Aya Gold & Silver Inc has provided an update on the feasibility study for the Zgounder Silver Mine in the Kingdom of Morocco. It includes the appointment of Lycopodium Minerals Canada Ltd to deliver the front-end engineering design (FEED) of the new mineral processing plant, for expected completion in early Q2 2022. Detailed design has commenced on a first phase of over 4,400 m of mine infrastructure and contract allocation is ongoing with mobilisation of selected contractors planned by early Q1 2022. Development of the procurement and construction strategy is occurring in parallel to the FEED. New equipment includes two scissor lifts, two LHDs and an underground truck.
The Zgounder Silver Mine expansion feasibility study, which will increase the milling rate by 2,000 t/d for a total of 2,700 t/d will be published in Q1 2022. “We are completing the Zgounder feasibility study, which follows a very successful drill exploration program and is based on an updated and comprehensive geological model. We have also hired a proven and highly experienced team, which is key to a successful construction project. We have a unique opportunity to leverage a cornerstone asset to deliver stakeholder value and make a real impact locally and internationally with our partners,” said Benoit La Salle, President & CEO.
A new mineral resource estimate for the Zgounder Silver Mine will be released before year-end. Delivery of the resulting feasibility study for a 2,000 t/d mine and milling expansion, is also nearing completion, and expected by Q1 2022. This is expected to bring total capacity of the Zgounder Silver Mine to 2,700 t/d. The company has mandated Lycopodium to carry out the FEED of the mineral processing plant. Process flowsheet, mass balance and other design criteria are at a stage where further engineering can begin. Completion of the FEED is anticipated by Q2 2022, in line with the original timeline for the project. The company says it continues to be pro-active in managing the timeline, which has not been affected by COVID-19.
External and internal resources have been allocated to developing the mine infrastructure and engineering. Completion of the first phase, which includes ventilation raises, multiple level accesses, ore and waste chutes, is expected to take 15 months. The new infrastructure build-out will increase capacity from 700 t/d to 2,700 t/d in addition to also stabilizing production long-term. As part of its procurement and construction strategy for the project and its ancillary services, the company is currently in discussions with a number of engineering and construction companies. The construction team will be led by Joel Desmeules, the previous construction manager of the recent Tasiast plant expansion in Mauritania. He will be responsible for coordinating all Zgounder-related construction activities.