Bunker Hill achieves underground development milestone, preps mine for mechanized mining

Cutline: A miner working in pre-existing infrastructure seen through the initial breakthrough from 5 level to 6 level. Credit: Bunker Hill Mining

Bunker Hill Mining (CSE: BNKR, OTCQB: BHLL) completed its underground development ‘breakthrough’ to the sixth level of the mine in Idaho. The demolition of the old maintenance shop in preparation for mill construction and remains on track and on budget for a restart of the mine in the fourth quarter of 2023.

On Dec. 13, mining contractor CMC, completed the primary portion of the almost 550-metre underground decline from the 5 level to the 6 level. This allows rubber-tired access from the Russell portal to the start of the pre-existing Newgard ramp that allows such access between levels 6-8 of the mine. 

Once mining starts, this ramp will be the primary access and egress route to and from the orebody for 18-tonne haul trucks. The company claims this achievement represents the majority of pre-restart underground development requirements, ensuring that underground development remains on schedule and on budget, and secures access for mechanized mining equipment to ore for the first years of the mine plan.  

Bunker Hill says the focus of underground development will switch to the rehabilitation of the Newgard ramp down to the 8 level and the rehabilitation of the existing underground infrastructure on the 6 level, including the underground maintenance shop, storage areas and logistic depots plus the establishment of ventilation drifts and air walls. 

It will be followed by the Wardner power upgrade in the first quarter 2023, planned and designed in conjunction with Avista Utilities, which will supply 1.85 MVA of power to the Russell portal, in turn providing underground operations with a step-up in electrical power and reducing overall operating costs by means of lessening the reliance on diesel generators.

According to the company, this development enables the start of resource conversion and expansion, pre-production drilling, and opens up the possibility of mining certain ore to be sold onto other Silver Valley-based mining companies in advance of commencing full-scale commercial production.

“The efficient execution of this critical underground development milestone paves the way for the start of low-cost mechanized mining on the first 1.8 million tonnes of mineralized material in the upper part of the mine. Its achievement is not only a testament to the skill of our Silver Valley team and superb mining contractor – CMC – but also to the project management team’s ability to keep the restart project on track in the face of inflationary headwinds,” said Sam Ash, CEO of Bunker HIll.  

The mine, located in Kellogg and Wardner of Shoshone County, Idaho, produced more than 165 million oz. of silver and 4.5 million tonnes of base metals over nearly 100 years, according to the company.

To learn more, visit www.BunkerHillMining.com.

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