Silver Bullet begins work to restart production at Washington gold mine in Idaho

The Washington gold mine has potential to be reopened. Credit: Silver Bullet Mines Corp.

In preparation for rehabilitation and production at the historic Washington mine in Idaho, Silver Bullet Mines (TSXV: SBMI; OTC: SBMCF) has now commenced sitework beginning with a local portable sawmill operator for milling timbers on the property. A contractor has also been scheduled to upgrade the access road and to establish site water, electricity and storage.

The near-term surface work will focus on rock bolting, screening and shotcreting the historical portal face, as well as preparing timbers and insulation for mine entry support. Subject to completion of a federal agency filing and the approval of mine design by Silver Bullet’s mine engineer, underground rehabilitation is anticipated to begin in October. However, a timetable for production could not be provided, as that largely depends upon the rehabilitation process.

The Washington mine first saw production in the late 1800s with an average gold grade of 34.28 g/t. It again produced gold in the 1930s, during which time the then-owner lacked the process capability needed to produce silver, so a decision was made to block out the silver mineralization with the intention of returning at a future date to extract it.

To the best of the company’s knowledge, the blocked-out volume remains in situ. A historical report (December 1981) indicated that the blocked-out volume contains an estimated 3 million oz. of silver with a grade of 1,030 to 3,085 g/t and 15,000 oz. of gold at 10.28 g/t.

This part of the Washington mine was last mined in the 1980s, when a bulk sample was removed by the then-owner and processed by Hecla Mining. That bulk sample resulted in a grade of 1,508 g/t silver and 10 g/t.

According to Silver Bullet, the historical records and existing infrastructure suggest it should be able to, in the short-term, extract a bulk sample of 1,500 to 3,000 tonnes of mineralized material from that blocked-out volume. After a brief pause to assess the results of the bulk sample and to inspect more of the existing infrastructure, the company would continue extracting material from this part of the mine and also develop a ramp to the high-grade parallel structure identified in last year’s field program.

Based on findings from the 1981 report and results of the 2021 field program, Silver Bullet took a bulk sample from the Washington mine earlier this year, averaging 1,734.4 g/t silver within the historical parameters of 937.5 to 2,812.5 g/t.

Further, the company may have found the surface expression of the Berger vein, which was historically described as a gold ore shoot 7.62 metres wide, 41.15 metres long and unknown depth. Average grades were given as 9.38 g/t gold with unknown silver content. Silver Bullet believes future field work comprising soil geochemistry and hand trenching could lead to exposure of in-place gold mineralization.

The Washington mine is located on patented land in the Boise Basin area of Idaho. The property covers approximately 294 hectares, with the ability to expand through additional agreements for U.S. Bureau of Land Management mining claims.

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