Montreal-based Aya Gold & Silver has temporarily suspended its Zgounder silver mine in Morocco following an accident that left an employee dead.
Aya declined to disclose more details of the incident, saying only that the employee worked for a contractor and that the employee was working underground. The company is working with the contractor and Moroccan authorities to determine why the accident happened, Aya executive Benoit La Salle said. The mine has been suspended for 24 hours to allow the investigation to be concluded.
The Zgounder mine has been in operation since January 2019, and currently produces 700 tonnes per day. The mine produced 726,319 ounces of silver in 2020, with 2021 production guidance of 1.2 million ounces. The mine is a joint venture between Aya and the Moroccan government, with Aya holding 85% interest.
There is a feasibility study underway to expand to 2,700 tonnes per day. Mineral resource estimates are planned for the first quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2021. The Zgounder silver mine is the second most significant silver mine in Morocco after Managem’s Imiter silver mine. It is the flagship high-grade silver asset of Aya Gold & Silver, which was formerly known as Maya Gold & Silver.
After being placed under care and maintenance since 1990 due to low silver prices, the Zgounder mine produced first silver in 2014. Aya is focused on developing the project to achieve full production.