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Ascendant Resources Achieves Strongest Operational Performance in Q2 2019 Since Its Acquisition of El Mochito

Jul 17 2019

Second Quarter 2019 Highlights:

  • Record contained metal production of 24.6 million ZnEq 1 lbs, up 8% from Q2 2018
  • Average grade of 6.7% ZnEq, up 7% from Q2 2018
  • Record milled throughput of 195.7 k tonnes, up 1.7% over Q2 2018

TORONTO, July 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ascendant Resources Inc. (TSX: ASND) (OTCQX: ASDRF; FRA: 2D9) ("Ascendant" or the "Company”) is pleased to release second quarter 2019 production results highlighted by record throughput and contained metal production since assuming ownership of the El Mochito mine in Honduras. The strong second quarter, which was above Ascendant’s expectations and budget, positions the Company for a solid operating year ahead.

Contained metal production for the second quarter (Q2 2019) was 24.6 million pounds of zinc equivalent (“ZnEq”) metal, comprised of 16.4 million pounds of zinc, 5.9 million pounds of lead and 347.7 thousand ounces of silver. Total contained metal production increased by 8% over Q2 2018 (22.9 Mlbs ZnEq) and 5% over Q1 2019 (23.4 Mlbs ZnEq), due to higher zinc, lead and especially silver grades. Assuming fixed metal prices over the past two and a half years, production on a ZnEq basis has increased consecutively every quarter for all ten quarters of Ascendant’s ownership, a testament to the capabilities of the entire Ascendant team.

Milled production of 195.7 thousand tonnes demonstrated slight improvements over Q2 2018 of 1.7% (192.4 kt) and Q1 2019 of 1.4% (192.9 kt).

The average head grade of 6.7% ZnEq for the quarter represented an increase of 7% over Q2 2018 (6.3% Zn) and was in line with Q1 2019. Milled zinc grades for the quarter were 4.4% zinc, up 4% from both Q2 2018 and Q1 2019. Lead head grades were up 8.9% from Q2 2018 to 1.7% lead but down from the 1.8% lead achieved in the previous quarter. Silver feed grades increased significantly by 40.4% to 67g/t from the 48 g/t achieved in the same period in 2018 and increased 8.4% from Q1 2019 (62 g/t). The increase in silver and lead grades are a direct result of the Company focussing on extraction of various, small high-grade pillars in the upper old part of the mine.

Zinc processing recoveries of 86.4% improved 2.6% during the quarter but were still 3.7% below the 89.7% achieved in the same period last year, mainly due to the complicated metallurgy of the Esperanza ore, which is currently a material portion of the mill feed. This was offset by a 3% higher lead and zinc recovery of 81.5% and 81.9% respectively in Q2 2019. Lead and zinc recoveries for the quarter were also 2% and 4% higher respectively than the previous quarter. The higher lead recoveries are attributable to the higher grades, while silver recovery received a boost after a change in the silver collector reagent dosing strategy in the floatation circuit. It is expected that the higher silver recoveries can be maintained into the future.

The Company had previously 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. Operational performance to date has exceeded those expectations and the mine remains well positioned for stronger performance in the second half of 2019.

President and CEO Chris Buncic stated: “We delivered our strongest operational performance in the second quarter since acquiring the El Mochito mine and the highest throughput ever achieved in a quarter at the mine. Contributing to these results was higher than planned mining throughput as a result of the recently completed Esperanza development tunnel and overall grade improvements, especially in silver grades, which drove an increase in contained metal production.”

He continued, “Overall, our operational performance in the first half of 2019 has exceeded expectations and we remain focused on driving further improvements in 2019. As per our budget, we continue to look forward to much improved grades in the third and fourth quarter which will positively benefit our economics.”

Operational performance for Q2 2019 is provided in the table below (numbers may not match due to rounding):

      2019  2018
    Units Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2
Ore Milled tonnes   195,706 192,922 184,913 191,738 192,428
Average Head Grade Zinc % 4.4 % 4.2% 4.2% 4.5% 4.3%
Lead % 1.7 % 1.8% 1.9% 1.7% 1.5%
Silver g/t 67 62 77 45 48
  Zinc Equivalent grade* % 6.7 % 6.7% 7.0% 6.7% 6.3%
Average Recoveries Zinc % 86.4 84.2% 84.1% 87.8% 89.7%
Lead % 81.5 79.5% 77.6% 78.9% 79.1%
Silver % 81.9 79.0% 76.6% 77.8% 79.4%
Contained Metal Production Zinc 000's lbs 16,444 15,162 14,435 16,579 16,343
Lead 000's lbs 5,916 5,955 6,023 5,552 5,109
Silver ozs 347,784 293,287 347,251 209,622 229,043
Zinc equivalent metal* 000's lbs 24,638 23,370 23,173 23,919 22,926
* Zn equivalent grades calculated in Q2 2019 used average spot metal prices of US$1.25/lb for zinc, US$0.85 for lead, and US$15.33 Ag for silver

Second Quarter 2019 Conference Call

Ascendant plans to release second quarter 2019 financial results after market close on August 7, 2019. A conference call will be held on August 8, 2019, at 10:00am EDT to discuss second quarter 2019 operational and financial results.

Conference Call Details:
Date of Call: Thursday, August 8, 2019
Time of Call: 10:00am EDT
Conference ID: 2681208
Dial-In Numbers:
North American Toll-Free: 1-833-696-8362
International: 1-612-979-9908

Technical Disclosure/Qualified Person

All technical information contained herein has been reviewed and approved by Robert A. Campbell, M.Sc, P.Geo, a director of the Company. Mr. Campbell is a "qualified person" as defined by NI 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).

About Ascendant Resources Inc.

Ascendant is a Toronto-based mining company focused on its 100%-owned producing El Mochito zinc, lead and silver mine in west-central Honduras and its high-grade polymetallic Lagoa Salgada VMS Project located in the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt in Portugal.

After acquiring the El Mochito mine in December 2016, Ascendant spent 2017 and 2018 implementing a rigorous and successful optimization program restoring the historic potential of El Mochito, a mine in production since 1948, to deliver record levels of production with profitability restored. The Company now remains focused on cost reduction and further operational improvements to drive profitability in 2019 and beyond. With a significant land package of approximately 11,000 hectares in Honduras and an abundance of historical data, there are several near-mine and regional targets providing longer term exploration upside which could lead to further Mineral Resource growth.

Ascendant holds an interest in the high-grade polymetallic Lagoa Salgada VMS Project located in the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt in Portugal. The Company is engaged in exploration of the Project with the goal of expanding the already-substantial defined Mineral Resources and testing additional known targets. The Company’s acquisition of its interest in the Lagoa Salgada Project offers a low-cost entry point to a potentially significant exploration and development opportunity. The Company holds an additional option to increase its interest in the Project upon completion of certain milestones.

Ascendant Resources is engaged in the ongoing evaluation of producing and development stage mineral resource opportunities, on an ongoing basis. The Company's common shares are principally listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "ASND". For more information on Ascendant Resources, please visit our website at www.ascendantresources.com.

Neither the Toronto Stock Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information please contact:
Katherine Pryde
Director, Communications & Investor Relations
Tel: 888-723-7413
info@ascendantresources.com

Forward Looking Information
           
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" (collectively, "forward-looking information") within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. All information contained in this news release, other than statements of current and historical fact, is forward-looking information. Often, but not always, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "budget", "guidance", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "strategy", "target", "intends", "objective", "goal", "understands", "anticipates" and "believes" (and variations of these or similar words) and statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "should", "might" "occur" or "be achieved" or "will be taken" (and variations of these or similar expressions). Forward-looking information is also identifiable in statements of currently occurring matters which may continue in the future, such as "providing the Company with", "is currently", "allows/allowing for", "will advance" or "continues to" or other statements that may be stated in the present tense with future implications. All of the forward-looking information in this news release is qualified by this cautionary note.

Forward-looking information in this news release includes, but is not limited to, statements regarding t higher silver recoveries at el Mochito Mine and the Company’s ability to maintain such high recoveries, operational improvements, and the achievement of the 2019 production, cost and capital expenditures guidance. Forward-looking information is not, and cannot be, a guarantee of future results or events. Forward-looking information is based on, among other things, opinions, assumptions, estimates and analyses that, while considered reasonable by Ascendant at the date the forward-looking information is provided, inherently are subject to significant risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other factors that may cause actual results and events to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. The material factors or assumptions that Ascendant identified and were applied by Ascendant in drawing conclusions or making forecasts or projections set out in the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, the ability of the Company to maintain higher silver recoveries at el Mochito Mine and the Company’s ability to maintain such high recoveries, the ability of the Company to drive further operational improvements in 2019 and the ability to achieve the 2019 production, cost and capital expenditures guidance, and other events that may affect Ascendant's ability to develop its project; and no significant and continuing adverse changes in general economic conditions or conditions in the financial markets.

The risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking information may include, but are not limited to, risks generally associated with the mining industry, such as economic factors (including future commodity prices, currency fluctuations, energy prices and general cost escalation), uncertainties related to the development and operation of Ascendant's projects, dependence on key personnel and employee and union relations, risks related to political or social unrest or change, rights and title claims, operational risks and hazards, including unanticipated environmental, industrial and geological events and developments and the inability to insure against all risks, failure of plant, equipment, processes, transportation and other infrastructure to operate as anticipated, compliance with government and environmental regulations, including permitting requirements and anti-bribery legislation, volatile financial markets that may affect Ascendant's ability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms, the failure to obtain required approvals or clearances from government authorities on a timely basis, uncertainties related to the geology, continuity, grade and estimates of mineral reserves and resources, and the potential for variations in grade and recovery rates, uncertain costs of reclamation activities, tax refunds, hedging transactions, as well as the risks discussed in Ascendant's most recent Annual Information Form on file with the Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com.

Should one or more risk, uncertainty, contingency, or other factor materialize, or should any factor or assumption prove incorrect, actual results could vary materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking information. Accordingly, the reader should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Ascendant does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information after the date of this news release or to explain any material difference between subsequent actual events and any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable law.

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1 ZnEq lbs and grades in ZnEq % represent zinc metal considered together with the lead and silver expressed in zinc equivalent terms of zinc using average spot metal prices and monthly production ratios.

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Source: Ascendant Resources Inc.