Ascot pours first gold at Premier, aims for commercial production in Q3

Over the weekend, Ascot Resources (TSX: AOT; OTCQX: AOTVF) poured first gold at its 100% owned Premier gold project in British Columbia […]
Credit: Ascot Resources

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Over the weekend, Ascot Resources (TSX: AOT; OTCQX: AOTVF) poured first gold at its 100% owned Premier gold project in British Columbia as part of the mine's commissioning process, which remains ongoing.

"The first gold pour is a hallmark commissioning milestone for Ascot, representing the culmination of years of hard work," commented CEO Derek White in Monday's news release.

Earlier this month, Ascot kicked off the commissioning process by feeding the first ore into the mill. Now, with first gold recovered through the gravity circuit, commissioning activities have moved onto the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit.

Commercial production is anticipated in the third quarter of this year, Ascot reiterated in Monday's release.

The Premier project is located 25 km from the town of Stewart, within the famous Golden Triangle region of B.C. It is home to a former underground gold mine that opened in 1918 and included four deposits – Silver Coin, Big Missouri, Premier, and Red Mountain.

While in operation, it was the largest gold mine in North America until its surface buildings burned down, leading to its closure in 1952. By then, the Premier mine had produced over 2 million oz. of gold and 45 million oz. of silver.

The Premier mill was later rebuilt by Westmin Resources in 1989, and mining from both the open pit and underground resumed until the project was put on care and maintenance in 1996. It produced approximately 260,000 oz. of gold and 5.1 million oz. of silver during that period.

Following Ascot's efforts to revive the gold operation, mining has now resumed at the Silver Coin and Big Missouri deposits to feed a refurbished 2,500 t/d processing plant, which uses conventional crushing, grinding, and gravity circuits followed by a standard CIL process to produce doré bar.

Mining of the Red Mountain deposit will restart in year three, then followed by the Premier deposit.

Total production from the restarted Premier project is estimated to reach 1.1 million oz. of gold and 3 million oz. of silver. Its resource estimate was made in 2020, showing a total of 7.3 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 7.85 g/t gold and 29.0 g/t silver, plus 5.4 million inferred tonnes grading 7.11 g/t gold and 27.1 g/t silver.

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