Dr. Rui Feng reports
SILVERCORP TO HIGHLIGHT INNOVATIVE WASTE REDUCTION INITIATIVES IN UPCOMING ANNUAL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
Silvercorp Metals Inc. has provided an update on innovative waste reduction initiatives undertaken at the company's mines. Silvercorp's key values -- respect, equality, and responsibility -- guide the company's environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. Silvercorp strives to create "green mines" and pursue sustainable development initiatives throughout the mining life cycle by integrating efficient technology and innovative systems into mine planning and ESG management practices.
Silvercorp chairman and chief executive officer, Dr. Rui Feng, commented: "As part of our commitment to safety, efficiency and environmental stewardship, we are pleased to introduce technology that converts solid wastes such as tailings and waste rock into resources. Our management of waste generated from the company's mines is integral to the strategic land reclamation activities and reducing the costs and liabilities associated with waste management. We are proud to integrate innovative sustainable development initiatives at our operations."
A billion tonnes of tailings and waste rock are generated each year in China and produce a series of environmental issues, such as land usage, vegetation destruction and air pollution. The mining activities at the Ying mining district have historically produced volumes of waste rock that require a substantial amount of land for storage. Through the use of a treatment plant, waste rock can be converted to sand and gravel aggregate thereby reducing the consumption of primary resources, land, environmental risks and overall costs.
Luoyang Hongfa Building Materials Co. Ltd. -- Ying mining district, Henan province, China
In April, 2020, Silvercorp, in conjunction with Luoning City Investment Company, commenced construction of a one-million-tonne-per-year aggregate waste rock treatment plant. The plant was designed to reduce the Ying mining district's surface waste rock impoundments on-site and maximize the recovery and recycling processes. Silvercorp provided approximately $4.4-million (U.S.) to construct the plant and will recoup its capital costs prior to the plant's profits being distributed to the partners, providing an additional economic benefit to the local community through the commercialization of the sand and gravel for the construction industry of Luoning county and neighbouring areas. The aggregate production line was officially commissioned in April, 2021.
Technology, innovation and the environment
The development of a low-carbon system that reduces waste, land use and costs was a key consideration in improving the waste rock management practices at the Ying mining district. Adherence to high national and provincial standards for emissions guided the construction and design of the plant. As a result, the company is pleased to report that the plant will be classified as an ultralow-emission facility. In building the plant, the main goal was to maximize the recovery and recycling processes through efficient development. Key processes of the plant include: a vertical shaft impact crusher, an automated PLC1 production control system and a fully enclosed production line.
History of community collaboration and waste reduction -- GC mine
At Silvercorp's GC mine in Guangdong province, waste rock recycling processes have been in place since the mine's construction. The GC mine has not accumulated any waste rock in surface stockpiles, as over 90 per cent of the waste rock produced is donated to the local community for processing at their aggregate production facilities, with the balance being used as backfill. Silvercorp has also purchased the end products for its construction projects periodically. In addition, in Q3 fiscal 2021, Silvercorp completed the construction of a paste backfill plant at the GC mine at a cost of $1.5-million (U.S.), where approximately 40 per cent of the mine's dewatered tailings are mixed with cement and pumped underground to fill mined out stopes, with the balance stored in a dry stack tailings management facility. This investment enables the GC mine to return a significant portion of the tailings back underground as fill for mined out areas, which is expected to reduce the future costs and risks associated with the operation of above ground tailings facilities.
Future waste reduction initiatives under investigation
In Q4 fiscal 2021, Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd., Silvercorp's subsidiary in the Ying mining district, was recognized as a high and new technology enterprise "HNTE" at the national level. Silvercorp continues to investigate innovative ways to operate more efficiently and sustainably, with the goal of reducing the consumption of inputs (such as electricity and fossil fuels) and the generation of wastes (such as solid, liquid and gaseous). One example is a current study under way investigating the potential use of mine tailings in the manufacturing of certain ceramic products.
About Silvercorp Metals Inc.
Silvercorp is a profitable Canadian mining company producing silver, lead and zinc metals in concentrates from mines in China. The company's goal is to continuously create healthy returns to shareholders through efficient management, organic growth and the acquisition of profitable projects. Silvercorp balances profitability, social and environmental relationships, employees' well-being and sustainable development.
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