Tag Archives: Brazil

MVV, Appian hit construction milestone at Serrote copper-gold mine

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.”

Fortescue Future Industries plots path for 300 MW green hydrogen plant in Brazil

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group, and Porto do Açu Operações SA (Port of Açu), a subsidiary of Prumo Logistica SA, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to assess the opportunity to develop hydrogen-based green industrial projects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Signed in late February, the MoU will allow for FFI and Port of Açu to conduct development studies into the feasibility of installing a green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, Latin America’s largest privately owned deep-water port-industrial complex, FFI said.

Subject to the outcome of the studies, the project envisages construction of a 300 MW capacity green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, with potential to produce 250,000 t/y of green ammonia.

The availability of green hydrogen and renewable power is expected to drive further sustainable industrialisation of the port, including production of green steel, fertilisers, chemicals, fuels and other sustainably manufactured industrial products, according to FFI. Anglo American already uses the port for exporting its iron ore from Minas-Rio.

The MoU also lays the groundwork for on-site solar power development projects, as well as off-shore wind development projects in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI is assessing renewable energy and green hydrogen opportunities globally and will lead and drive the green energy and product industry as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“I am excited to announce this MoU with Port of Açu. The opportunity to establish totally new and future large-scale industries will drive growth in the Brazilian economy. We expect the potential for new green industries at Port of Açu to substantially diversify, broaden and deepen Brazil’s already skilled workforce.”

Jose Firmo, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Açu, said: “The Port of Açu is sailing steadfastly ahead toward the sustainable economy of the future. One of the pillars of our vision for the port’s industrialisation are today’s operational energy transition projects and the renewable energy-fuelled green industries of tomorrow.

“Açu is a gateway between the growing Brazilian economy and rapidly expanding low carbon businesses around the globe.”

Firmo added: “This will be the first green hydrogen plant in the country and will place FFI and Açu at the forefront of clean energy production and the green industrialisation of Brazil.”

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by FFI with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue, the company said.

Amarillo Gold to receive first Metso Outotec modular FIT Crushing Station

Amarillo Gold Corp is to become the first company to install Metso Outotec’s modular FIT™ Crushing Station at its Posse gold project in Goiás State, central Brazil.

The new crushing and screening solution was introduced by Metso to the markets in 2020, and Amarillo Gold will be the first site where it will be installed, the mining OEM said. The solution has been designed to bring significant savings of resources and time to mining operations.

“Amarillo Gold has a strong social licence to operate in the Mara Rosa property where the Posse gold project is located,” Arão Portugal, Country Manager at Amarillo Gold, said. “Our aim is to build a modern, sustainable mining operation, and Metso Outotec’s FIT Station fulfills our ambitious targets for the process.”

The FIT Station to be delivered to Posse has a design capacity of 540 t/h of run of mine with an average production of 102,000 oz/y of gold (years 1 to 4). The station consists of crushers, vibrating feeders and screens, as well as conveyors and related structures and other equipment.

Amarillo Gold is advancing two gold projects in Brazil. The Posse gold project, which has resources of around 1.2 Moz of contained gold, is in the company’s Mara Rosa property in Goiás state. The project will operate an open-pit mine and carbon-in-leach operation with dry stack tailings.

Guillaume Lambert, Vice President, Crushing at Metso Outotec, said: “We are very proud to have the honour to work with Amarillo Gold. They are a frontrunner aiming to select the best technology for their project. Metso Outotec’s sustainable FIT crushing stations are a good fit with this objective, as they are designed for capital expenditure reduction and shorter lead times, with ease of installation and maintenance.”

WEG slip ring motors to drive milling operations at Vale Verde copper mine

WEG says it has supplied two M Mining slip ring motors to mining company Mineração Vale Verde to drive the main mill of a 4 Mt/y plant at its Serrote copper operation in Alagoas, Brazil.

The M Mining slip ring motors come with a power output of 5,400 kW and rated voltage of 13,800 V. They will be fitted to the FLSmidth-supplied plant

The WEG M Mining slip ring motor has a new automatic brush lifting system, which differentiates the WEG product from other motors on the market.

The motors were specially developed with electromechanical characteristics that provide durability, resistance and robustness, being able to operate in harsh environments like mine and cement sites.

In addition to the above advantages, M Mining line motors, with an automatic brush lifting system, incorporate operating logic, resources for fault investigation, monitoring of operation via HMI and prevention of improper manoeuvres, simplifying and reducing maintenance costs, motor installation, operation and maintenance, WEG says.

Vale Verde will be provided with technical assistance and WEG aftersales support, the company added.

Mineração Vale Verde said in early February that Serrote remained on track for first production in the second half of 2021. An August 2019 definitive feasibility study outlined a project able to produce around 20,000 t/y of copper-equivalent over an initial 14-year mine life from a low-strip, open pit mine supplying this 4.1 Mt/y processing plant.

Giga Metals taps Minerva’s AI prospect generator software for Brazil exploration

Minerva Intelligence says its Cognitive artificial intelligence-powered prospect generation software, TARGET, has helped Giga Metals identify and evaluate new prospective exploration targets at the Parnaiba Basin project in Nordeste, Brazil.

Giga, after validating the results produced by Minerva’s TARGET software, made the decision to acquire exploration permits covering significant new regional sediment-hosted copper anomalies along the southern perimeter of the Parnaíba Sedimentary Basin in southern Piauí State, Northeast Region, Brazil, it said.

This amounted to the staking of 24 exploration permits totalling 40,722 ha in four properties along 80 km of strike length in an area with known “Kupferschiefer-style” sediment-hosted copper mineralisation.

Scott Tillman, CEO of Minerva Intelligence, said: “The commercial validation of our TARGET software is yet another indication of the power of Minerva’s Cognitive AI-powered software.

“The successful deployment of our TARGET software highlights the value we are able to provide to companies that are managing large datasets and seeking to incorporate an artificial intelligence element into the decision-making process. Our success with Giga in Brazil, in conjunction with our recent success in Mexico, points to even greater success in the future in delivering results for mining and exploration companies around the world.”

Using Minerva’s TARGET software, Giga was able to sift through, organise and evaluate large datasets that were subsequently used to analyse the validity of the prospective exploration region, Minerva explained. TARGET’s mapping technology was able to determine, based on existing comprehensive datasets, that the project in Brazil had a high likelihood of success and, as a result, Giga should pursue investment in the region.

The final result of the analysis was a list of AI-produced target areas throughout Brazil that are completely auditable and explainable, and, most importantly, actionable by Giga, Minerva said.

Giga Metals CEO, Mark Jarvis, said: “TARGET enabled us to work our way through an immense volume of regional geological data to focus on areas prospective for the deposit types of interest to us. This is a type of regional survey that was previously possible only for a major mining company with a large team of geologists. It is exciting to experience at first-hand how artificial intelligence is now making this type of survey accessible to smaller companies.”

Jake McGregor, Minerva’s COO, added: “In 2019, Minerva was contracted by Giga to build a set of prospectivity maps for the country of Brazil. In this capacity, the company compiled various datasets from across the country, both from public and private sources, and significant work was undertaken by Minerva to standardise and translate the data from Portuguese to English, and then into the standard terminologies that we use in our mineral deposit models. It is extremely rewarding to see our clients getting value out of that hard work.”

Amarillo Gold powers up Posse gold development with Enel Brasil deal

Amarillo Gold Corp says it has made a significant step toward building its Posse gold mine in Brazil, signing a commitment agreement with Enel Brasil, the state electric power utility, to build a dedicated power line to the company’s Mara Rosa Property in the State of Goiás.

Arão Portugal, Amarillo’s Country Manager for Brazil, said: “Once complete, this power line will be a much-needed lasting legacy, enhancing the power grid infrastructure of the communities in and around Mara Rosa. It also represents our commitment to operational excellence and building strong local infrastructure.”

The 67-km-long 138 kV power line will connect Posse with the Porangatu substation and supply all of the electricity needed for the project. Amarillo is overseeing the engineering and permitting process, assisted by Enel. Construction can start once the permit for the power line is received. It will cost about BRL36 million ($6.6 million) to build and is expected to take around 12 months.

A definitive positive feasibility study released in June showed that Posse is expected to produce gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $656/oz, based on a gold price of $1,730/oz and a foreign exchange rate of 5.3 BRL to one US dollar. It came with an initial mine life of 10 years, initial gold production of 104,000 oz/y, and an after-tax net present value (5% discount) of $360 million.

Mike Mutchler, Amarillo’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the power line progress: “We have achieved another important milestone in Posse’s development, even as we wait for the License to Install (LI) from the state regulators.”

The governor of the State of Goiás signalled work was progressing on finalising LIs for 14 mining projects in Goiás during a meeting announcing mining investment in the state on January 25.

Meanwhile, LQ Consulting and Management Inc has been hired as Amarillo’s project management team for Posse, and has begun work on a project execution plan that will help management re-evaluate the construction timeline.

Yamana Gold evaluates Jacobina backfill plant, underground mine at Canadian Malartic

Yamana Gold says it is evaluating the installation of a backfill plant at its Jacobina gold mine in Brazil (pictured) in a move that would reduce the asset’s environmental footprint, as well as extend the life of the operation’s existing tailings storage facility.

The backfill plant would allow up to 2,000 t/d of tailings to be deposited in underground voids, Yamana said in its 2021-2023 guidance and 10-year overview release.

The miner said the construction and operation of a backfill plant would also improve mining recoveries at the operation, resulting in increased conversion of mineral resources to mineral reserves.

Jacobina produced 44,165 oz of gold during the December quarter and an all-time high of 177,830 oz for 2020, the company reported in a separate release.

This was the seventh consecutive year of increasing production at the operation, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years, Yamana said.

“Successful infill and exploration drilling in the Canavieiras and João Belo sectors during 2020 continues to generate significant growth potential,” the company added.

Production in 2021 is forecast to be in a similar range to the 177,830 oz recorded in 2020, Yamana said.

“The operation exceeded the targeted throughput rate of 6,500 t/d for the Phase 1 expansion, and it continues to identify and implement additional processing plant optimisations to further increase throughput, improve recoveries and reduce costs,” the company said. “Beyond further optimisations, the feasibility study for Jacobina’s Phase 2 expansion plans to increase throughput to 8,500 t/d and raise annual production to 230,000 oz remains on track for mid-2021.”

Yamana’s base case in its 10-year overview also included production from an underground mine at the Canadian Malartic operation in Quebec, Canada. This consists of the East Gouldie, Odyssey, and East Malartic zones, (collectively known as the Odyssey project).

Owned 50:50 by Yamana and Agnico Eagle, the Canadian Malartic open-pit mine exceeded its revised 2020 guidance, producing 568,000 oz of gold (on a 100% basis). Production last year was impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions on mining in Quebec and is forecast to increase in 2021 to 700,000 oz, with all-in sustaining costs projected to decline to $850-$885/oz, from $945/oz in 2020.

The Canadian Malartic open pit will be depleted in the first half of 2023, and waste rock and tailings will be deposited into the pit beginning in 2023, Yamana says.

This coincides with planned first production from the Odyssey South zone at the underground project, with the Upper East Gouldie zone expected to come online in 2027.

The most recent underground mineral resource for the project, which was published in February 2020, showed more than 10 Moz of gold (100% basis), including 9.6 Moz ounces of inferred mineral resources (100% basis) and 830,000 oz of indicated mineral resources (100% basis).

“In the interim, exploration results have been exceptional, improving economics and increasing confidence that the underground project will be a multi-hundred-thousand-ounce annual producer for decades,” Yamana said.

Key development milestones for the underground project over the next three years include the development of a ramp into the Odyssey, East Malartic, and East Gouldie zones, which will allow for tighter definition drilling to further expand the mineral resource base, along with headframe construction and shaft sinking, Yamana said.

A preliminary economic assessment for the project is expected to be completed in February.

Jervois Mining looks to POX leaching to boost SMP nickel-cobalt refinery recoveries

Jervois Mining says it plans to integrate a pressure oxidation leach (POX) circuit into the São Miguel Paulista nickel-cobalt refinery in Brazil.

Jervois paid the first tranche towards its acquisition of SMP refinery in December after announcing plans to acquire the refinery in September 2020. The acquisition aims to complement its 100%-owned Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the US, transforming Jervois into a vertically integrated producer capable of refining cobalt and nickel.

The company appointed Australia-based Elemental Engineering to commence sysCAD modelling of the SMP refinery flowsheet for optimisation of product integration, including hydroxides and carbonate products, oxides and sulphide concentrates as part of a feasibility study (FS) for SMP’s restart.

As a result of Elemental’s work, Jervois has determined it shall integrate a POX leach circuit at the refinery.

“The inclusion of the POX autoclave offers a number of advantages compared to roasting concentrates, namely high metal recovery, low overall operating costs, enhanced ESG metrics due to lower emissions and energy usage, improved refined product purity and compact installation footprint on site,” the company said. “Preliminary POX sighter testwork at SGS Perth Western Australia, in conjunction with Elemental’s work, returned satisfactory results.”

While POX comes with a higher capital expense than roasting alternatives, it is a commercially demonstrated technology with low technical risk, allowing Jervois to leverage its recently appointed commercial team, Jervois said. A POX autoclave better compliments the refinery flowsheet, unlocks sunk capital by debottlenecking the existing leach capacity and adds significant flexibility to future refinery feed options, it added.

Jervois will process sulphide concentrate produced from ICO via this integrated POX leach circuit, with Jervois’ commercial team actively pursuing supply contracts for nickel and cobalt intermediate products. The introduction of a POX autoclave opens up greater capacity to leach other hydroxide and carbonate feed products to maximise existing refinery capacity, the company said.

Third-party concentrates can also be potentially introduced into the POX to process with Jervois’s ICO concentrates. Early discussions with potential third-party suppliers of sulphide-based concentrates have been positive, with the company now openly engaging with suppliers to optimise the sizing and economics of front-end pre-treatment.

As part of this, a decision has been made to reserve the maximum amount of copper capacity at SMP refinery for third parties. A consequence is that ICO construction is being advanced on the basis of the production of separated cobalt and copper concentrates. Jervois’s engineering advisers, DRA Global and M3 Engineering, completed the ICO BFS on both bulk and separated concentrate flowsheets, with construction plans being implemented based on the production of cobalt concentrate (containing gold and low in copper) and a copper concentrate. Commercial terms were obtained for both separated products as part of the BFS.

Jervois says it and Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), the current owner of the SMP refinery, continue to work expeditiously towards closing Jervois’ acquisition of SMP.

Jervois plans a measured and staged approach to the refinery facility restart. Initial refurbishment works will be completed to progress the processing of intermediate hydroxide and carbonate products followed by the integration of the POX leach circuit to align with ICO commissioning, it said.

Jervois is in discussions with suitably qualified engineering contractors that have the appropriate nickel and cobalt refining experience, have a significant presence in Brazil, and have recently completed a POX and metals plant installation, to award the BFS for the refinery restart. This formal tender process is underway.

Vale given the go ahead to start Capanema iron ore construction

Vale says it has received the required licences to start construction of the Capanema iron ore project in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The project involves the development of the Capanema mine, acquisiion of new equipment, implementation of a long-distance 2.4 km conveyor belt (TCLD, pictured) and adjustments in the Timbopeba stockyards. This is expected to amount to multi-year investments of $495 million.

With the start-up expected for the second half of 2023, the project will have a production capacity by natural moisture (without tailings generation) of 18 Mt/y and, in the first years, will bring a net addition of 14 Mt/y of capacity to Vale with the “expedition” through the Timbopeba site, Vale said.

The start of the construction works of Capanema marks another important step in productive capacity buffers creation, ensuring greater operational flexibility with low capital intensity, Vale said.

Vale has previously identified that Capanema could be one of its new operations to use “dry processing” techniques.

ERG’s BAMIN iron ore project kicks into gear

Eurasian Resources Group says it is continuing to advance its BAMIN integrated iron ore mining and logistics project in Brazil with the planned commercial start-up this month of its Pedra de Ferro mine in Bahia.

Pedra de Ferro has an initial capacity of 2 Mt/y of high-grade iron ore with 65% Fe content, but, in full production, will be able to produce 18 Mt/y of ore.

At the same time as this, plans for the implementation of Porto Sul, a deep-water port complex that is part of BAMIN, also continue to advance.

Carried out by the State of Bahia and BAMIN, the initial works at the port (pictured) focus on the construction of the requisite infrastructure and access to the site. This phase of the work will generate 400 direct jobs and another 1,200 indirect jobs, according to ERG.

Overall, the BAMIN project is expected to see Bahia become the country’s third largest iron ore producer.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, said: “The start of operations at Pedra de Ferro is a fundamental step towards the full implementation of the project. Porto Sul, in addition to its strategic importance, will strengthen the local economy and support the growth of other sectors. While implementing the BAMIN project, we also aim to positively contribute to the economic and social recovery and help mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.”