Mr. Chris Buncic reports
ASCENDANT RESOURCES PROVIDES JUNE AND SECOND QUARTER PRODUCTION UPDATE
Ascendant Resources Inc. had zinc equivalent metal production of 6,944 tonnes during the second quarter, 15 per cent higher than the first quarter and up 4 per cent from guidance of 6,664 tonnes, at its El Mochito mine in Honduras.
Milled production for the month was 50,795 tonnes, an average of 1,693 tonnes per day. The second quarter milling production rate increased 15 per cent against Q1 but was 7 per cent lower than the provided guidance of 1,850 tonnes per day. This was offset by 7-per-cent-higher-than-planned metal grades mined on a zinc equivalent basis and higher processing recoveries. The company is not making any revisions to the guidance issued on April 18, 2017, and remains confident of achieving its guidance for the year.
The mine hoisted 51,283 tonnes of ore in the month of June, an average of 1,709 tonnes per day. Mining in June continued to be impacted by reduced availability of the underground mining equipment, once again underscoring the expected benefits from the company's program to upgrade the existing aging mining fleet of 10 trucks and six loaders.
Of the three trucks and two loaders ordered in March, four pieces are now underground with the second truck and the second loader expected to be in operation by July 25 once fully commissioned. The addition of the new equipment, with high availability, and continued progress in various other productivity improvement initiatives already under way are expected to support higher sustained production rates going forward (see press releases on June 12, April 18, 2017, and the corporate presentation).
Operational performance over the past three months and Q2 2017 is displayed in the table.
April May June Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q2 guidance
Ore milled tonnes 49,393 50,597 50,795 131,115 150,785 160,980
Ore milled tpd 1,829 1,687 1,693 1,619 1,733 1,850
Working days 27 30 30 81 87 87
Mill head grade
Average Zn grade % 3.43% 3.30% 3.34% 3.43% 3.36% 3.30%
Average Pb grade % 1.42% 1.32% 1.28% 1.33% 1.34% 1.50%
Average silver grade g/t 52.0 56.0 38.0 50.0 48.7 42.0
Average ZnEq grade* % 5.82% 5.52% 5.17% 5.56% 5.50% 5.42%
Zinc % 89.6% 87.5% 89.6% 89.8% 88.9% 83.4%
Lead % 73.7% 72.3% 70.8% 76.9% 72.2% 63.2%
Silver % 79.3% 78.9% 78.3% 78.8% 78.8% 68.2%
Contained metal production
Zinc tonnes 1,521 1,462 1,522 4,032 4,505 4,418
Lead tonnes 517 482 460 1,341 1,459 1,563
Silver ounces 67,267 69,672 47,557 173,041 184,496 146,891
ZnEq* tonnes 2,422 2,312 2,210 6,201 6,944 6,664
ZnEq* lb (000) 5,341 5,096 4,872 13,672 15,309 14,692
* Calculated by monthly realized metal prices; weighted average during Q2 was $2,598.35
(U.S.)/tonne zinc, $2,164.98 (U.S.)/tonne lead and $17.25 (U.S.)/ounce.
President and chief executive officer Chris Buncic commented: "We are certainly pleased to be making steady improvements in our quarterly production performance since closing our acquisition of the mine in December last year. In June, we recovered from the water and equipment issues of May and we are focusing our efforts on maintenance to manage the ageing fleet's performance as we commission the newly acquired trucks and loaders. We remain confident that operational performance is set to continue ramping up within the coming months, driving El Mochito to be free cash flow positive in the near term."
About Ascendant Resources
Ascendant Resources is a mining company focused on its producing El Mochito zinc, silver and lead mine in west-central Honduras in which the company has a 100-per-cent interest. El Mochito has been in production since 1948. The company evaluates producing and advanced-development-stage mineral resource acquisition opportunities in North, South and Central America, on a continuing basis.
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