Mineral exploration company Adriatic Metals is planning to start production at its Vares Silver Project in central Bosnia in November 2023, reported Reuters, citing the company’s CEO, Paul Cronin.

Covering a 41km² concession area, the Vares silver project is located in the Vares municipality of the Zenica-Doboj Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Vares project was a previously operating open-pit mine. It produced lead, zinc and barite concentrates prior to suspending operations in 1988.

The project comprises two mineral resources including the Rupice underground deposit and the Veovaca open pit deposit, which are located 11km apart.

Adriatic Metals determined the Rupice deposit’s potential economic viability in 2017 following its acquisition earlier in the same year.

The company now expects to produce 65,000 tonnes (t) of lead-silver concentrate and 90,000t of zinc concentrate from 800,000t of polymetallic ore from the mine.

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By GlobalData

Cronin was quoted by the news agency as saying at the company’s new offices in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “This project grows Bosnia’s GDP by 2%, that’s a huge increase.

“We currently have a resource of 21 million tonnes of polymetallic ore that includes copper, silver, zinc, lead and gold. Mining in Bosnia has a big future because you’ve got a huge potential for exploration that would lead to new mines.”

Cronin added that the company has so far invested $40m (£32.3m) on exploration work at the mine and an additional $30m has been approved to continue with the mine exploration work.

Adriatic Metals has decided to rebuild an old mining plant that will involve the construction of a 25km road connecting Vares with the town of Zenica. The decision is based on the mine’s environmental and health risks analysis.

Cronin noted: “The mine will be one of the lowest-impact mines in the world. We’ve built something that’s very small, designed to fit sympathetically in the environment.”

Furthermore, the company plans to restore a railway line to allow ore shipment via Sarajevo to the Croatian port of Ploce and further on to smelters in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Italy.

Cronin added: “We specifically created products that suit European smelters because Europeans need to produce their own metals or Europe will always be at the mercy of places such as Russia or China.”