Aya Gold & Silver Inc. (TSX: AYA) announces silver production of 338,624 ounces at an average grade of 242 grams per tonne in the third quarter of 2021 from its Zgounder Silver Mine in the Kingdom of Morocco.
- Production of 338,624 ounces (“oz”) of silver (“Ag”) in Q3-2021, a 198% increase compared to 113,655 oz Ag in Q3-2020
- Increase in 2021 production guidance to 1.55 million oz Ag or a 29% increase over initial guidance of 1.20 million oz Ag
- Silver recovery of 81% in Q3-2021, a 29% increase compared to 63% in Q3-2020
- Successful two-day shutdown of the flotation plant to upgrade to a higher performance cone crusher
- Strong advancement of capital projects
“This was a solid operational quarter where the changes implemented over the past year enabled the mine to deliver 338,624 ounces. This represents nearly triple last year’s Q3 production and is in line with our turnaround plan. Despite the hot, summer months, we intensified capital project development activities to further upgrade our mining facilities and achieve additional operational efficiencies. The better than anticipated operational performance and execution gives us the confidence to increase Zgounder’s production guidance by 29% to 1.55 million ounces for the year,” said Benoit La Salle, President & CEO.
Intensive Operational Development
Silver recovery increased to 81% relative to 63% for the same period in 2021. The slight decrease in Q3-2021 recovery relative to 82% in Q2-2021 is primarily due to a lower silver recovery of 79% at the cyanidation plant. The reduction in recovery during summer months is due to lower freshwater intake and excess evaporation in the tailings dam. These two issues are being addressed by the construction of a water retention basin and a tailings thickener to minimize water discharge to the tailings dam. Recovery in the quarter still exceeded the Q3-2021 budgeted recovery.
In the quarter, plant availabilities reached 87% and 89% for the flotation and cyanidation plants, respectively. Availability was impacted by a two-day planned shutdown of the flotation plant and by a two-day unplanned shutdown of the cyanidation plant to work on a ball mill.
The quarter also saw extensive development of capital projects including refurbishment activities at the cyanidation plant, replacement of the flotation plant cone crusher to a new, higher performance model, ongoing construction of a new underground explosive depot, and start of construction of a new mine access at the 2,075-meter level.
Increased 2021 Production Guidance
As a result of the operational outperformance to date, the Corporation is raising its 2021 production guidance to 1.55 million oz Ag, a 29% increase relative to the 2021 original guidance. The 2021 cost guidance remains unchanged.
Q3-2021 Financial and Operational Results
Aya’s Q3-2021 full financial and operational results will be released before market-open on November 15, 2021.