Aya Gold & Silver Inc. (TSX: AYA) (“Aya” or the “Corporation”) is pleased to report an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for its Zgounder Silver Mine in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Highlights - Overview as of December 13, 2021
- Measured and Indicated (“M&I”) Mineral Resources increased to 96.1 million (“M”) ounces (“oz”) of silver (“Ag”), a 116% increase compared to March 2021
- Inferred Mineral Resources increased to 6.4M oz Ag, a 1,519% increase compared to March 2021
- High-grade Mineral Resources in the Measured classification: 3.5M tonnes (“t”) at 347 g/t Ag for 39,183 oz
- The resulting Feasibility Study for a 2,000 tonnes per day (“tpd”) mine and process plant expansion is targeted for completion in Q1-2022, bringing the total project to 2,700 tpd
- Focus on increasing Mineral Resource Estimate through 2022 drilling priority targets at depth and along strike at Zgounder and on the Zgounder Regional properties
The updated Mineral Resource Estimate has an effective date of December 13, 2021 and incorporates drilling carried out on Zgounder between January and September 10, 2021. Zgounder’s M&I Mineral Resources total 9.8Mt averaging 306 g/t Ag for 96.1M oz Ag. This represents an increase of 116% compared to the March 2021 M&I Mineral Resources of 44.4M oz Ag (Table 1). This Mineral Resource Estimate will form the basis of the Corporation’s maiden Mineral Reserve Estimate in conjunction with the Feasibility Study.
The Mineral Resource database update consists of 516 drill holes (surface and underground combined) for 41,932 metres (“m”) carried out on Zgounder. The drilling campaign had two objectives: increase the confidence level of the Exploration Target area identified in March 2021, and further extend mineralization in the eastern part of the Deposit. The Corporation succeeded on both counts, extending the mineralized east-west strike from 775m to 1,100m in length and at depth.
“We are pleased that our 2021 exploration program at Zgounder has delivered an updated Mineral Resource Estimate that materially increases the M&I Mineral Resources and improves the overall Mineral Resource grade. This represents an 860% increase in M&I Mineral Resources since management was appointed in April 2020. Based on our recent drill results, we remain confident in our ability to further grow this already substantial Mineral Resource at depth and along strike,” said Benoit La Salle, President and CEO. “Our next priority will be completion of the Zgounder expansion Feasibility Study in Q1-2022, while continuing our ongoing step-out and infill drill program.”
For core drilling, all individual samples representing an approximate one metre in length of drill core, were sawn in half. One of the drill core halves is kept on site for reference, and its counterpart is sent for preparation and assaying to the African Laboratory for Mining and Environment (“Afrilab”) in Marrakech, Morocco. All samples are analysed for silver, copper, iron, lead, and zinc using aqua regia and finished by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Samples grading above 200 g/t Ag are re-analysed using fire assaying. Certified reference materials, blanks and duplicates were introduced as controls into the analytical sample stream. Additionally, Afrilab inserted their internal QA/QC controls.
Data Sources and Resource Estimation Methods
3D block models were created for the Zgounder Deposit and for the historical tailings located a few hundred metres northwest of the mine site. A geological rock code system was introduced and assigned to the various lithological units and mineralized domains. Continuity directions were assessed based on the orientation of the domains and the spatial distribution of silver. Separate variograms were generated for 1.2m down-hole silver composites within each domain. Mineralization modelling, grade estimation and Mineral Resource reporting were conducted using GemcomTM, LeapfrogTM, Snowden SupervisorTM and NPV SchedulerTM software. Ordinary kriging was used for grade estimation into 2.0m x 2.0m x 2.0m model blocks.