Silver Mines has received approval to proceed with the development and production of the Bowdens silver project in central New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

The Australia-based silver exploration company has been granted approval by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) of NSW, which will be subject to conditions of consent.

Silver Mines stated that the final development approval comes after extensive processes by the company and various government authorities including the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and eventually the IPC.

Located nearly 26km east of Mudgee, the Bowdens silver project is said to be the largest undeveloped silver deposit in Australia.

The silver project contains mineral tenements covering 496,000 acres.

According to Silver Mines, the mine will have a project life of 23 years with silver production lasting 16.5 years. The project will also yield zinc and lead as by-products.

Silver Mines managing director Anthony McClure said: “The IPC’s decision is the most significant milestone for the Company since we took over the Project in mid-2016.”

“Our team has delivered a technically reliable and environmentally responsible project.

“This decision recognises the significant long-term economic and social benefits the Project will deliver for our shareholders, the State of New South Wales and also the local communities across the Mid-Western Regional Government area.”

Silver Mines acquired the mining property in June 2016 and is developing it with a capital investment of A$250m ($168.7m). The project is said to have significant opportunities for potential expansion.

Construction of the open-cut silver mine is anticipated to begin in 2024 and is expected to generate 320 direct construction jobs.

Besides, the Bowdens silver project is anticipated to create 228 ongoing operational jobs along with indirect jobs for local businesses and the community throughout its lifetime.