Canada-based mining company Ascendant Resources has unveiled the results of its initial Feasibility Study (FS) for its Venda Nova deposit at Lagoa Salgada VMS project in Portugal.

The FS was completed by engineering and consulting company Quadrante based on an updated Mineral Reserves and Resources Estimate.

Spanish independent consulting firm IGAN INGENIERÍA has carried out the mine planning, design and engineering for the Venda Nova deposit.

The Venda Nova project at Lagoa Salgada shows strong economics with a post-tax NPV of $147m at an 8% discount rate and an IRR of 39% for a payback period of two years.

The project economics are based on the current Proven and Probable Reserves only for a mine life of 14.5 years and does not factor in the upgrading of additional resources or potential future exploration success.

With the FS completed, Ascendant is eligible to earn-in up to 80% ownership in the project, subject to closing documentation with all other conditions having previously been met.

Ascendant executive chairman Mark Brennan said: “We are very pleased to have completed this initial feasibility study for the Venda Nova deposit at Lagoa Salgada.

“It is the first comprehensive study covering all aspects of the operations required for the commercialisation of the project.

“It will also serve to secure our 80% interest in what is proving to be a robust project, even at this very early stage in its development.

“Lagoa Salgada remains a discovery project with significant upside potential expected as we optimise these results and as we continue to expand the resource base.”

The Lagoa Salgada Project is located within the north-western section of the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt (IBP) in Portugal, around 80km southeast of Lisbon, with access to national highways.

With a single exploration permit covering 7,209ha, the project represents a high-grade, polymetallic zinc-lead-copper development and exploration opportunity.

The estimated Proven and Probable Reserves total 14.6 million metric tons (Mt), with 7.0Mt in the North Zone having an NSR of 84.1 $/t, and 7.6Mt in the South Zone.

The reserve estimates to support an initial mine life of more than 14 years, based on a throughput rate of 1.2Mtpa through the plant as outlined in the FS.

The reserves were defined using an NSR calculation based on current metallurgical recoveries, payability, treatment charges and mining methods, said the Canadian mining company.

Brennan added: “We believe the results of the FS demonstrate a solid, economically robust project for what has always been the initial development phase for the larger potential we see for the Lagoa Salgada property.

“Given the nature of VMS deposits to occur in clusters on the Iberian Pyrite Belt, we see evidence of potential for several more deposits to be defined in the coming years to enhance the overall value proposition at Lagoa.

“Furthermore, we expect these results to support our current financing discussions and construction decision in the coming months.”