Without new financing in place for the Premier gold project, Vancouver-based Ascot Resources on Thursday announced that it was slowing the pace of construction activities and that the first gold pour could potentially only be achieved in 2024.
The update lopped 20% off the share price of Ascot, which initially had planned for first gold pour late this year. However, the project has faced several setbacks, from weather-related disruptions to having to reorder certain key components when a cargo ship importing the goods lost its cargo at sea.
In April, Sprott Resource Lending pulled its financing, after the parties could not agree on drawdown conditions for the remaining C$60-million of an C$80-million facility, leaving Ascot scurrying for alternative funding.
President and CEO Derek White reported that Ascot had been approached by many interested parties and that it had progressed to advanced due diligence with various lenders and streamlining/royalty companies.
“Although more time is required to secure this funding, all potential financiers have expressed their continued interest,” he said.
White explained, however, that the company had a limited weather window to conduct certain outdoor construction activities. Before the end of June, the construction of the tailings dam and new water treatment plant required full commitment as these activities were limited to summer construction.
“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.”
Ascot stated that the underground mine development work and exploration programme would remain on track. The deceleration of project construction would provide more time for mine plan and sequencing optimisation, and would 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.