Mineração Vale Verde Ltda and Appian Capital Advisory have finalised construction of the Serrote copper-gold mine and processing plant in Alagoas, Brazil, ahead of schedule and under budget.
Construction was concluded safely, while managing the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the companies reported.
The focus is now on the transition to steady-state operations and the ramp-up over the second half of 2021, with operational readiness workstreams, employee training programs and risk management workshops well advanced, MVV said. MVV’s first shipment of concentrate is targeted for November 2021.
This follows the announcement in February that MVV had secured a $140 million project finance debt facility, the largest independent greenfield mining project finance transaction announced since the beginning of 2020 and the onset of COVID-19, according to the company.
MVV will produce a high grade bornite-chalcopyrite copper concentrate, with gold and silver by-product credits. The company expects the high-grade nature of the concentrate to yield a premium in the market, while lowering the downstream transport costs and carbon footprint compared with typical copper concentrates.
Serrote will produce an average of approximately 22,000 t/y of copper equivalent over an initial 14-year mine life from a low-strip, open-pit mine supplying a 4.1 Mt/y processing plant. This initial life of mine will exploit a mineral reserve of 52.7 Mt grading 0.6% Cu and 0.1 g/t Au.
MVV says it is working towards unlocking substantial value upside through definition of an expansion plan into the larger 108.9 Mt measured and indicated resource at Serrote, as well as developing plans to generate value through the known oxide resource and nearby satellite deposits which are currently being drilled and expanded.
Paulo Castellari, CEO MVV & Appian Brazil, said: “Concluding construction in line with schedule and below budget once again demonstrates the success of Appian’s business model, and I am particularly proud of our leading safety record and ability to exceed expectations despite the pandemic.
“In Serrote we have a high-quality asset with low production costs, a long mine-life and significant upside from potential further expansion. Copper remains an incredibly attractive commodity and MVV is ideally placed to benefit from the growing global focus on electrification and decarbonisation.”