Maya Gold & Silver Inc. [MYA-TSX; MYAGF-OTC] achieved a key milestone Wednesday January 9 with the announcement that its flagship Zgounder silver mine in Morocco has reached the commercial production stage. Maya is a Morocco-focused company with a portfolio that also includes the Boumadine polymetallic deposit, located in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Eastern Morocco.
Both projects are held 85% by Maya Gold subsidiary ZMSM and 15% by the Moroccan state-owned company ONHYM.
In addition, the company has licenses covering over 100 km2 which include the Amizmiz and Azegour properties. They are located in a historical mining district that contains both precious and base metal mineralization.
According to a March 2018 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) study, Zgounder has sufficient resources to maintain a mining operation for 10 years, with annual production of 1.35 million ounces of silver, rising to a peak of 4.76 million ounces.
The PEA foresees the extraction of 3.97 million tonnes at 292 g/t silver.
Maya said it has achieved the commercial production stage after completing the commissioning and testing phase of a 500 ton-per-day flotation mill.
During a 28-day period, a total of 4,622 tonnes of low grade ore with an average silver grade of 157 g/t was processed. The overall recovery with flotation followed by cyanidation of the flotation concentrate reached 80.3% (including in the system silver metal balance) which is better than expected for the testing phase.
The flotation mill produced 321 tonnes of concentrate at a grade of 1,861 g/t silver for a 7% weight recover, the company said in a press release.
Maya Gold shares advanced on the news, rising 1.67% or $0.03 to $1.83. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $2.80 and $1.65.
Zgounder is a former silver mine, which includes a cyanidation plant which produced over 655,000 ounces of silver annually from 1982 until weak silver prices forced it to close in 1990.
Zgounder is located in the central Anti-Atlas Range on the northwestern flank of the Siroua Massif about 260 km east of the port city of Agadir (population 575,320). The mine can be accessed from Agadir by maintained highways right up until the final 5-km stretch of dirt road, which the company says can be easily upgraded.
During the nine months ended September 30, 2019, Zgounder produced 227,277 ounces of silver, marking a decrease of 40.8% from the previous year.
Meanwhile, Maya said it completed 6,900 metres of diamond drilling at the Boumadine polymetallic project during the first nine months of 2018. The work was associated with a PEA.
Back in August, 2018, Maya said it had received the results from the latest metallurgical tests on fresh rock from the Boumadine Project.
The metallurgical tests were conducted at the SGS Laboratory in Lakefield, Ontario.
Highlights are as follows:
• Calculated head grade: 0.43% lead, 1.40% zinc, 4.46 g/t gold and 455 g/t silver
• Zinc recovery: 79.5%
• Zinc concentrate: 54.2%
• Gold recovery: 96.37% (including gold recovered in the zinc concentrate)
• Silver recovery: 50.44% (including the silver recovered in the zinc concentrate)