Aya Gold & Silver (TSX: AYA) has secured a $100 million debt financing package to support the expansion of its Zgounder silver project in Morocco. The financing package comprises a senior debt facility of $92 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), plus an $8 million tranche from Climate Investment Funds.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the EBRD, who is highly committed to both Morocco and development of the Zgounder silver mine,” CEO Benoit La Salle said in a news release. “The infrastructure build-out will serve as a regional catalyst, bringing additional investment, local jobs and procurement, and an array of social and environmental initiatives that benefit both the Kingdom of Morocco and its local communities.”
Shares of Aya Gold & Silver moved up 2.1% by lunchtime ET, giving the only TSX-listed pure silver mining company a market capitalization of C$902.8 million.
Located in the central Anti-Atlas mountains, Zgounder is considered the second most important silver mine in Morocco after the Imiter mine. Commercial production was reached in January 2019. Aya currently holds an 85% interest in the underground mine, with a state-owned enterprise holding the remaining 15%.
A feasibility study for an expanded mine operation was delivered in February 2022, supported by a high-grade reserve estimate of 8.6 million tonnes at 257 g/t silver for 70.9 million oz. of silver.
The proposed expansion would expand the mill’s nameplate capacity to 2,700 t/d from 700 t/d, thus quadrupling Zgounder’s silver production to 6.8 million oz. Completion of the expansion is expected in 2024.