Pit Optimization


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Pit Optimization​

Value Proposition Pit Optimization Gradient Icon

Value Proposition

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Pit Optimization​

Blackberry’s immediate objective is to optimize the current silver/gold resource suitable for open pit mining described by M3 Engineering in their 2012 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of Nieves and increase the size, grade and classification of the silver and gold resource through infill and step out drilling. This will support the production of 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 ounces of silver annually for a minimum of 10 years. Such a resource would be highly desirable to best-of-class silver miners seeking their next mineable silver resource. Achieving this objective would assure Blackberry members a positive return on their investment and de-risk the project’s future exploration. Our estimated fair valuation for this pit, after the optimization program, is $103,500,000 (in situ).

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This 2012 image shows the eastern region of the Nieves property. The 2012 proposed pit is outlined in dark red.

Enlarged view of 2012 proposed pit. Red and blue dots show drilled holes.

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Nieves Pit Optimization Study

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BBV believed, as of the 2012 report, that the current reported resource could be mined economically as an open pit with potential production of up to 5,000,000 silver per year for >6 years.
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Since 2003, BBV has undertaken 11 exploration programs, drilling a total of 208 core holes, 62,500 meters of core in the eastern-most portion of Nieves resulting in a reported indicated and inferred resource of 110,000,000 million oz. of silver and 116,000 oz. gold with an average yield of 40 g/t assuming 15 g/t yield cutoff. Source: Form 43-101 Technical Report Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) by M3 Engineering October 31, 2012.
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The 2012 M3/IMC technical report was commissioned during the last silver bull market while the silver was trading above $30/oz. BBV set the minimum assayed ore cutoff at 15 grams/ton in order to maximize the size of the silver resource. Therefore, the Nieves breakeven price estimate was $21.37/oz. — $15.25 after payback. The all-in sustaining costs (“AISC”) per ounce of silver to $14.98. These economics were problematical for attracting external pre-development capital at the then silver price.
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A preliminary in-house study, prepared in 2017, indicated that the 2012 PEA original pit perimeters, redrawn to increase the minimum acceptable silver ore grades to 45g/t silver, would yield 53,059,856 oz. silver with an average ore grade of 2.72 oz./tonne (77.19g/t).
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The internally prepared study of 2017 concluded that the core drilling results to date supports the feasibility of an initial starter pit with an annual output of 5,000,000 oz. silver equivalent with a life of mine 6 years assuming $17 silver.
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In early April 2018 BBV commissioned IMC and M3 to undertake a pit optimization study using the data collected for the 2012 43-101 PEA. The purpose of this study was to determine the economic feasibility of reconfiguring the original pit shell perimeters to increase ore grades, while reducing average stripping ratio, capex, all-in sustaining mine costs and all-in breakeven using current gold and silver prices.
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The independent study undertaken by IMC supports BBV’s internal study and concludes that the drilling to date supports an initial starter pit and identifies the potential to expand the existing resources within the area of the initial pit shell and to extend the initial pit shell along the strike of the Concordia vein system from 1100 meters to 1780 meters.

Goals, Objectives, and Results of the IMC Pit Optimization Study

Goals and Objectives:

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To determine if additional core drilling can provide an economic, open pit starter silver/gold mine.

To focus on the original open pit plan created by Caracol Creek in 2012.

To engage the best independent third-party mining engineering firm (IMC Corp) to re-analyze the 2012 43-101 data base to determine number and location of drill program(s).

To determine the possible extension life-of-mine (LOM) consistent with silver miners current resource acquisition criteria, >10 years.

To develop a mining plan capable of producing a minimum 10-year LOM (open pit) and with average silver equivalent production greater than 4 million ounces of silver per year.

To minimize both initial and sustaining costs of capital expenditures and silver equivalent cost per ounce to <$10 per ounce.


The all-in sustainable costs using the current known and assessed resource for a 6-year life-of-mine (LOM ) optimized pit are estimated at $13.30/ounce silver which decline to below $11.64 with the anticipated results from further planned infill and step-out drilling.

With additional infill and step-out drilling, the feasibility of a 13.4 mine life with sustainable average annual production of 4,300,000 ounces of silver.

With all-in sustainable costs estimated at less than $11.64/ounce silver equivalent.

High grade drill intercepts 800 meters west of the La Quinta Vein, part of the Concordia Vein System suggest continuity of the Concordia vein system with ore grades increasing to the west.

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Pit Optimization Plan

Goals and Objectives of the Pit Optimization

Increase the average reported ore grade to 86 g/t within an optimum starter pit perimeter.

Increase the resource classifications from indicated and inferred to measured / indicated.

Increase the reported and assessed resource within the optimum pit perimeter to from 30,495,079 to >69,000,000 ounces silver.

Drilling Program No. 12 Step out and Infill

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A carefully planned 101 hole drilling campaign consisting of two targets: La Quinta East and La Quinta West Veins part of the Concordia Braided Vein System.
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Drill 50 , core holes averaging 270 meters east and west along the La Quinta East and La Quinta West Veins on 50 meter centers.
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Drill selective step back holes in the La Quinta East and La Quinta West Veins to deeper depths to confirm high gold and silver grades encountered in previously drilling campaigns.
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Verify vein continuity and the results from previously drilled holes along the LaQuinta West Vein using <100 meter spacing.
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Drill 51, core holes averaging 270 meters: in the Concordia East and Concordia West Veins on 50 meter centers; Drill westward along the Concordia Vein on 50/100 meter centers to extend the Concordia Vein silver and gold mineralization 1800 meters west to the three high-value Orion Vein intercepts; Drill the Concordia Vein System east to west footwall mineralization to increase silver tonnage.

Third Party Resource Report

Secure an updated Form 43-101 PEA upon assessing the results of the Pit Optimization Drilling Program.


$5,000,000 fully burdened.


12 months

Time Frame

January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

1785 Meter Length of the Concordia Vein

Concordia Vein Map

69 Million

Estimated 69 million ounces of silver (42 million tonnes at 5000 TPD)

10+ Years

Support a 10+ year Life of Starter Mine

Comparison of M3’s 2012 Preliminary Economic Assessment withIMC’s 2018 Pit Optimization Study

Type M3's 2012 Preliminary Economic Assessment Optimization Study Post Infill and Step Out Drilling
PEA: October 31,2012
PEA: October 31,2012
Mine Type
Open Pit
Open Pit
Stripping Ratio
5.4 to 1
5.4 to 1
Silver Ore
35,400,000 tonnes
26,100,000 tonnes
Resource Classification
Indicated and Inferred
Measured and Indicated
Ore Grade Average
59.51 g/t
Ounces of Silver Recovered
Ounces of Gold Recovered
Ounces of Silver Equivalent
Cumulative Finding Costs
Holes drilled
Cost per Hole
Ounces of Silver Found/Hole
Meters Drilled
Ounce Silver Found/Meter Drilled
Annual Mine Rate
3,500,000 tonnes
1,800,000 tonnes
Annual Silver Production
5,550,000 Oz.
4,360,763 oz.
Life of Mine (LOM)
10 years
13.4 years
Fair Value Ounce Silver in Ground
Fair Value Silver Resource
Initial Capital Expenditure
Sustaining Capital Costs
LOM Operating Costs
$14.98/oz. silver
$11.41/oz. silver
NPV 8%
Base Silver Price
$20/ounce silver
Project Breakeven
$21.37/ounce silver, after payback $15.25
$16.59/oz. silver, after payback: $11.64
After Tax Internal Rate of Return
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Value Proposition Pit Optimization

Value Proposition

Expense Cost in USD
Funding Required for Pit Optimization (fully burdened):
$ 5,000,000
Pit Resource Fair Valuation pre-optimization
$ 45,742,646
Pit Resource Fair Valuation post-optimization
$ 103,500,000
$ 52,757,355

Pit Optimization Timeline

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12 months/12 months cumulative

Goals and Objectives of Pit optimization Plan

De-risk Nieves Pit Expansion and Further Exploration of the Nieves Silver Property.

Assure project development feasibility at current silver prices.

Increase the resource classifications from indicated and inferred to measured, indicated and inferred.

Assure marketability and desirability of the Nieves to silver miners

Increase the average ore grade from 40.1 g/t to 85.05 g/t through high-grading, redrawing the pit shale perimeters to include only the higher grade intercepts.

Increase the size of the reported high graded pit silver ore body contained with in the new perimeters of the optimized pit from 10,165,032 tonnes to 23,000,000 tonnes

Increase the size of the silver resource contained within the new perimeters of the optimized pit by >2-fold from 30,495,097 ounces to 69,000,000 ounces

Use of Funds

Expense Cost in USD
Drill and core the 101 holes pursuant to Pit Optimization Plan
$ 3,000,000
Retire short term debt
$ 600,000
Sustain Blackberry and Nieves through to Pit Optimization Phase
$ 500,000
Update the Form 43-101 PEA post pit optimization program
$ 250,000
$ 150,000
$ 5,000,000

Anticipated Fair Value of the Nieves Pit Resource Post Optimization

Assume a found, reported, and assessed resource of 69,000,000 ounces of silver equivalent, $15 average price of silver over life-of-mine (LOM), $1.50 estimated value of an ounce of mineable silver resource in the ground for a fair valuation of $103,500,000.

Current Pit Resource Optimized by Study by High Grading Current Optimized Pit Resource Enhanced by Infill and Stepout Drilling - Internal
Estimated End of 2020
Timeframe to Execute
6 months
≤ 12 months
Tonnes silver ore
85.05 g/t
85.05 g/t
Ounces of Silver
Indicated and inferred
Measured, indicated, and inferred
Cumulative finding costs
Holes drilled
Cost per Hole
$86,538 fully burdened
$74,434 fully burdened 223,301
Ounces of silver per hole
Finding costs per ounce silver
Meters drilled
Ounces silver per meter drilled
Annual silver production
~5,000,000 ounces
~5,000,000 ounces
Life of mine
6 years
13.8 years
Value per ounce of silver in situ Resource Fair Value
Ounces silver per meter drilled

*Note: The optimized pit created by redrawing the pit shell perimeters to maximize average ore yields (85 g/t plus) comprises approximately 25% of the Nieves reported and assessed 120 million ounces of silver equivalent resource.


Pit Resource Expansion

We are currently working towards the goals and objectives of our Pit Resource Expansion Pan. BBV is presently expanding our drilling program by drilling core holes averaging 270 meters in depth. The expansion is based on using geophysical data with drilling data and analysis to show potential vein targets. The timeline for this expansion plan is an estimated 18 months.

Further Exploration

To achieve our goals, a comprehensive exploration program will be conducted at Nieves. The program will involve a series of surveys, including magnetic, geological, and geochemical surveys, to identify potential drill targets. The data collected from these surveys will be analyzed to determine the location of the intrusive source of mineralization and other magnetic anomalies that may indicate the presence of undiscovered veins.

Exit Strategy

We are currently in development of an exit plan. Blackberry Ventures LLC’s business plan calls for finding, delineating, and assessing a plus-billion ounces silver resource, demonstrating the economic feasibility of mining the resource, and exiting through a sale, joint venture or exploration option (“farmout”) to a best-in-class mining group while Nieves is still in development.

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