The Silver City Project is comprised of the Bräunsdorf, Frauenstein, Mohorn and Oederan exploration licenses amounting to the approximately 340 km2 silver district in Saxony, Germany. It is situated west of the city of Freiberg (30 km southwest of Dresden) in the historic Freiberg mining district. The exploration licenses and surrounding area have a long and rich history of silver mining with numerous historic mining camps, small mines and prospects, many of which have only been explored and/or mined to shallow depths seldom exceeding 200 metres below surface.
Located along the western edge of the Erzgiberge terrain, the terrain is an erosional window of Variscan basement rocks exposed due to uplifting of the terrain during the Cenozoic period. A large number of hydrothermal veins have been emplaced into this terrain. These veins are typically sub-vertical and host predominantly silver and base metal rich deposits associated with Permian magmatic activity. In the Bräunsdorf district in particular, polymetallic veins are hosted within mica schist units, parallel to the tectonic contacts along a gneiss unit.
The area’s long history of mining dates back to the 12th century. Similar to the gold rush in North America, the silver rush in Europe originated in the ore mountains of Saxony, which were the source of wealth and power for the Saxon monarchy. Mining continued until the 19th century and ceased when Germany abandoned the silver standard after the Franco-Prussian war and as the depth of mining operations became difficult with the methods then being employed. Sporadic silver mining continued in 1880’s, but ultimately ceased in 1969 due to economic, political and technological limitations.
The area is home to the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (TU Bergekademie Freiberg), one of the oldest universities of mining and metallurgy in the world and the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg, which specializes in a broad array of innovative mining technologies. The Institute was founded in 2011 by the federal government of Germany to align the country’s mineral history with a new national strategy on raw materials. Currently, both the Saxon and German governments are proactively attracting mining investment and research through affiliations with several technology and mining institutes and transparent and collaborative mining law process.