Silver Mines has secured approval from the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) of News South Wales (NSW), Australia, for the development of the Bowdens Silver Project, subject to conditions of consent.

Located within the Mid-Western Regional Council Local Government Area, the project is an open-cut silver, lead and zinc mine that is expected to extract and process up to two million tonnes of ore per annum.

Said to be Australia’s largest undeveloped silver deposit, the Bowdens project is planned to be operated over a period of about 23 years.

The project is expected to create nearly 320 jobs during the construction phase and around 230 jobs during mining operations.

Commenting on the approval, NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said: “Projects like the Bowdens Silver Project are critically important to supply metals of the future for a range of industries, including health, telecommunications, energy, advanced manufacturing, defence, and transport.

“We have an abundance of these metals and minerals here in NSW, and a range of further mining projects in the planning pipeline, with the potential for further positive development of our state’s resources sector.”

Prior to approaching the IPC for the mine’s final determination, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment completed the project’s whole-of-government assessment in December 2022.

Following the assessment, the commission found that the issues raised by the local community pertaining to the project’s impact on human health and amenity, water, traffic and transport, as well as social and economic impacts, could be managed through conditions of consent.

As a result, the IPC enforced conditions for the firm to prevent, reduce and/or offset adverse impacts of the silver project.

The IPC said that this requires the company to “prepare and implement comprehensive management plans and will need to report on mitigation measures, monitoring results and compliance with performance criteria on an ongoing basis”.