Aya reports first gold pour at Zgounder mine in Morocco

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Aya Gold & Silver Inc. [AYA-TSX] said the company has completed the inaugural silver pour at its expanded Zgounder Silver Mine in the Kingdom of Morocco.

“This pour marks another significant milestone in our expansion as we transition to full production by the fourth quarte of 2024. Congratulations to the operations team at Zgounder for safely delivering this watershed moment,’’ said Aya President and CEO Benoit La Salle.

“We are now focused on commissioning and ramping up the mill to nameplate capacity,’’ he said.

Aya shares were largely unchanged on the news, easing 0.07% or $0.01 to $14.60. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $15.94 and $6.58.

Aya operates mining and milling facilities at its Zgounder Silver Mine, an 85%/15% joint venture between an Aya subsidiary and the Office National de Hydrocarbures et des Mines of the Kingdom of Morocco (ONHYM).

Aside from developing Zgounder, the company is exploring its properties along the prospective South-Atlas Fault, several of which have hosted past producing mines and historical resources. The company’s Moroccan mining assets are complemented by its Tijirit Gold Project in Mauritania, which is being advanced to feasibility.

The company’s mining portfolio also includes the Boumadine polymetallic deposit, which is located in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Eastern Morocco. This project is also held in a joint venture with ONHYM, with Aya retaining an 85% ownership stake.

On February 22, 2022, Aya announced positive results from a feasibility study which examined a proposed expansion of Zgounder from 700 to 2,700 tonnes per day. The expansion outlined a combined open pit and underground mining operation over the projected 11-year life of mine period.

The study envisaged a 394% increase in annual silver production to 7.9 million ounces by 2024, driving revenue up 364% to US$172 million by 2024 from US$37 million in 2021. With capital expenditures pegged at US$139.4 million.

The company said the study was supported by an initial proven and probable reserve estimate of 8.59 million tonnes grading 257 g/t silver or 71 million ounces. That material positions Zgounder among the highest-grade silver projects globally, the company has said.

When the study was released, Aya said significant upside potential exits within and surrounding the Zgounder mineralized system, which remains open at depth to the granite. In the short term, Aya said it aims to expand resources at depth and along strike in addition to discovering regional resources within trucking distance of the mine.

Aya said the first gold pour was achieved on July 2, 2024. It said the first bars were poured with silver cement from the existing cyanidation plant.

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