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Ascot Resources Ltd
Symbol AOT
Shares Issued 435,640,030
Close 2022-06-22 C$ 0.57
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Ascot delays Premier's first gold pour to 2023 or 2024

2022-06-23 11:17 ET - News Release

Mr. Derek White reports

ASCOT PROVIDES UPDATE ON PROJECT DEVELOPMENT, FINANCING, AND EXPLORATION

Ascot Resources Ltd. has released an update on the development, financing and exploration of the Premier gold project (PGP), located on Nisga'a Nation treaty lands in the prolific Golden Triangle of northwestern British Columbia.

Construction has been significantly advanced in many key project areas, including detailed engineering, work in and around the mill building, the new water treatment plant clarifier foundation, the tailings storage facility and Cascade Creek diversion channel (CCDC), the Big Missouri water discharge pipeline, and portal establishment and initial underground mine development at the Big Missouri deposit.

As noted in the company's news release dated April 4, 2022, the company needed to secure full alternative financing in order to avoid putting certain work packages on hold. Specifically, before the end of June, the construction of the tailings dam and new water treatment plant required full commitment, as these activities are limited to summer construction. The company has been working with a growing number of potential financing partners including project lenders and streaming/royalty companies. These discussions are continuing and the company is confident a financing solution can be achieved in the foreseeable future. Until this financing is secured, and in order to preserve Ascot's current cash balance (as of May 31, 2022, unaudited balance of $72-million), the company will begin decelerating various construction activities and placing certain work packages on hold.

Importantly, the underground mine development work and exploration program will remain on track. The deceleration of project construction will provide more time for mine plan and sequencing optimization and will enable exploration drilling to determine the size extent and high-grade continuity of the emerging Sebakwe zone at the Premier deposit. Given the delays in construction areas which require seasonal conditions, the target for first gold pour will be delayed from the first quarter of 2023 until between late 2023 and early 2024. Ascot will be developing a more detailed construction sequence based on this new timeline and will continue to assess any potential cost implications associated with this delay.

Derek White, president and chief executive officer, commented: "We have made significant advancements in many project areas so far this construction season, especially in the establishment of the S1 portal and initial underground development, with very good rock conditions boding well for underground development rates. In addition, early indications from exploration drilling at the emerging Sebakwe zone, including the occurrence of significant amounts of coarse, visible gold in a number of holes, have so far been very encouraging.

"In the current inflationary environment and challenging financial markets, the company is seeking a financing package to provide sufficient capital to complete the project and commence production at PGP. The company has a limited weather window to conduct certain outdoor construction activities and needs to ensure it has sufficient funding to complete these activities and the rest of the project. Since the company has not completed alternative financing at this time, the decision was made to delay certain construction activities until the next weather window and focus financial resources on mining development and exploration activities.

"We are disappointed to have to slow down the pace of project construction while we actively pursue alternative financing options for the remaining construction work at PGP. We have been approached by many interested parties and have progressed to advanced due diligence with various lenders and streaming/royalty companies. Although more time is required to secure this funding, all potential financiers have expressed their continued interest."

Project development

  • Underground development: Portal construction started in April, 2022, and after mine services such as compressed air, water and ventilation were established, underground ramp development began in May. To date, underground development into the Big Missouri deposit has advanced approximately 115 metres. The rock quality has been good so far, which bodes well for development advance rates. In single-heading underground development, crews have achieved seven days of over 6.0 metres/day and four days of over 7.0 metres/day. Development is now approximately 180 metres from reaching the initial ore stopes at Big Missouri deposit in the A zone. The underground development originally planned for 2022 will continue unabated, as it is a core derisking activity for the project and will enable access to ore areas and further stope definition drilling from underground.
  • Mill interior and exterior construction: Following the installation of the Ball and SAG mills in 2021, the Ball and SAG mill motors have now been installed. The main transformer has been installed and the high voltage power line has been established to the mill building. Most mill building electrical systems and the MCCs have been installed. The Falcon gravity concentrator has been delivered. The mine dry, washrooms, offices and workshop areas have been installed and are being used. Outside the mill building, earth works, foundation and erection work has been done on the tailings thickener and cyanide destruction tanks. Most of the activities in and around the mill building will be placed on hold until alternative financing is arranged, with a plan to restart in the spring of 2023.
  • New water treatment plant: Excavation of the location for the new water treatment plant clarifier was done in 2021. Recently, the foundation pad was prepared and significant progress has been made on the 42-metre clarifier foundation and pedestals. The foundation for the Moving Bed Bio Reactor has also been completed. Work on the new water treatment plant will be placed on hold until alternative financing is arranged, with a plan to restart in the spring of 2023.
  • Tailings facility earthworks: Earthworks have continued on excavating the CCDC the material from which is being transported to the south dam of the tailings facility in order to achieve a 2:1 slope. These earth works activities will be placed on hold until alternative financing is arranged, with a plan to restart in the spring of 2023.

Exploration program

Ascot announced the start of its 18,000-metre exploration drill program past month (see the news release dated May 9, 2022), with drilling commencing on the Sebakwe zone first. An initial 12 holes have been drilled this season from the same surface pad used for the first two holes in October, 2021. Assays are still pending for these 12 new holes, but early visual indications are encouraging for the continued growth of the Sebakwe zone. In particular, drill hole P22-2393 intersected a significant amount of coarse, visible gold (VG) at a depth of 316 metres, which corresponds with the predicted depth of the Sebakwe structure in that location. The targeted quartz-breccia veins were intersected at predicted intervals, and while assays are pending, the structures are now known to be present over a strike extent of 70 metres and a vertical extent of 120 metres.

2022 AGM presentation webcast

Ascot's annual general meeting (AGM) is taking place today at 10 a.m. PST. Please join president and chief executive officer Mr. White for a presentation via webcast at 1:15 p.m. PST for the results of the AGM and an overview of Ascot's progress and plans in 2022. Please join five to 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time.

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

Qualified person

Lawrence Tsang, PGeo, the company's senior geologist, provides the field management for the PGP exploration program. John Kiernan, PEng., chief operating officer of the company, is the company's qualified person (QP) 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 junior exploration and development company focused on restarting the past producing Premier gold mine, located on Nisga'a Nation treaty lands, in British Columbia's prolific Golden Triangle. Ascot shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker AOT. 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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