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Zgounder (Ag)

About Zgounder

Located in the central Anti-Atlas mountains, Zgounder is the second most-important silver mine in Morocco after the Imiter Mine. Commercial production was reached in January 2019. Following a change of management in May 2020, a 12-month operations turnaround plan was implemented with the aim of reaching nameplace capacity of 700 tonnes per day.

 

Highlights

  • 2020 silver production: 726,319 oz
  • 2021 silver production guidance: 1.2 million oz
  • Type of mine: underground
  • Mining method: long-hole
  • Processing method: flotation (500 tpd) – cyanidation (200 tpd)
  • Ownership: 85%-15% joint venture between Aya and ONHYM (the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines) of the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Measured & indicated mineral resources: 4,893,000t at 282 g/t Ag for 44,410,000 oz (March 1, 2021)
  • Inferred mineral resources: 59,000t at 209 g/t Ag for 395,000 oz (March 1, 2021)
  • Feasibility study underway for expansion to 2,700 tpd
  • Two resources estimates planned: Q1 2021 and Q4 2021, as part of the expansion feasibility study

 

History

900 - 1200

First explored and mined

1982 - 1990

SOMIL-owned UG mine at 75,000t/yr

1990 - 1997

Exploration by the BRPM

2009

PFS to re-open Zgounder Mine

2012

Acquisition of Zgounder

2013

Creation of Zgounder Millennium Silver Mining

2014

First silver pour:
200-tpd mill capacity

2015 - 2017

4,820m of T28 drilling &
13,140m of DD surface drilling

2018

PEA & NI 43-101

2019

Flotation plant:
commercial production

2020

Flowsheet reconfiguration

2021 Feasibility Study

A feasibility study has been launched to investigate the feasibility of expanding Zgounder Mine throughput from 700 tpd to 2,700 tpd or production of between 4-5 million Ag oz per year. Completion of the feasibility study, which is being carried out in partnership with DRA Met-Chem, is expected by year-end 2021.

 

Technical reports


 
Technical Report and Updated Mineral Resource Estimate – April 30, 2021
 
Preliminary Economic Assessment – Technical Report March 16, 2018
 
Preliminary Economic Assessment (March 2014)

 

Location

The mine is located approximately 260 kilometers east of Agadir, within the Proterozoic Siroua Massif of the Anti-Atlas range.

Access

The Zgounder Mine is accessible from Agadir on well-maintained paved highways (N10 and P1706) that run east for 205 kilometers to Taliouine in the Taroudant province. The bulk of the remaining 61 kilometers to the mine are traveled on a well-paved road to the village of Askaoun. The last five-kilometer stretch to the mine is on a dirt road that could be easily be upgraded.

Surface area

The mining permit covers 16 km², and the 7 exploration permits cover 96 km².

Operating Highlights

2020 2019 2018
Ore processed (tons) 128,923 100,667 39,763
Average grade (g/t Ag) 255 217.6 278.5
Silver ingots produced (oz) 439,448 286,294 258,469
Silver concentrate produced (oz) 286,871 166,122
Total silver produced (oz) 726,319 452,416 258,469

Mineralization

The silver mineralization occurs in three, often superposed, genotypes:
1) Mm-thick beds of well-crystallized, finely disseminated pyrite associated with quartz and other sulphides found in chloritized and tuffaceous pelitic layers of the Brown Formation with low silver grades (5 to 25 g/t Ag) (Figure 5);
2) Native silver veinlets associated with proustite (Ag₃AsS₃), argentite (Ag₂S) and filling micro-fractures discordant with the stratitification and suggesting a stockwork-type mineralization; and
3) Native silver dissemination with sulphide veinlets (sphalerite, galena, argentite and cinabar) in brecciated sandstone-shale layers and spotted by nodules and flakes of chlorite and/or carbonate microlithes.
The paragenetic sequence shows two successive stages: an early Fe-As stage (silver-bearing pyrite and arsenopyrite), followed by an Ag-bearing polymetallic (Zn, Pb, Cu, Hg; sphalerite and chalcopyrite) stage. Native silver is by far the most common silver mineral and forms an amalgam with Hg. Tension gashes originally trapped the silver mineralization within a NNE-oriented shear zone affecting the Brown Formation shale-sandstone beds containing anomalous Ag values. These were then transposed by EW-oriented structures forming isolated Ag-mineralized lenses and fissures.
 

Exploration

The main objective of the 2021 Zgounder exploration program is to identify new near-mine resources on strike and at depth to be included in the feasibility study and to support Zgounder’s first mineral reserve. The initial program comprises a 41,000-meter drill program, 35,000 meters of which on the mine permit and 6,000 meters on the regional exploration permits. In addition, regional exploration will start at Zgounder. This year’s program comprises 35,000 meters of diamond drill and 6,000 meters of RC drilling, the latter which will only be carried out regionally.

 
T28 Drill Traces and Point Cloud of Drill Data Greater than 100 g/t Ag