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Adriatic Metals opens Bosnia silver mine

Adriatic Metals (ASX: ADT) (LON: ADT1) officially opened on Tuesday its Vares silver project in central Bosnia, Europe’s first new mine in over a decade.

Vares, which produced first concentrate last week, is the result of Adriatic’s efforts to revive a former silver operation that was abandoned during the years of civil unrest that hit the region since the early 1990s.

The opening event took place at the Vares Processing Plant and was attended by the Nermin Nikšić, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zdravko Marošević, Mayor of Vares and other authorities.

Adriatic Metals said it will now work on increasing processing activities to reach nameplate capacity of 800,000 tonnes by the fourth quarter of this year.

Chief executive officer, Paul Cronin, told MINING.COM that the original idea was to resume operations at the old open pit, which has 7 million tonnes of resources still in it. Studies conducted later showed high levels of harmful elements, particularly mercury, so Adriatic Metals chose not to go that route.

Instead, the junior invested in exploration and pinpointed what is now its flagship silver-zinc asset, which has been awarded the status of “project of special importance” by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Adriatic, which went from the exploration phase to first concentrate production in less than seven years, invested $250 million to bring Vares back to life.

“I am delighted to celebrate this momentous occasion with the team who helped deliver this project,” Cronin said in the statement.

“This not only a significant milestone in Adriatic’s journey to becoming a mid-tier, European focused mining company, but also a turning point for the local community as well,” he noted. 

The company says the development included the use of the latest technology available and was completed was completed using local employees and suppliers. “It demonstrates that mining operations can be constructed and operated in a sustainable way in Europe, while supporting the economy and improve living standards both locally and nationally,” Cronin said.

The Vares project contributed to 25% of Bosnian 2022 foreign direct investment and is expected to account for 2% of the country’s GDP during operations.

About 27% of the mine’s employees are women, Adriatic noted, which exceed the global mining workforce average of 15% according to a 2020 World Bank report. It also surpasses the approximately 10% representation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More