Aya Gold & Silver has closed a $100m project financing facility to fund the construction of the Zgounder Silver Mine expansion project in Morocco.

The facility comprises a $92m loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and an $8m tranche by the Climate Investment Funds through its Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

Aya Gold & Silver president and CEO Benoit La Salle said: “This project financing, along with the recently completed and very successful equity offering, corroborates our positive view on Morocco and provides Aya financial flexibility as we continue with the Zgounder Silver Mine expansion.

“For this, we would like to thank our funding partners, who have worked diligently to close this facility, and we look forward to delivering value for all stakeholders and achieving the operational and ESG milestones set out by this partnership.”

Located 260km east of Agadir, within the Proterozoic Siroua Massif of the Anti-Atlas range, the Zgounder underground mine is owned by a joint venture between Aya (85%) and state-owned enterprise the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) (15%).

The Zgounder is considered Morrocco’s second most important silver mine after the Imiter mine.

According to the 2022 feasibility study for an expanded mine operation, the mine’s throughput can be increased to 2,700tpd from 700tpd by constructing a 2,000tpd flotation-CIP plant to produce silver ingots.

This expansion project is planned to be completed in 2024.

In 2021, Aya Gold & Silver secured seven new exploration permits within its properties in the Zgounder Regional and Azegour areas in Morocco.