First Quarter 2019 highlights:
• Contained metal production of 23.4 million ZnEq 1 lbs, up 9% from Q1 2018
• Grade of 6.7% ZnEq, up 10% from Q1 2018
• Milled throughput of 192,922 tonnes up 3% over Q1 2018 with new access ramp to Esperanza commissioned
• Completion of Esperanza drift provides significant exploration opportunity
TORONTO, April 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ascendant Resources Inc. (TSX: ASND) (OTCQX: ASDRF; FRA: 2D9) ("Ascendant" or the "Company”) is pleased to release first quarter 2019 production results highlighted by operational improvements across the board positioning the Company for a solid operating year ahead.
Contained metal production for the first quarter 2019 was 23.4 million pounds of zinc equivalent (“ZnEq”) metal, comprised of 15.2 million pounds of zinc, 6.0 million pounds of lead and 293 thousand ounces of silver. This represents a 9% improvement in contained metal production over Q1 2018 due to higher lead and silver grades combined with a slight increase in throughput over the previous strong operating quarter.
Milled throughput of 192,922 tonnes also demonstrated improvements over Q1 2018 of 3% and Q4 2018 of 4%, reflecting the benefits of the newly completed production ramp which provides for more direct and efficient access from Esperanza to the underground crusher.
The average head grade of 6.7% ZnEq for the quarter represented an increase of 10% over Q1 2018 as the Company focused throughout 2018 on grade control and mining the average historical reserve grade. While 4% lower than Q4 2018 due to mine sequencing, zinc equivalent grade was above expectations based on the current mine plan.
Zinc processing recoveries of 84.2% in Q1 2019 was 6% lower than those of Q1 2018 due to the continued challenges of treating metallurgically complex ore at Esperanza. This was offset by the higher mill throughput and higher lead and silver head grades, which in turn resulted in a 4% increase in lead and a 1% increase in silver recovery at 79.5% and 79.0% respectively. Zinc recoveries were in line with Q4 2018, while lead and silver recoveries were up 2% and 3% respectively as a result of steps made to improve reagent conditioning for the lead float.
Prior to the first quarter results, the Company had anticipated reduced metal production during the first half of the 2019, with stronger performance in the second half of the year due to higher grades. First quarter results have exceeded expectations and the mine remains well positioned for strong performance in 2019.
President and CEO Chris Buncic stated: “We have had a great start to 2019 at El Mochito in terms of production and grade as the mine delivered higher than planned results. With the benefits of shorter haul distances to Esperanza and higher grades being mined, we are on a solid path to deliver our strongest performance since our acquisition of the mine.” He continued, “The Company remains focused on progressing the expansion project funding for El Mochito, with the goal of commencing construction in the second half of this year.”
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