Long process to re-open Endeavor

Endeavor Mine Headframe ▪ File Photo

Cobar was buzzing with the news last week the Endeavor Mine would be sold after Polymetals Resources Ltd announced it had entered into a sale agreement with Orana Minerals.

And while there was plenty of excited anticipation that new jobs would be created, Polymetals Executive Chairman Dave Sproule told The Cobar Weekly a possible mine re-start would still be a long way off.

“Our motto is to hasten slowly,” Mr Sproule said.

He said the aim was to bring the Endeavor Project back on-line on a measured basis once sufficient ore reserves were established to support long-term production.

“An explorations and remodeling exercise has to be done first. We have no intention of starting the project too soon without having sufficient reserves ahead of us to support the operation in the future,” he said.

“We’d like to demonstrate sufficient ore reserves to give us at least five to 10 years mine life.

“It’s going to take some time to demonstrate.

“There is remnant resources within the mine, but they need to be re-modelled, and mining methods also, to see what might actually be extracted from the mine

“We will also be focusing on precious metals, gold and silver, so we’re looking very keenly at the geology at the deposit and we’re also looking very keenly at the regional exploration,” he said.

“The project takes in 1,100km² of exploration licences and there’s about 50 years of exploration history within that licensed area,” he said.

“We’ve been combing through the data looking at exploration targets which need to be tested and hopefully some of those will return resources and hopefully reserves.

“Polymetals has always been very cost effective at how we do things.

“We just need to get it right.”

Mr Sproule said the renegotiation of the silver royalty over the mine from a 100 per cent Silver Streaming Royalty to a four per cent lead, zinc and silver Net Smelter Royalty had greatly improved mine economics.

“It has removed a significant financial constraint and enhanced the potential to unlock new life for the project,” Mr Sproule said.

“Exploration success, followed by relevant scoping, prefeasibility and feasibility studies have the potential to deliver a long-term economic mining operation.”

When asked if he thought the mine could ever get back to “full swing”, Mr Sproule said he couldn’t say.

“It depends on the success of our exploration work, our remodeling work and, in particular, metallurgical test work, that might allow us to be able to leach a portion of gold and silver from the ore and add further revenue.”

He said the mine currently has a standard flotation plant and the company may be able to extract further value by applying hydrometallurgical or other processing techniques.

“We understand only too well what that means for the Cobar township, the region, the suppliers, the workforce and so on.

“It will be a hands-on approach, a practical approach and we’ll hasten slowly,” he said.