Zgounder Expansion Feasibility Study 73% Complete
Aya Gold & Silver Inc. (TSX: AYA) is pleased to report results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2021. All amounts are in US dollars unless otherwise stated.
Zgounder Expansion Feasibility Study
At quarter-end, the Zgounder FS was 73% complete and the following milestones had been achieved:
“The third quarter marks a year that the Aya team has been working together, and we saw the benefit of this in our results,” said Benoit La Salle, President & CEO. “In the most challenging production quarter, we continued the trend of strong operational performance, posted record cash flow, closed a C$70 million financing, announced ongoing exploration success at Zgounder and initial promising results from Imiter bis, all while maintaining a heavy focus on mine development and advancing two feasibility studies. This lays the groundwork for several catalyst-rich quarters, starting with the updated resource estimate for Zgounder.”
Q3-2021 Operational and Financial Highlights
|Three-month period ended
|Key Performance Metrics||2021||2020||% Variation|
|Ore Processed (tonnes)||53,869||26,034||107%|
|Average Grade (g/t Ag)||242||217||11%|
|Mill Recovery (%)||80.9%||62.6%||29%|
|Silver Ingots Produced (oz)||154,331||93,691||65%|
|Silver in Concentrate for Sale Produced (oz)||184,293||19,964||823%|
|Total Silver Produced (oz)||338,624||113,655||198%|
|Silver Ingots Sold (oz)||185,000||81,423||127%|
|Silver in Concentrate for Sale Sold (oz)||218,950||–||NM|
|Total Silver Sales (oz)||403,950||81,423||396%|
|Cost of Sales and Net Profit Interest||4,772,246||1,516,440||215%|
|Operating Income (Loss)||1,017,868||(3,087,138)||133%|
|Net Earnings (Loss)||1,287,812||(1,784,504)||172%|
|Operating Cash Flows||5,973,146||(1,329,241)||549%|
|Cash and Restricted Investments Cash||88,072,463||31,082,155||183%|
|Earnings (Loss) per Share (“EPS”) – basic & diluted||0.011||(0.021)||NM|
|*NM – Not meaningful|
Q3-2021 Exploration Highlights
The quarter saw the Corporation return high-grade assays that defined the new Zgounder East Zone and expanded the down-dip and on-strike continuity of Zgounder mineralization. These areas remain open for future growth. Within the Zgounder East Zone, results confirmed continuity along strike with notable high-grade intervals such as holes ZG-21-40 and ZG-21-41 opening the zone at depth in previously undrilled areas below 2,000m. Significant results such as ZG-SF-21-25 extended Zgounder mineralized systems to the granite contact within the exploration target and will be followed up in Q4-2021. Additionally, hole ZG-SF-21-39 defined continuous high-grade mineralization below current mine galleries and remains open in both directions.
As a result of the positive results received year to date, the 2021 drill program at Zgounder was expanded from 35,000m to 42,000m into year-end. In the quarter, 15,834m of diamond drilling were carried out for a total of 40,703m completed to date (excluding T28 drilling). Currently, five drills are operating at Zgounder, three on surface and two at depth. The updated mineral resource estimate remains on track for delivery before year-end and will form the basis of the Zgounder maiden reserve estimate that will support the feasibility study.
The Corporation has engaged Geotech to fly a VTEM™ heliborne terrain, magnetic and radiometric geophysical survey over the entire Zgounder Regional project before year-end.
Imiter bis Exploration
In the quarter, the Corporation’s initial fieldwork program at its Imiter bis Project identified a north-south structure extending over four kilometers long. Highlight grades from 2021 surface grab and channel sampling programs include 15.42 g/t Au, 289 g/t Ag, 5.51% Cu, 31.23% Pb and 10.23% Zn, showing potential for epithermal Au-Ag occurrence and copper-rich deposit. Five priority drill target zones were identified, and a 4,000m diamond drill program began in October 2021 on three of the zones.
During the quarter, a detailed ground magnetic survey was conducted over the same three zones together with a high-resolution multi-spectral study, The Corporation will also fly Geotech’s VTEM™ heliborne terrain, magnetic and radiometric geophysical survey over the property before year-end.
Q3-2021 Zgounder Optimisation and Capital Projects
In the quarter, the Corporation ramped up its capital project activities including refurbishment of the cyanidation plant, replacement of the flotation plant cone crusher, ongoing construction of a new underground explosive depot, and the start of a new mine access at the 2,075m level.
Mining operations benefited from a full quarter using the new cut-and-fill stoping mining method and from easier extraction because of the wider access bay. As a result of the heavy development work in the quarter, mine extraction reached 609 tpd with 50,836t of ore blasted. Preparation for the 2022 mine plan is advancing well, with additional mining equipment being purchased to continue the mechanization of mining operations.
Silver recovery in the quarter increased to 81% relative to 63% for the same period in 2020. The slight decrease in Q3-2021 recovery compared to Q2-2021 is primarily due to a recovery rate of 79% at the cyanidation plant. Both issues are being addressed by the construction of a 60,000m3 water retention basin and a tailings thickener to minimize water discharge to the tailings dam. Recovery at the cyanidation plant is expected to improve in Q4-2021.
In the quarter, availabilities reached 87% and 89% for the flotation and cyanidation plants, respectively. Availability, which was impacted by a two-day planned shutdown of the flotation plant and a two-day unplanned shutdown of the cyanidation plant, is expected to continue to improve as maintenance processes mature.
The technical information contained in this press release pertaining to the Imiter bis Project was reviewed and approved by David Lalonde, B. Sc, Head of Exploration, designated as a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101. The technical information in this press release relating to the Zgounder Project was reviewed and approved by Dr. Marc-Antoine Audet, Ph.D. P. Geo, Geological Consultant, for accuracy and compliance with National Instrument 43-101.
About Aya Gold & Silver Inc.
Aya Gold & Silver Inc. is a rapidly growing, Canada-based silver producer with operations in the Kingdom of Morocco.
The only TSX-listed pure silver mining company, Aya operates the high-grade Zgounder Silver Mine and is exploring its properties along the prospective South-Atlas Fault, several of which have hosted past-producing mines and historical resources. Aya’s Moroccan mining assets are complemented by its Tijirit Gold Project in Mauritania, which is being advanced to feasibility.
Aya’s management team has been focused on maximising shareholder value by anchoring sustainability at the heart of its operations, governance, and financial growth plans.
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We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.