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Silvercrest Metals Inc
Symbol C : SIL
Shares Issued 85,749,316
Close 2019-05-14 C$ 4.12
Recent Sedar Documents

Silvercrest's Chispas PEA pegs NPV at $406.9M (U.S.)

2019-05-15 07:37 ET - News Release

Mr. N. Eric Fier reports

SILVERCREST ANNOUNCES EXCEPTIONAL ECONOMICS IN LAS CHISPAS PRELIMINARY ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT

Silvercrest Metals Inc. has released the results of an independent preliminary economic assessment (PEA) completed by Tetra Tech Canada Inc. for the Las Chispas project in Sonora, Mexico. The PEA is based on the mineral resource estimate, titled "Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate" for the Las Chispas property, Sonora, Mexico, effective Feb. 8, 2019, and announced on March 14, 2019.

All dollar amounts in this news release are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.

Las Chispas preliminary economic assessment highlights (base case)

The following assumes a silver price of $16.68/ounce, a gold price of $1,269/ounce and a Mexican peso/U.S. dollar exchange rate of 20:1:

  • 1,250-tonne-per-day (tpd) production rate with an initial mine life of 8.5 years;
  • Average diluted grades for silver (Ag) at 411.0 grams per tonne (g/t), gold (Au) at 4.05 g/t and silver equivalent (AgEq; based on 75 (Ag):1 (Au), defined in table) at 714 g/t;
  • Average annual production of 5,384,000 ounces Ag and 55,700 ounces Au, or 9.6 million ounces AgEq; years 1 to 4: average annual production of 7,575,000 ounces Ag and 81,600 ounces Au (13.7 million ounces AgEq);
  • Life-of-mine (LOM) all-in sustaining cash costs (AISC) of $7.52/ounce AgEq; years 1 to 4: AISC of $4.89/ounce AgEq;
  • Initial capital expenditure of $100.5-million;
  • LOM sustaining capex of $50.3-million;
  • Payback period of nine months;
  • After-tax IRR (internal rate of return) of 78 per cent;
  • After-tax NPV (net present value) of $406.9-million;
  • Cumulative undiscounted net free cash flow of $522.5-million.

N. Eric Fier, CPG, PEng, chief executive officer, commented: "With an estimated after-tax NPV (5 per cent) of more than $400-million, an after-tax IRR of 78 per cent and a payback period of less than one year, the economics for Las Chispas are exceptional. The PEA has focused initial development and production on the high-grade Babicanora, Babicanora FW and Babicanora Norte veins, producing an average of 13.7 million ounces of silver equivalent per year, for the first four years, at an AISC of less than $5/ounce AgEq. This production and cost structure have the potential to generate in excess of $100-million in annual net free cash flow at today's silver ($14.75/ounce) and gold ($1,297/ounce) prices. Preliminary economic results suggest that Las Chispas could be a high-margin project, even at low metal prices. Importantly, this assessment is a snapshot of the potential value of Las Chispas. We have been exploring the Las Chispas district for only three years. Continued drilling success may add significant value to the project. The resources used in the PEA consists of 10 of 30 known veins drill tested near surface in the district. We currently have 14 drill rigs running at Las Chispas, of which six are focused on expanding the resource and testing new targets and eight are completing infill drilling for recategorizing resources. The new decline into Area 51 is progressing well with an anticipated intercept of the high-grade shoot 51 in Q2 2019 with subsequent surface stockpiling of material grading an average of more than 1,000 g/t AgEq. We have also identified a number of optimization opportunities in the PEA, which we intend to evaluate as we proceed with a feasibility study (FS) with anticipated completion in first half of 2020."

The company cautions that the results of the PEA are preliminary in nature and include inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic consideration applied to them to be classified as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the results of the PEA will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Technical and financial details

The PEA base case uses a 5-per-cent discount rate, metal prices of $16.68/ounce Ag and $1,269/ounce Au (about three-year historical average) and Mexico Peso/U.S. dollar exchange rate of 20:1. Highlights of the base case economic estimates used for the PEA are shown in the associated table.

                  LAS CHISPAS PEA SUMMARY (BASE CASE)     
Throughput (tpd)                                              1,250
Mine life                                                 8.5 years
Diluted resource (tonnes)                                 3,861,000
Average diluted silver grade (g/t)                            411.0
Average diluted gold grade (g/t)                               4.05
Average diluted AgEq (1) grade (g/t)                            714
Contained silver oz (3)                                  51,004,000
Contained gold oz (3)                                       502,200
Contained AgEq oz (1) (3)                                88,666,000
Silver recovery                                               89.9%
Gold recovery                                                 94.4%
Payable silver oz (LOM)                                  45,765,000
Payable gold oz (LOM)                                       473,100
Total AgEq (1) oz                                        81,247,000
Average annual production (LOM)
Silver oz                                                 5,384,000
Gold oz                                                      55,700
AgEq (1) oz                                               9,559,000
Average annual production (years 1-4)
Silver oz                                                 7,575,000
Gold oz                                                      81,600
AgEq (1) oz                                              13,694,000
Mining cost ($/t) (2)                                        $50.91
Processing cost ($/t)                                        $32.61
G&A cost ($/t)                                               $15.14
Total operating cost ($/t)                                   $98.66
Initial capital cost ($ million)                             $100.5
LOM sustaining capital cost ($ million)                       $50.3
LOM AISC ($/oz AgEq (1))                                      $7.52
Years 1-4 AISC ($/oz AgEq (1))                                $4.89
After-tax IRR                                                   78%
NPV (5%, $ million)                                          $406.9
Undiscounted LOM net free
cash flow ($ million)                                        $522.5
Payback period                                             9 months

(1) AgEq based on 75 (Ag):1 (Au), calculated using long-term silver 
and gold prices of $17 per ounce silver and $1,225 per ounce gold 
with average metallurgical recoveries of 90 per cent silver and 
95 per cent gold. 
(2) Includes expensed lateral development, but excludes 
capitalized ramp and vertical development.
(3) Contained ounces for gold and silver are estimated to 
include 29-per-cent indicated resources and 71-per-cent 
inferred resources.

The PEA presents a range of metal pricing scenarios on after-tax basis to evaluate the economics of the project in both upside and downside commodity price scenarios. As illustrated in the associated table, the project is very robust even at downside commodity price scenarios.

                                                Downside    Base Case     Upside
Metal prices
Silver ($/oz)                                     $14.00       $16.68     $19.00
Gold ($/oz)                                       $1,100       $1,269     $1,450
Economics
After-tax NPV (5%, $ million)                     $301.0       $406.9     $506.5
After-tax IRR                                        64%          78%        91%
Undiscounted LOM free cash flow ($ million)       $390.4       $522.5     $646.6
Payback period in months                            10.9          8.8        7.4

Additional sensitivities to the price of oil, Mexican peso, capex and opex will be presented in the PEA technical report. The project economics are most sensitive to precious metal prices.

Diluted resource estimate and mining method

The diluted resource estimate for the PEA is based on both indicated and inferred resources as stated in the February, 2019, resource estimate for the Las Chispas project. Certain mining factors have been applied to this resource estimate, to generate diluted resources using a conceptual mine plan for the PEA. The February, 2019, resource estimate is summarized in the associated table.

                                 SILVERCREST'S LAS CHISPAS RESOURCE SUMMARY -- FEBRUARY, 2019 

                 Cut-off             Resource                                    Contained     Contained      Contained
               grade (4)             category              Au    Ag   AgEq (2)        gold        silver       AgEq (2)
Type      (g/t AgEq (2))      (1) (3) (4) (5)     Tonnes  g/t   g/t        g/t      ounces        ounces         ounces

Vein                 150            indicated  1,002,200 6.98   711      1,234     224,900    22,894,800     39,763,600
Vein                 150             inferred  3,464,700 3.42   343        600     380,700    38,241,400     66,823,700
Stockpile            100             inferred    174,500 1.38   119        222       7,600       664,600      1,246,100
Overall                -            indicated  1,002,200 6.98   711      1,234     224,900    22,894,800     39,763,600
Overall                -             inferred  3,639,200 3.32   333        582     388,300    38,906,000     68,069,800

Notes: All numbers are rounded.
(1) Conforms to National Instrument 43-101 and the Canadian Institution of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) 
definition standards on mineral resources and mineral reserves. Inferred resources have been estimated from geological 
evidence and limited sampling and must be treated with a lower level of confidence than measured and indicated 
resources.
(2) AgEq based on 75 (Ag):1 (Au), calculated using long-term silver and gold prices of $17 per ounce silver and 
$1,225 per ounce gold with average metallurgical recoveries of 90 per cent silver and 95 per cent gold. 
(3) Bulk density has been applied to all materials as 2.55 tonnes per cubic metres.
(4) Vein resource is reported using a 150 g/t AgEq cut-off grade and minimum 0.5 m true width, Babicanora Norte, 
Babicanora Sur, Babicanora FW and Babicanora HW veins have been modelled to a minimum undiluted thickness of 0.5 m, 
Babicanora Main has been modelled to a minimum undiluted thickness of 1.5 m, and surface stockpile (historic dumps) 
resource is reported using a 100 g/t AgEq cut-off. 
(5) There are no known legal, political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the potential 
development of the mineral resources.

In this PEA, the February, 2019, resource estimate was used, which assumed that all mining of this resource would be completed by the cut-and-fill method with split blasting (resue) applied in narrower stopes. In order to maintain a throughput rate of 1,250 tpd, the development plan requires a minimum of 11 underground working faces to initially feed the process plant, ramping up to a peak of 15 working faces by year. The PEA estimates a diluted resource of 3,861,000 tonnes grading 4.05 g/t gold and 411 g/t silver, or 714 g/t AgEq, containing 502,200 ounces Au and 51,004,000 ounces Ag, or 88.7 million ounces AgEq using an estimated average mining dilution of 33 per cent. The associated table summarizes the vein-by-vein tonnage, grade and dilution for this diluted resource.

                      LAS CHISPAS DILUTED RESOURCE BY VEIN     
                                     
Vein                    Dilution applied (%)    Tonnes     Au      Ag   AgEq (3)
                                         (%)            (g/t)   (g/t)      (g/t)

Babicanora Area 51                        29   598,500    6.6     743      1,238
Babicanora Norte                          37   408,500    7.9     781      1,374
Babicanora FW                             38   186,700    7.8     685      1,270
Babicanora Central                        29   505,200    3.8     277        562
Babicanora Sur                            35   284,200    4.9     380        748
Babicanora Main                           29   378,100    4.5     440        778
Giovanni                                  35   515,100    1.3     203        301
William Tell                              34   515,200    1.0     167        242
Las Chispas                               68   122,100    2.2     291        456
La Blanquita                              52   124,800    0.8     168        228
Granaditas                                43    47,800    2.5     261        449
Surface dumps                            n/a   174,500    1.4     119        224
Total diluted resource                    33 3,860,700    4.0     411        714
  
Notes: All numbers are rounded.
(1) Conforms to NI 43-101 and the CIM definition standards on mineral resources 
and mineral reserves. Inferred resources have been estimated from geological 
evidence and limited sampling and must be treated with a lower level of 
confidence than measured and indicated resources.
(2) Diluted resource is preliminary in nature and are based on the 
incorporation of inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative 
geologically to be classified as mineral reserves.
(3) AgEq based on 75 (Ag):1 (Au), calculated using long-term silver and gold 
prices of $17 per ounce silver and $1,225 per ounce gold with average 
metallurgical recoveries of 90 per cent silver and 95 per cent gold. 
(4) Bulk density has been applied to all materials as 2.55 tonnes per cubic 
metres.
(5) Vein resource is reported using a 150 g/t AgEq cut-off grade; a minimum 
0.5 m undiluted true thickness has been used for the Babicanora Norte, 
Babicanora Sur, Babicanora FW and Babicanora HW Veins, and a one to 1.5 m 
undiluted true thickness has been used for the Babicanora Main, Las Chispas, 
Giovanni and William Tell veins.
(6) Minimum mining width is two m for the veins except Babicanora Norte and 
Babicanora Sur, which were modelled as resue mining with a minimum mining 
width of one m.
(7) Stated dilution includes barren waste rock, backfill mucked with 
mineralized material as well as unplanned low-grade material mined with 
resource material. 
(8) Diluted resource is based on an overall 5-per-cent loss.
(9) There are no known legal, political, environmental or other risks that 
could materially affect the potential development of the mineral 
resources.
(10) The Luigi vein is not included in the diluted resource incorporated in 
the mine plan of the PEA. This vein needs further review to justify economic 
viability.

Process plant and metallurgy

Detailed metallurgical testwork was completed from September, 2018, to March, 2019, to assess potential silver and gold recoveries for the Las Chispas project as announced in a news release dated April 18, 2019, titled "Positive Metallurgical Recoveries for Las Chispas." A 445-kilogram bulk sample was collected from 51 core hole and nine underground samples and compiled into 15 different samples based on geometallurgical domains, which were combined into three master composites (low, medium and high grade). The best recoveries were generated from a process flowsheet that included a gravity recovery circuit with intensive cyanidation of the gravity concentrate and the gravity tails processed through standard leaching. The PEA assumes this is followed by a standard counter-current-decantation milling process with gold and silver recovered through a Merrill-Crowe circuit. The testwork showed recoveries of 91 to 95 per cent for silver and 98 to 99 per cent for gold. Additional testwork was completed on intensive leaching of gravity concentrates which showed recoveries of 99 per cent for both gold and silver. For the PEA, the company has limited the intensive leaching recovery to 90 per cent until further optimization work is completed. Therefore, an average recovery of 89.9 per cent for silver and 94.4 per cent for gold is used in the PEA, except during the six-month start-up period where the company further reduced the recovery by 5 per cent. The process plant has been designed at a nameplate capacity of 1,358 tpd with the production schedule assuming 8-per-cent downtime over the course of a year. At 92-per-cent operating time, the plant can support throughput of 456,000 tonnes per year or 1,250 tpd.

Initial and sustaining capital cost estimates

The PEA estimates initial capital requirements of $100.5-million and cumulative sustaining capital of $50.3-million (see details in the associated table).


Capital item                     Initial capital       Sustaining capital
                                     ($ million)              ($ million)

Underground development                    $18.0                    $44.4
Mine equipment/ancillaries                  $1.3                     $0.4
Process plant                              $27.5                     $2.4
Tailings                                    $4.5                     $1.1
Surface access/infrastructure              $10.0                     $2.0
Project indirects                          $16.3                      n/a
Owners costs                                $8.1                      n/a
Contingency                                $14.8                      n/a
Total                                     $100.5                    $50.3
              

All capital, excluding 2019 sunk capital estimated to be $7.3-million, incurred up to the end of 2021 is included in the initial capital. Any capital required from 2022 and beyond is included in sustaining capital. Contingencies of $14.8-million have been included in the initial capital, which is approximately 17.2 per cent. Sustaining capital is expected to average approximately $5.2-million per year with an increase in sustaining capital in year 5 ($10.3-million) and year 6 ($13.7-million), primarily associated with the increase in underground development associated with opening up and operating the Giovanni, Las Chispas and William Tell veins over the remainder of the mine life. The projected timing of increases in sustaining capital expenditures in years 5 and 6 related to underground development may be pushed further into the future with continued exploration success. See section entitled Las Chispas opportunities to enhance value.

Operating cost estimates

LOM operating costs for the Las Chispas project are estimated to average $98.66 per tonne, which includes a minimum of 5-per-cent contingency applied to inputs. During the start-up period, processing and general and administrative (G&A) costs per tonne are higher until mill throughput ramps up to design capacity. The PEA is based on contractor underground mining, which has an estimated LOM cost of $50.91 per tonne milled. Processing costs are estimated at $32.61 per tonne milled, which includes dry stack and backfill tailings management costs of $1.40 per tonne milled. G&A costs are estimated at $15.14 per tonne milled. The processing and G&A costs per tonne milled are based on an estimated plant operating time of 92 per cent over the LOM with potential to improve these unit costs with a higher operating time or plant expansion.

All-in sustaining cash costs per ounce of silver equivalent

AISC are estimated to be $7.52/ounce AgEq produced, based on LOM production of 81.2 million recoverable ounces AgEq. The breakdown of AISC for the Las Chispas project is shown in the associated table.

                                  AISC/OUNCE AGEQ              
                                                       Total     Cost/oz AgEq
                                                 ($ million)

LOM operating costs                                   $380.9            $4.69
LOM sustaining capital                                 $50.3            $0.62
LOM royalties                                          $79.1            $0.97
Total AISC (before development capital)               $510.3            $6.28
Initial development capital                           $100.5            $1.24
Total AISC (including development capital)            $610.8            $7.52

Note that the calculation does not include corporate G&A costs or exploration 
expenditures for the Las Chispas project. These costs would be included once 
the project is closer production and included in AISC/ounce AgEq. Note that 
producing operations typically report AISC before development capital. 
Excluding development capital, the PEA outlines an AISC of $6.28 per ounce.

Las Chispas PEA economic analysis (base case)

The economic summary, including annual production, costs and free cash flow for the Las Chispas project as estimated in the PEA, is shown in the associated table.

                        2020     2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026    2027    2028    2029    2030      LOM
Tonnes
processed (000)            -      100     443     456     457     456     456     456     457     456     125    3,861
Au grade (g/t)             -     1.38    7.57    5.28    6.08    4.90    4.39    2.95    1.37    1.37    0.94     4.05
Ag grade (g/t)             -    119.0   656.5   555.8   612.1   496.6   387.6   302.0   218.8   196.1   167.8    411.0
Au recovery (%)            -     89.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9    94.9     94.9
Ag recovery (%)            -     84.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9    89.9     89.9
Payable Au
production
(000 oz)                   -        4     102      73      84      68      61      41      19      19       4      473
Payable Ag
production
(million oz)               -      0.3     8.4     7.3     8.1     6.5     5.1     4.0     2.9     2.6     0.6     45.8
AgEq production
(million oz)               -      0.6    16.0    12.8    14.4    11.6     9.6     7.0     4.3     4.0     0.9     81.2
AISC (1) 
($/oz AgEq)                -   $86.63   $4.10   $5.01   $4.75   $5.81   $7.00   $9.31  $11.46   $9.78  $13.28    $7.47
Total revenue
($ million)                       $10    $265    $211    $238    $192    $160    $116     $71     $66     $14   $1,345
Total operating
Costs ($ million)          -    ($7.8) ($45.6) ($45.3) ($49.8) ($50.0) ($48.5) ($46.2) ($40.1) ($36.1) ($11.4) ($380.9)
Royalties (3)
($ million)                -    ($0.2) ($17.8) ($13.5) ($15.3) ($11.6)  ($9.2)  ($5.8)  ($2.7)  ($2.6)  ($0.3)  ($79.1)
Depreciation
($ million)                -    ($4.5) ($35.3) ($20.9) ($19.0) ($21.5) ($25.4) ($28.8) ($21.9) ($15.7) ($11.8) ($202.4)
Taxes ($ million)          -        -  ($50.8) ($39.7) ($46.4) ($32.9) ($23.1) ($10.7)  ($2.0)  ($3.5)       - ($211.9)
Initial capex
($ million)           ($54.6)  ($45.8)      -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -        - ($100.5)
Sustaining
capex ($ million)                       ($2.9)  ($5.8)  ($3.9)  ($6.3)  ($10.3 )($13.7 )($6.8)  ($0.6)       -  ($50.3)
Working capital
($ million)                            ($10.0)
Reclamation bond
($ million)            ($4.0)
Net free cash
flow (1) (2)
($ million)           ($58.6)  ($43.6) $138.8  $107.3  $122.9   $91.5   $68.8   $39.9   $19.6   $23.3    $2.8   $522.5
Cum. net free
cash flow
($ million)           ($58.6) ($102.2)  $36.6  $143.8  $266.7  $358.2  $427.0  $466.9  $486.5  $509.8  $512.5

Note: All numbers are rounded.
(1) AISC and net free cash flow are non-IFRS (international financial reporting standards) measures. 
(2) Total LOM net free cash flow includes $1-million spent per year on reclamation from 2032 to 2035, the recovery 
of $10-million in working capital and a $4.0-million reclamation bond in 2031.
(3) Royalties include Mexico government mining royalty of 7.5 per cent from the income on the sale of minerals 
extracted minus authorized deductions, and an extraordinary governmental royalty of 0.5 per cent of the income 
for the sale of gold, silver and platinum by mining concession holders for environmental purposes. There are 
no other royalties on resources other than those imposed by law.

In the economic analysis, the company has applied 10-year straight-line depreciation to the carrying value of development capital costs, exclusive of fixed capital items. Fixed capital items are depreciated at 12 per cent per year, based on applicable Mexican accounting practices. Tax loss carry forwards are used to offset taxes in the first full year of production. After applicable deductions, a corporate tax rate of 30 per cent is applied to the taxable income generated from the mine to estimate the LOM cash taxes payable.

Las Chispas opportunities to enhance value

Several potential opportunities have been identified that may significantly enhance the economic return outlined in the PEA, including but not limited to the following:

  • Exploration potential: The diluted resource estimated for the PEA is based on the February, 2019, mineral resource estimate, which includes 10 of 30 known veins on the project. The company currently has 14 drill rigs on site with six of those rigs dedicated to expanding resources and drill testing new targets for potential discoveries. With success on further drilling, there are several ways that expanded resources could improve the economics of the project, including:
    • Throughput expansion: The mine plan for the PEA is based on a 1,250 tpd throughput scenario, which results in an 8.5-year mine life. Expanded resources have the potential to justify increased mine and mill throughput. As part of the upcoming FS, Silvercrest will evaluate the potential costs to expand the process plant capacity to 1,500 to 2,000 tpd with potential benefits to unit costs for processing and G&A with respect to economies of scale.
    • Reduced development cost per ounce: Babicanora Sur, Luigi, Granaditas including La Blanquita have relatively high development costs per ounce of diluted resource. Expanding the diluted resource for these veins would spread the relatively high development capital over more ounces, improving economics and reducing the AISC per ounce.
    • High-grade discovery: The grade profile for the Las Chispas project is heavily weighted toward the first four years of production. A new high-grade discovery could help smooth the decline in production that begins in year five by prioritizing development of a new high-grade discovery and delaying the development of the lower-grade veins while potentially adding economies of scale at the same time.
  • PEA excluded resources: The diluted resource that is incorporated into the mine plan for the PEA excludes approximately 20 million ounces AgEq that were estimated in the February, 2019, resource estimate, specifically, discrete mineralized zones in the Babicanora FW, Babicanora Norte and Sur veins, and all of the Luigi vein. Resources have been excluded from adjacent designed mine stopes and discrete isolated zones which currently do not have enough critical mass to justify the added cost of underground development for production. Silvercrest is optimistic that by applying optimized stope designs and follow up drilling to expand discrete zones, some excluded resources may be included in a future mine plan.
  • Mining method: The PEA is based on 100 per cent of cut-and-fill underground mining with split blasting (resue) applied in those areas where vein widths drop to less than 1.5 metres. There are known opportunities for the Babicanora vein, in particular, to be mined using lower-cost long-hole and sublevel mining methods in the areas where the vein averages over 3.0 metres in true width. This could reduce mining and development costs at the beginning of the mine life.
  • Metallurgy: The results from the company's metallurgical testwork suggested intensive leaching recoveries of 99 per cent for both gold and silver gravity concentrates. In the PEA, the intensive leaching recoveries are set at 90 per cent, which results in an implied recovery of 89.9 per cent for silver and 94.4 per cent for gold. Testwork completed to date suggests potential for improved silver recoveries of 91 to 95 per cent for silver and 98 to 99 per cent for gold. Silvercrest intends to follow up these promising results with further testwork to be completed and incorporated into the FS.
  • Power line: The PEA assumes the use of on-site generated power using diesel fuel at 28 cents per kilowatt-hour and exposes the operation to fluctuations in the price of fuel. The FS will be contemplating the connection of the site to the national grid via power available at an estimated cost of nine cents/KWh.
  • Stockpiled material at start of production: The mine schedule for the PEA assumes that during the six-month start-up period of operations, 100 per cent of the mill throughput will be sourced from the current surface stockpiles with an estimated 175,000 tonnes grading 224 g/t AgEq. Once silver and gold recoveries are optimized, then processing of higher-grade material would begin. Based on the continuing construction of a new decline, Silvercrest plans on underground development in high-grade mineralization starting in the second half of 2019 along with test mining and stockpiling material from Area 51. This stockpiled material could be up to 20,000 tonnes for 2019 with additional tonnes before conceptual start-up. Based on the possible early high performance of the mill, high-grade material could be processed in the first six months of operations with improved payback and NPV.

Feasibility study

With the PEA completed, Silvercrest is moving forward with a feasibility study for Las Chispas. The company is targeting completion of the FS in the first half of 2020 and making a production decision following the release of a positive study. Of the 14 drill rigs currently working on site, eight of these rigs are focused on infill drilling in an effort to upgrade inferred resources into the indicated category, for inclusion in the FS reserves. On a related note, the exploration decline into Area 51 has been progressing smoothly. Ground conditions have been excellent, which has allowed the company to advance the decline rapidly. In less than three months, the exploration decline has been advanced to over 420 metres with a target to intercept the high-grade shoot 51 of the Babicanora vein in the second quarter of 2019. Once shoot 51 is intercepted, 400 to 800 metres of mineralized development will be completed in the second half of 2019. This rapid access to high-grade mineralization will allow the company to conduct detailed feasibility work including further metallurgy, assess geotechnical conditions, reconcile underground grades with the resource model, complete test mining to define the optimum mining method, and determine more accurate development costs.

The recommended budget for the feasibility study, field support for the study, continuing exploration work, and exploration decline and development construction over the next 12 months is estimated at $17.5-million.

Tetra Tech's work to complete the PEA, demonstrates that the Las Chispas project has robust economic potential and recommends that Silvercrest continue developing the project with emphasis on the exploration work required to improve confidence in inferred resources. Tetra Tech recommends that the feasibility study evaluate alternate mining methods which could have lower costs than the cut-and-fill method considered in the PEA.

Qualified persons

The independent qualified persons, as defined in National Instrument 43-101, for the PEA and who have reviewed and approved the contents of this news release are Mark Horan, MSc, PEng, P. James F. Barr, PGeo, and Hassan Ghaffari, MSc, PEng, from Tetra Tech.

The "Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate for the Las Chispas Property, Sonora, Mexico," with an effective of Feb. 8, 2019, and announced on March 14, 2019, has been filed on SEDAR.

About Silvercrest Metals Inc.

Silvercrest is a Canadian precious metal exploration company, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., that is focused on new discoveries, value-added acquisitions and targeting production in Mexico's historical precious metal districts. The company's current focus is on the high-grade, historical Las Chispas mining district in Sonora, Mexico. Silvercrest is the first company to drill test the historic Las Chispas project, resulting in numerous discoveries.

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