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Aya Gold & Silver Announces Fixed Price EPC Contract for Construction of Zgounder Process Plant of USD $78 Million

Montreal, Quebec, December 1, 2022 - Aya Gold & Silver Inc. (TSX: AYA, OTCQX: AYASF) (“Aya” or the “Corporation”) is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Zgounder Millennium Silver Mining SA, has entered into a fixed price Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract (the "EPC Contract") with Duro Felguera S.A. ("DF") for construction of the new Zgounder process plant in the Kingdom of Morocco. The price is fixed based on the USD Dollar "USD", Euro "Euro" and Moroccan Dirham "MAD".

The Corporation is also pleased to announce it has awarded contracts for the construction of its ball mill and crushing equipment package, which are in line with the expansion development timeline.

EPC Contract Highlights

  • A multicurrency fixed price EPC Contract of  USD $78 million1 for the construction of a new 2,000 tonne per day ("tpd") processing plant. This will bring the total milling capacity of the Zgounder Mine to 2,700 tpd.

  • DF has been involved in engineering and procurement of the plant since March 2022. Detailed engineering has been advancing through a limited notice to proceed totaling over USD $6.6 million to date.

  • Fabrication orders have been placed for long-lead items including the ball mill, crushing equipment, Merrill-Crowe, silver refinery, and counter-current decantation thickeners.

  • The EPC Contract represents a significant portion of the total scope of the expansion project. It does not include capital expenditures such as the development of the underground and surface mine infrastructure, the powerline and site electrical distribution, the new tailings facility, and owner's costs.

  • Processing plant earthwork and civil work are excluded from the EPC Contract. Earthworks began on schedule in August 2022, led by the in-house construction team.

Figure 1 – Zgounder Expansion Timeline (CNW Group/Aya Gold & Silver Inc)

Figure 1 – Zgounder Expansion Timeline (CNW Group/Aya Gold & Silver Inc)

Figure 2 – Earthworks for Platform of New Zgounder Processing Plant (CNW Group/Aya Gold & Silver Inc)

Figure 2 – Earthworks for Platform of New Zgounder Processing Plant (CNW Group/Aya Gold & Silver Inc)

"We are delighted to announce two long-lead milestones including the EPC contract and the ball mill purchase order, both of which are critical to delivering the first silver pour by end of Q1-2024. We are also very proud of our partnership with DF, a long-established construction and engineering firm with deep expertise in turnkey mining projects," said Benoit La Salle, President & CEO. "During its over 160 years of mining experience, Spain-based DF has provided customised solutions for mining projects globally. With a fixed price EPC Contract in place, we are mitigating cost overrun risks for the expansion which is proceeding on time and on budget."

"Overall, we are delighted with the team's progress to date de-risking the project, both through project procurement and by starting the earthworks with our in-house construction team and local contractors," said Benoit La Salle.

Zgounder Expansion Update Highlights

As of September 30, 2022, the Zgounder Silver Mine expansion was on schedule (see Figure 1) and on budget with the following critical milestones achieved:

  • Quotations for 21 mechanical equipment packages, including all critical path long-lead items, have been received from a pre-approved list of vendors.

  • The Corporation launched a competitive tender process in Q2-2022 for the supply and delivery of critical packages. The following items have already been awarded:

    • A 3.3 megawatt ball mill, where fabrication began this quarter with a target delivery in Q3-2023 and cold commissioning in Q4-2023.

    • The entire crushing equipment package, including the primary and secondary crushers, the feeders, and the secondary screen. Fabrication began this quarter for expected delivery in Q2-2023.

    • The pre-leach and counter current decantation thickeners.

    • The silver precipitation circuit (Merrill Crowe), retort oven and induction smelting furnace.

  • Timely commencement of earthworks:

    • Bulk earthworks for the new process plant and haulage road began on schedule in August 2022 using a well-established Moroccan earthworks contractor (see Figure 2). The Corporation's aim is to complete additional camp upgrades to meet peak construction occupancy by year-end in order to facilitate the start of process plant erection in 2023.

  • Over 2,266 meters of permanent underground infrastructure completed as at September 30th 2022.

  • Detailed design for the first phase of the new tailings storage facility has been completed, a competitive request for quotation process for its construction has concluded and contract award will be awarded by year-end.

  • Freshwater storage – development of additional fresh water storage facilities to ensure sufficient water storage capacity prior to commissioning of the new process plant.

Qualified Person

The technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Patrick Perez, P.Eng, Director of Technical Services, a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101.

About Aya Gold & Silver Inc.

Aya Gold & Silver Inc. is a rapidly growing, Canada-based silver producer with operations in the Kingdom of Morocco.