PFS Supports Myanmar’s Starter Pit Development

Myanmar Metals has reported the results of a prefeasibility study (PFS) that supports development of a high-grade, 13- year “Starter Pit” at the Bawdwin leadzinc- silver project in northeast Myanmar. In steady state production, the Starter Pit would become the world’s third-largest lead mine, its 10th-largest silver mine, and a globally significant zinc producer. Project development is a joint-venture between Myanmar Metals (51%) and local partners WMM and East Asia Power (Mining) Co. Ltd., each holding a 24.5% interest.

The Starter Pit would mine 24.7 million metric tons (mt), grading 6.4% lead, 168 grams/mt silver, and 3.2% zinc, while leaving the bulk of the Bawdwin project mineral resource un-mined. Capital costs to develop the Starter Pit are estimated at $267 million, plus a $33 million contingency. Total operating costs are estimated at $108/mt processed. Project payback is estimated at four years.

JORC-compliant probable ore reserves currently stand at 18.4 million mt, representing 74% of the total production from the Starter Pit. The PFS demonstrates potential to begin pilot-scale mining operations in 2019 ahead of full-scale mining in 2021. Results of the PFS will be further refined in a definitive feasibility study.

Starter Pit mining is scheduled to begin in late 2021 after a 21-month construction period. Myanmar Metals currently contemplates that underground mining operations could begin around year six of the Starter Pit. The conventional differential sulphide flotation processing facility will produce two concentrates, a high-grade lead-silver concentrate and a zinc concentrate, at an average steady state rate of 196,000 mt/y and 93,000 mt/y, respectively. In steady state operation, the plant will process 2 million mt/y of mineralized material.

The PFS contemplates transport of the concentrate products on existing roads from the Bawdwin processing plant, via the township of Namtu, past the city of Lashio, across the Chinese border at Ruili, and on to smelters in the vicinity of Dali, China, a total trip of about 420 kilometers (km).

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 06 -