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Ascot Resources Ltd
Symbol AOT
Shares Issued 376,351,128
Close 2021-12-07 C$ 1.19
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Ascot Resources receives Mines Act permit for Premier

2021-12-07 10:09 ET - News Release

Mr. Derek White reports


Ascot Resources Ltd. has received the Mines Act permit for construction and operation of the Premier gold project (PGP) located in the Golden Triangle of northwestern British Columbia, along with an update on project development. The B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has issued to Ascot the M-179 Mines Act permit, enabling the restart of operations at PGP. In addition, Ascot anticipates the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to imminently issue the Environmental Management Act permit PE-8044, for which there are no further outstanding information requests.

With the benefit of having the Mines Act permit in hand, Ascot will now evaluate and prepare for an optimal transition from early works to full-scale construction. The receipt of the final permits is one of the key conditions to draw down the remaining $75-million (U.S.) under the company's project finance facility.

Derek White, president and chief executive officer, commented: "Receiving the Mines Act permit for PGP is a momentous milestone for Ascot, and the culmination of extensive collaboration and consultation with Nis g a'a Nation and the provincial regulators. We are grateful that our community-centred approach to responsible mine development and environmental stewardship was a vision shared by all parties involved in the permitting process. We would like to thank our shareholders, Nis g a'a Nation and the local towns of Stewart, B.C., and Hyder, Alaska, for their support as we progressed through the permitting process and are looking forward to the next chapter as we advance Canada's next gold mine toward production."

"This project will be a welcome source of employment for hundreds of people who live in the northwest," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. "Ascot Resources is working with Nis g a'a Nation to bring good-paying jobs to the community and those who live around Stewart, B.C."

"We are very pleased to see that the Mines Act permit for the construction and operation of the Premier gold project has been issued," said Eva Clayton, president of Nisga'a Lisims government. "The Nis g a'a Nation have worked in extensive collaboration with Ascot throughout the permitting process, including through the mine review committee process leading up to the granting of the permit. The rights under our treaty and our commitment to stewardship of the Nass Valley and Nisga'a citizens have helped to set the Premier gold project to be a safe, prosperous and responsible mining operation. We have developed a strong working relationship with Ascot and we wish to congratulate it on this important milestone. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Ascot in the full-scale construction and operation phases of the project."

Local and regional prosperity from low-carbon gold

Based on the 2020 feasibility study mine plan, without factoring in additional mine life extension potential through further resource growth and conversion to reserves, the project is expected to bring much prosperity to the local communities and the surrounding region of northwestern British Columbia. During the approximate 12-month construction phase, Ascot expects the project to employ a peak of approximately 140 people, and in operation the mine will directly employ approximately 280 people, not to mention subcontractors, suppliers and ancillary services; Ascot hopes that many of these positions will be filled by Nisga'a Nation and other local community members. Over the initial eight-year mine life, Ascot expects to invest $353-million in initial and sustaining capital and incur $884-million in operating expenses, the vast majority of which would be spent locally and in the province. The mine is also expected to generate approximately $403-million in provincial and federal taxes and $746-million in after-tax free cash flow based on current spot metal prices.

Moreover, this prosperity will not come at the expense of high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as PGP is expected to be one of British Columbia's lowest carbon-intensive gold mines. The project is well situated to be a relatively low carbon emitter across all three scopes of GHG measurement. Scope 1 pertains operation of company equipment on company property. Ascot will operate various high-grade, near-surface underground mines, which are known to emit much less carbon than its open pit counterparts. Scope 2 pertains to emissions from purchased power sources, which in Ascot's case is B.C.'s clean, hydroelectric grid power. Scope 3 pertains to upstream and downstream supply chain and processing. Ascot will pour dore gold-silver bars on site, the shipping of which will emit much less carbon than would a concentrate product. The company is currently undertaking a review of the 2020 feasibility study mine plan to estimate life of mine scope 1-2 emissions, which will be included in Ascot's inaugural sustainability report planned for 2022.

Project development update

The company recently received notice that a cargo ship travelling from China to Vancouver, carrying a majority of the company's clarifier and thickener components, lost its cargo at sea in a major storm event. The financial cost of replacement will be covered by insurance, but the additional time to fabricate and ship replacement components is expected to cause a delay in the overall project schedule. This, combined with abnormally high snowfall levels associated with storm events on the west coast of B.C., has led Ascot to revise the project development plans throughout the winter season and into 2022. For these reasons and in order to prioritize the safety of its work force, the company is now planning to scale back most outdoor construction activities and delay the commencement of underground development until snowfall levels subside.

In Ascot's currently contemplated underground development sequence, by starting in April, 2022, initial ore could potentially be accessed by October, enabling process plant commissioning by the end of 2022. As a result, the target date for initial gold production has shifted by one quarter from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023. Ascot is evaluating the potential impact to project costs and construction schedule and will provide an update in due course.

Investor and analyst conference call

Ascot welcomes investors and analysts to join president and CEO Mr. White for a conference call today at 1:15 p.m. PST/4:15 p.m. EST to discuss the permits, development plans and other company updates. Please join five to 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time via the details below:

Telephone:  Toll-free Canada/United States 1-800-319-4610; international 1-604-638-5340

Qualified person

John Kiernan, PEng, chief operating officer of the company is the company's qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved the technical contents of this news release.

About Ascot Resources Ltd.

Ascot is a Canadian-based junior exploration and development company focused on restarting the past-producing Premier gold mine, located in British Columbia's prolific Golden Triangle. Ascot shares trade on the TSX. Concurrent with progressing the development of Premier, the company continues to successfully explore its properties for additional high-grade underground resources. Ascot is committed to the safe and responsible development of Premier in collaboration with Nisga'a Nation as outlined in the benefits agreement.

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