Receipt of the approval gives the company a conditional green light to build a 3,000 tonne per day underground mine and a conventional processing facility with dry stack tailings and underground backfill at Las Chispas.
"The [approval] should enable SilverCrest to have all major operating permits in hand ahead of our scheduled construction timeline. With the anticipated completion of a successful feasibility study in [the first semester of] 2020, the company is well positioned to project finance and begin construction activities in [the second semester of] 2020," said CEO Eric Fier in a statement.
The approval is based on several conditions and requirements and remains in good standing for 14 years until July 2033. It permits up to two dry stack tailings areas within the permitted area as well as using tailings for mine backfill. The operating permit is for underground mining only and is conditional on several standard SEMARNAT requirements designed to protect and monitor the environment, which must be completed before construction begins.
Work related to conditional requirements of the operating permit have been budgeted for and are included in the company's work schedule.
SilverCrest has 14 drill rigs on site, which continue to test, expand and upgrade the high-grade resource delineated to date. A feasibility study expected in the first half of 2020.
Las Chispas has a February 2019 indicated resource of 1 million tonnes grading 6.98 grams per tonne of gold and 711g/t of silver for 224,900 ounces of gold and 22.9Moz of silver. It also has an inferred resource of 3.6mt grading 3.32g/t of gold and 333g/t of silver for 388,300oz of gold and 38.9Moz of silver.
Shares in SilverCrest Metals (TSXV:SIL) are trading at C$5.74, valuing the company at $492 million. Its share price has increased 50.7% so far this year.