It has signed with the government a definitive mining concession contract for Lagoa Salgada, which is held 15% by a state-owned company.
The initial mining concession contract term is for 20 years, with two 15-year extensions.
Under phase one, Ascendant has six years to present a definitive feasibility study and gain environmental approval, and under phase two start mining within nine years of signing.
The company said it would start infill drilling immediately to begin a feasibility study early in 2022.
Ascendant can earn 80% of the polymetallic project, which it believes will be "the next world class mine in the Iberian Pyrite Belt".
It sold its operating mine in Honduras last year to focus on Lagoa Salgada, which it described as a "substantial standalone project" when it released a preliminary economic assessment in January 2020 based on the North Zone.
A PEA this year on both the North and South Zone deposits put initial capex at US$312.2 million, post-tax PNV8 at $246.7 million and IRR at 55%, on a 100% basis.
Ascendant raised C$3.16 million last week in an upsized placement at 24c per unit to advance Lagoa Salgada and for working capital and general corporate purposes.
Its shares (TSX: ASND) rose from less than 10c a year ago to 34c in June.
They closed unchanged at 25.5c yesterday, valuing it at $28 million (US$22.5 million).