.
Argent said the process route would involve heap leaching the crushed ore followed by silver recovery via the Merrill Crowe process.
The revised estimates are based on 60 grams/tonne silver from surface to 70m depth and for 100 g/t Ag equivalent ore at greater depths.
Argent listed in April 2008 and is earning a 70% stake in Kempfield from Golden Cross Resources Ltd (ASX: GCR).
The updated resource is within three deposits covering a strike length of 3 kilometres, with the BJ zone the largest, containing 60% of tonnes and 66% of contained silver.
Argent said the bulk of mineralisation occurs in a number of lenses, which in aggregate have a north-south strike length of about 260m and extend to 190m below the surface.
The zone is open at depth and to the south and contains, as do the other two zones, plunging shoots of higher grade lead-zinc. (Hole AKRC 19) intersected 14m at 6.6% Zn, 1.4% Pb and 41 g/t Ag.
Executive chairman Kerry McHugh said these higher grade shoots will be the target of future exploration drilling to identify additional resources.
He said the objective of future exploration will be to identify sufficient high grade mineralisation that could be treated in a flotation plant. The base metal resource amenable to open pit mining already delineated at Sunny Corner, about 83 km away, is also a potential source of feedstock for such a plant.