Azure Minerals Limited (ASX:AZS) has begun mining at its 100%-owned Oposura zinc-lead-silver project in Sonora, Mexico.
The operation will be mining easily accessible, high-grade mineralised material with monthly production of between 1,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes at grades between 10% to 15% combined zinc and lead.
All mineralisation to be mined is classified as indicated mineral resources and expect
Azure managing director Tony Rovira thanked the entire Azure team for their hard work over the past two years.
He said: “We acquired Oposura in August 2017 and to be commencing an early-stage, low-cost high-grade mining operation within 24 months is a great achievement.
“This operation allows Azure to realise early cash-flow that will help fund the ongoing feasibility study which will ultimately see Oposura in full-scale production.”
Two-phase open pit and underground mining
Processing of the ore is expected to begin in September under a toll treatment agreement with a third-party sulphide flotation processing operation.
Mining will be carried out in two phases, initially by open pit which is currently in progress and then followed by underground extraction.
An open pit mining contractor mobilised to Oposura by Azure in July has to date completed refurbishment of the access road between the mine site and main highway.
Pre-stripping of overburden above the massive sulphide horizon has also been completed, as well as grade control drilling and mining and stockpiling of ore.
Funding through convertible note from major shareholder
Open pit mining will continue throughout July and August with several thousand tonnes of high-grade ore expected to be produced.
The western wall of the open put will be cut back to enable access directly into the historical Tunnel D drive.
Phase-two mining will begin when the underground mining contractor mobilises to site in August.
Room and pillar method will be used to ensure maximum ore recovery while minimising dilution.
Azure secured financing for the mining and processing operation from its major shareholder Deutsche Balaton through a $2-million convertible note, enabling the company to meet start-up costs and ensure adequate working capital.