The Lece Mine is located approximately 2km northwest of the small eponymous mining village of Lece located approximately 10km from the small town of Medvedja which lies within the administrative district of Jablanicki in southern Serbia close to the Kosovo border.
The earliest records of mining in the region are the physical traces and records of mining activities dating from the time of Romans to the middle ages. During this period historic records indicate that both lead and gold were sought.
The Lece mine was initially evaluated in 1931 by the British Pacific Company and production commenced later that year. By 1934 the venture was held by the Slišane Company or the South Serbia Mining & Timber Company. In the period between 1931-1941 some 58,822 tonnes of ore with a mean grade of 3.8% Pb, 6.5% Zn and 7.05g/t Au was extracted. Production was terminated in 1941 following the German invasion of Yugoslavia.
Following the termination of World War II restoration of the previously built facilities was undertaken as was a significant phase of exploration. The mine was rebuilt and a new flotation plant with 100,000 tpa capacity was constructed nearby to the village of Gazdare. In 1956 a plant for cyanidation was opened. By the end of 1975 the installed equipment was dismantled as it had became obsolete and new equipment was purchased from the (then) USSR and from Italy, with a design capacity of 200,000 tpa. This equipment was commissioned in 1976.
During the 1990s a declining production trend was accompanied by large fluctuations in ore grade resulting in a lack of investment and declining economic performance largely mirroring the political problems facing Yugoslavia at this time. The mine closed in 2001 and despite feasibility studies conducted in the early part of the decade by western companies no further activity occurred.
From 1938 to closure in November 2002 the Lece Mine has produced a total of 3,301,762 tonnes of ore grading 1.53% Pb, 3.33% Zn, 3.66 g/t Au and 15.61 g/t Ag. Annual production at the mine, before suspension, was typically approximately 350kg of gold, 1,000kg of silver and 5,000t of lead and zinc in concentrates. The ore occurs in a number of epithermal vein-breccia bodies some 2,000m long and 2-50m in width (average of 8-10m).
The Šuta-Rasovaca vein-breccia zone trends NNW-SSE (330 degrees) with a dip of 60-70 degrees to the west and has been traced over a distance of over 6,000m, with a typical thickness of 0.3 to 20m, but locally may attain 50m.
The Jezerina 1 Vein zone is situated in the north-eastern part of the mine with a general E-W strike and a dip of 82-85 degrees to the north. The vein zone is known to continue for over 2,500m of strike and comprises a number of quartz-breccia bodies cut by quartz and sulphide-bearing veins. The ore zone is typically pervasively brecciated showing several generations of fluidized, tectonic and hydraulic fracture breccias accompanying various stages of mineralization. Within the vein zone eight ore-shoots have been discovered to date, separated by barren or poorly mineralized vein material. The thickness of the ore shoots is variable, typically being around 2.5 metres but locally swelling to ~10m in width. Mineral composition is identical to the other sections of the deposit.
Towards the eastern end of the Jezerina 1 system the strike swings to ESE and a number of sub-parallel veins are seen on both the hangingwall and footwall sides of the main structure. These sub-vein systems dip both to the north and south forming a number of significant ore shoots at their intersection with Jezerina 1. Veins such as #45, #57, # 59, #68, #74, #1058 and #1059 have been partially investigated and contain payable ore shoots at various levels. Significant potential remains on these veins and at their intersections with Jezerina 1.
The Jezerina 2 Vein is located towards the eastern end of Jezerina 1 and some 180-220m to its south. Jezerina 2 averages 1-2m in thickness and dips at around 65 degrees N, flattening towards the east to 55-75 degrees N.