Aya completes design for 2,000 t/d processing plant at Zgounder

Aya Gold & Silver (TSX: AYA; OTC: AYASF) has reached the first milestone in its proposed expansion of the Zgounder silver mine operations […]
Aerial view of the Zgounder silver mine in Morocco. Credit: Aya Gold and Silver

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Aya Gold & Silver (TSX: AYA; OTC: AYASF) has reached the first milestone in its proposed expansion of the Zgounder silver mine operations in Morocco: the completion of front-end engineering design (FEED), including flowsheet modifications, of a new 2,000 t/d flotation-CIP processing plant.

The FEED phase saw the company check off many important items previously recommended by the Zgounder expansion feasibility study, including completion of additional metallurgical test work and simplification of the processing plant flowsheet for better water management and recycling.

According to Benoit La Salle, Aya's president and CEO, "Our updated, simplified flowsheet keeps capex and opex costs in line with the feasibility study and improves operability."

To date, the company has received quotations for 21 mechanical equipment packages, including all key long-lead items, from a pre-approved list of vendors. Earthworks for the new process plant and the new haulage road have been awarded to a Moroccan contractor. Mobilization to site is planned for the second half of July 2022.

Aya is currently in discussions with two engineering and project delivery companies for construction of the processing plant, and expects to receive offers from both before month-end. Selection of the contractor is anticipated in the coming months.

A local Moroccan civil engineering firm has been also been contracted for the detailed design of a new tailings storage facility. The first 60,000 m³ water storage basin has already been completed.

Located in the central Anti-Atlas mountains, approximately 260 km east of the city of Agadir in Taroudant province, the Zgounder mine has been in commercial production since 2019. Aya currently holds an 85% interest in the underground mine, considered the second most important silver mine in Morocco, with a state-owned enterprise holding the remaining 15%.

The feasibility study was delivered in February 2022. The proposed expansion would expand the mill's nameplate capacity to 2,700 t/d from 700 t/d and will quadruple its silver production to 6.8 million oz. Completion of the expansion is expected in 2024.

Silver production at Zgounder is expected to reach 1.65 million to 1.80 million oz. of silver metal this year, supported by a current mineral reserve base of 8.59 million tonnes at 257 g/t silver for 70.88 million oz. of contained silver.

For more information on the Zgounder expansion project, visit www.AyaGoldSilver.com.

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