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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: 697,000 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: 990,000t at 315 g/t Ag for 10,028,000 oz (Feb. 2018)
  • Inferred mineral resources: 3,437,000t at 256 g/t for 28,338,000 oz (Feb 2018)
  • Feasibility study underway for expansion to 2,000 tpd or annual production of 4-5M oz

 

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 from to 2,000 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


 
Preliminary Economic Assessment – Technical Report March 16th, 2018
 
Preliminary Economic Assessment (March 2014)

 

Note to Potential Investors: 43-101

The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the PEA results will be realized.

Location

The mine is located approximately 260 kilometres east of Agadir (pop. 575,320), 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 kilometres to Taliouine in the Taroudant province. The bulk of the remaining 61 kilometres to the mine are traveled on a well-paved road to the village of Askaoun. The last five-kilometre 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

2019 2018
Ore processed (tons) 100,667 39,763
Average grade (g/t Ag) 217.6 278.5
Silver ingots produced (oz) 286,294 258,469
Silver concentrate produced (oz) 166,122
Total silver produced (oz) 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 initial 2021 drill program for Zgounder starts with a 12-hole campaign on the western extension of the mine. The 2021 program follows up on the successful 2020 program where the 19,030-meter diamond drill program extended near-mine mineralisation along strike and at depth. By year-end 2020, a total of 97,533m over 2,596 holes had been drilled on Zgounder.
 
Location of 2020 Exploration Drilling Program