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Operations

Ying Mining District

Introduction

  • The flagship Ying operations consist of seven underground mines (SGX, HZG, HPG, TLP, LME, LMW and DCG) and two processing plants (combined 2,600 tpd capacity)

  • Produces high-quality silver-lead and zinc concentrates sold to smelters within the province

  • Located approximately 240 km west-southwest of Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province, China, and 145 km southwest of Luoyang, the nearest major city

  • The 68.6 km2 Property is covered by four contiguous mining licenses:

    • Yuelianggou Mining License: SGX & HZG mines (19.8 km2)

    • Haopinggou Mining License: HPG mine (6.2 km2)

    • Tieluping-Longmen Mining License: TLP, LME and LMW mines (22.8 km2)

    • Dongcaogau Mining License: DCG Mine (19.8 km2)

Exploration is an integral part of Silvercorp’s organic growth strategy at Ying. The Company completed 629,000 m of drilling at and around the various mines over 2020-2021, which supported increased FY2023 Production Guidance and led to the discovery of new gold zones within the existing mining infrastructure. Land consolidation continued in 2021 with the successful acquisition of the neighboring Kuanping Project (KP), located 33 km north of Ying—further expanding the Company’s footprint within the prospective Qinling orogenic belt.

In November 2021, Silvercorp announced plans to construct a new 3,000 tpd mill and a 19.1 million cubic metres tailings storage facility. These low-capital-intensity, high-impact investments will provide the Company with further capacity to continue growing its existing hub-and-spoke operations at Ying.

Operation Snapshot

Mine life1

15 years

Silver production

FY2021A: 5,615 koz

FY2022A: 5,509 koz

FY2023E: 6.3-6.5 Moz

AISC2

FY2021A: US$132.54/t

FY2022A: US$147.52/t

FY2023E: US$143.5-$145.7/t

  1. Ying Mining District Reserves and Resources update effective December 31, 2021.
  2. AISC refers to all-in sustaining costs per tonne of ore processed.

Ownership

Silvercorp, through its wholly owned subsidiary Victor Mining Ltd, is party to a cooperative joint venture agreement dated 12 April 2004 under which it earned a 77.5% interest in Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd (Henan Found), the Chinese company holding (with other assets) the Ying silver, lead and zinc project (the Ying Project including the flagship mine: SGX), and the silver and lead project in Tieluping (the TLP Project). In addition, Silvercorp, through its wholly owned subsidiary Victor Resources Ltd, is party to a cooperative agreement dated 31 March 2006 under which it initially obtained a 60% interest in Henan Huawei Mining Co. Ltd (Henan Huawei), the Chinese company holding the project in Haopinggou (the HPG Project) and the project in Longmen (the LM Project). Since that time the Silvercorp’s interest in Henan Huawei has increased to 80%.

Mineral Processing

Silvercorp currently operates two sulphide flotation plants at Ying with a total design capacity of 2,600 tpd (peaking at 3,000-3,200 tpd).

  • Mill No. (Xiayu) has a design capacity of 600 tpd and has been in operation since March 2007

  • Mill No. (Zhuangtou) has a design capacity of 2,000 tpd (expanded from 1,000 tpd in October 2011) and has been in operation since December 2009

In November 2021, Silvercorp announced plans to construct a new 3,000 tpd flotation plant (Mill No. 3) and a 19.1 million cubic metres tailings storage facility (TSF) adjacent to the Zhuangtou facility. The US$29.8 million Mill No.3 will be equipped with a Knelson gold gravity separation circuit and produce silver-lead, zinc, copper, and gold concentrates. The US$38.0 million TSF will be built in two phases, with approximately 10.2 million cubic metres of storage capacity in Phase 1 and approximately 8.9 million cubic metres in Phase 2. The Company expects to finish construction of the new mill by the end of calendar year 2023, and to complete Phase 1 of the TSF by the end of calendar year 2024.

The new facilities will allow the Company to continue growing its mining operations at Ying through generative exploration and acquisition of nearby projects. Upon completion, the Company will decommission Mill No. 1 and use the site for a new training facility and R&D centre, resulting in a combined milling capacity of ~5,000 tpd.

Exploration Overview

  • All mines in the Ying Mining District have defined resources and reserves to support profitable operations for a decade or more

  • However, none of the mine areas have been fully explored or delimited, especially to the depths typical of similar silver-lead-zinc mesothermal vein districts

  • Each mine area hosts a plethora of known veins with mineralization open for expansion

  • Exploration drilling over the past two years also discovered new gold and gold-copper veins and broad gold-silver mineralization in a new rhyolitic breccia dyke

  • Further afield, several outlying target areas remain prospective for more discoveries

  • Essentially, there is no shortage of exploration targets in the district—and by leveraging existing mining infrastructure, these “low-hanging fruit” can be fast-tracked into development / production

  • In fiscal year 2023, Silvercorp plans to complete 246,000 m of exploration drilling (capitalized and expensed) at Ying. The current drill program is complemented by 90,300 m of exploration and development tunnels (capitalized and expensed)

  • Exploration strategy at Ying is fourfold:

    • Drilling above or beneath stopes that were previously mined but stopped due to variability in the vein structures

    • Drilling veins at shallower depths (closer to surface) where exploration remains limited

    • Drilling the newly discovered gold veins/zones in the resource area

    • Step-out drilling from the resource area for new discoveries

Ying Property - Mineral Resources and metal content for silver, lead, zinc, and gold as of 31 December, 2021 (Inclusive of Mineral Reserves)

Notes:
• Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Resources from which Mineral Reserves are estimated.
• Metal prices: gold US$1,450/troy oz, silver US$18.60/troy oz, lead US$0.95/lb, zinc US$1.10/lb.
• Exchange rate: RMB 6.50 : US$1.00.
• Mineral Resource reported 5 m below surface.
• Veins factored to minimum extraction width of 0.4 m after estimation.
• Cut-off grades: SGX 170 g/t AgEq; HZG 170 g/t AgEq; HPG 180 g/t AgEq; LME 180 g/t AgEq; LMW 160 g/t AgEq; TLP 155 g/t AgEq; DCG 155 g/t AgEq.
• AgEq formulas by mine:
− SGX=37.79*Pb%+20.76*Zn%+Ag g/t
− HZG=36.31*Pb%+Ag g/t
− HPG=36.84*Pb%+24.73*Zn%+69.41*Au g/t+Ag g/t
− LME=35.84*Pb%+10.44*Zn%+Ag g/t
− TLP=36.65*Pb%+Ag g/t
− LMW=36.88*Pb%+Ag g/t
− DCG=36.84*Pb%+24.73*Zn%+Ag g/t:
• AgEq formulas used for significant gold bearing veins:
− SGX (Veins S16W_Au, S18E and S74)=66.25*Au g/t+37.79*Pb%+20.76*Zn%+Ag g/t
− LME (Vein LM4E2)=66.70*Au g/t+35.84*Pb%+10.44*Zn%+Ag g/t
− LMW (Veins LM22, LM26, LM50 and LM51)=65.78*Au g/t+36.88*Pb%+Ag g/t
− DCG (Veins C9, C76)=69.41*Au g/t+36.84*Pb%+24.73*Zn%+Ag g/t

• Exclusive of mine production to 31 December 2021.
• Rounding of some figures may lead to minor discrepancies in totals.

Ying Property - Mineral Reserves and metal content for silver, lead, zinc, and gold as of 31 December, 2021

Notes to Mineral Reserve Statement:
• Cut-off grades (AgEq g/t): SGX – 235 Resuing, 195 Shrinkage; HZG – 245 Resuing, 195 Shrinkage; HPG – 260 Resuing, 200 Shrinkage; LME – 265 Resuing, 225 Shrinkage; TLP – 225 Resuing, 190 Shrinkage; LMW – 245 Resuing, 200 Shrinkage; DCG – 225 Resuing, 190 Shrinkage.
• Stope Marginal cut-off grades (AgEq g/t): SGX – 210 Resuing, 170 Shrinkage; HZG – 210 Resuing, 160 Shrinkage; HPG – 235 Resuing, 175 Shrinkage; LME – 210 Resuing, 170 Shrinkage; TLP – 205 Resuing, 170 Shrinkage; LMW - 205 Resuing, 160 Shrinkage; DCG - 205 Resuing, 170 Shrinkage.
• Development Ore cut-off grades (AgEq g/t): SGX – 130; HZG – 125; HPG – 150; LME – 125; TLP – 125; LMW – 125; DCG – 125.
• Unplanned dilution (zero grade) assumed as 0.05m on each wall of a resuing stope and 0.10m on each wall of a shrinkage stope.
• Mining recovery factors assumed as 95% for resuing and 92% for shrinkage.
• Metal prices: gold US$1,450/troy oz, silver US$18.60/troy oz, lead US$0.95/lb, zinc US$1.10/lb.
• Processing recovery factors: SGX – 91.5% Au, 95.9% Ag, 97.6% Pb, 60.0% Zn; HZG – 96.8% Ag, 94.7% Pb; HPG – 91.5% Au, 91.5% Ag, 90.8% Pb, 68.3% Zn; LME – 91.5% Au, 95.2% Ag, 92.0% Pb, 30.0% Zn; TLP – 92.9% Ag, 91.7% Pb; LMW – 91.5% Au, 96.5% Ag, 95.9% Pb; DCG – 91.5% Au, 91.5% Ag, 90.8% Pb, 68.3% Zn.
• Payables: Au – 81%; Ag – 91.0%; Pb – 96.4%; Zn – 74.4%.
• Exclusive of mine production to 31 December 2021.
• Exchange rate assumed is RMB 6.50 : US$1.00.
• Rounding of some figures may lead to minor discrepancies in totals.

Geological Background

The Ying Property is located within the 300 km long west-northwest trending Qinling orogenic belt, a major structural corridor formed by the collision of two large continental tectonic plates in the Paleozoic. Rocks along the orogenic belt are heavily folded and faulted, offering optimal structural conditions for the emplacement of mineral deposits. Several operating silver-lead-zinc mines, including those on the Ying Property, occur along this belt. Dominant regional structures are west-northwest trending folds and faults. The faults consist of numerous thrusts that have a component of oblique movement with sets of conjugate shear structures trending either northwest or northeast. These conjugate shear zones are associated with known mineralization in the district.

Structurally, mesothermal vein systems throughout the district are all somewhat similar in that they occur as sets of quartz-carbonate veins of generally similar orientation enclosed by steeply dipping fault-fissure zones, which trend most commonly northeast-southwest, less commonly north-south, and rarely northwest-southeast. The structures extend for hundreds to a few thousand metres along strike. The vein systems consist of narrow, tabular or splayed veins, often occurring as sets of parallel and offset veins. The veins thin and thicken abruptly along the structures in classic “pinch-and-swell” fashion, with widths varying from a few centimetres to a few metres. “Swells” in structural dilatant zones along the veins often form mineralized “shoots”. To date, significant mineralization has been defined or developed in over 300 discrete vein structures, and many other smaller veins have been found but remain unexplored.

The vein systems of the various mines in the district also share similar mineralogy, with slight documented differences between some of the separate mine areas and between the different vein systems within each area, attributed to district-scale mineral zonation at different levels of exposure. This subtle zonation is thought to be analogous to the broad-scale zonation patterns observed in the Coeur d’Alene District (USA) and characteristic of many other significant mesothermal silver-lead-zinc camps in the world.

Mineral Processing

Silvercorp runs two processing plants, Plants 1 and 2, at the Ying Mine with a total current design capacity of 2,600 tpd. The two plants are situated within 2 km of each other. Both were designed based on the lab tests completed by HNMRI in 2005. Plant 1 (Xiayu Plant, 600 tpd) has been in operation since March, 2007. Plant 2 (Zhuangtou Plant) has been in production since December 2009, with an expansion from 1,000 tpd to 2,000 tpd completed in October 2011. From January 2012, the total design processing capacity is about 2,600 tpd, but the actual capacity can reach 3,000 – 3,200 tpd. Up until now plant capacity has been under-utilized (especially Plant 2) relative to design and ultimate capacity. The LOM plan shows an increase in planned production from 650 kt in 2017 to 749 kt in 2025, then a gradual decrease to less than 370 kt in 2036.

SGX / HPG ores also contain high grade, large-size galena lumps with characteristic specular silver-grey colour. These are hand-sorted at the mine sites, crushed, and then shipped by dedicated trucks to Plant 1. The lumps are milled in a dedicated facility, and then sold directly or mixed with flotation lead concentrate for sale.

Regional Geology

Please see our latest NI 43-101 Technical Reports for Ying Mining District by clicking here or at SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

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