Silver Mines looking at a better-than-golden opportunity

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

SILVER Mines Ltd is in a sweet spot.

Operating its mine out of Mudgee in central New South Wales, it is the largest undeveloped silver project in Australia – and one of the largest globally – and Silver Mines has received extensive government support.

Initially the mine, known locally as the Bowdens Silver Project, will produce 6 million ounces of silver a year plus some zinc and lead. Roughly 70 percent (%) of the revenues will come from silver, with 20% from zinc and 10% from lead. 

The mine has a 16-year life at present – with the project to run 23 years in total, with rehabilitation – but its potential is actually likely to be far longer lasting.

“When we say a 16 year mine life, we’re happy to say, hand on our hearts, that this project will still be in production in 50 years time,” Silver Mines Ltd recently-retired managing director Anthony McClure told Talking Business. Executive director Jonathan Battershill has followed Mr McClure into the role.

“It’s continuing depth when we keep drilling,” Mr McClure said. “We don’t know the actual size of it but, as of today, the mineral resources have almost 400 million ounces of silver and we’re busy tapping into it in the phase one of development.”

Silver is in greater global demand than ever

Mr McClure said silver was in high demand for solar panels, electric vehicles (EVs) and all electronic goods, because it was the best conductor of electricity.

“When you think about an EV, the drive for the engineers is to get the utmost out of the battery … and to be able to do that, you need connectivity in the car to maximise the output from the battery so silver is through it.

“There’s photovoltaic silver in solar power. It’s the best conductor of electricity.

“It’s in everything we do. There’s a lot of it in conventional cars, or combustion engine cars. It’s through our computers, our phones, in 5G towers. In almost all electronics, you’ll have silver.”

Silver is mainly derived out of Central and South America. Mexico is the largest producer of silver – and China are also producing it, plus they are also recycling the metal.

Australia is in third spot in terms of production. However, Australia is in a good position.

“Silver as a stand-along commodity in Australia is pretty unusual, but we’re still a big producer. But the market is very keen to see silver produced out of tier one jurisdictions and obviously we’re that,” Mr McClure said.

The world looks to Australia

As a result, many lot smelters in the world are now looking at the product produced by Silver Mines.

Mr McClure said a lot of work was now going on to see how silver can be turned into a manufactured product in Australia, such as photovoltaic silver for solar panels, rather than it being bought from places like China.

“We’re the miners but it would be great for us to see manufacturing in Australia for critical minerals,” he said.

“The reason why the Federal and State Governments have a very strong drive in critical minerals and high tech metals is that having reliance on other jurisdictions for these metals is not a great position to be in.

“It would be great to see further manufacturing in Australia. I don’t expect us to be in the market of producing electric vehicles in Australia, but there might be componentry that feeds into electric vehicles,” Mr McClure said.

“Certainly photovoltaic cells are being looked at.”


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

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