Tag Archives: Paulo Castellari

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.”

Atlantic Nickel’s Santa Rita nickel project on the rebound

Atlantic Nickel and Appian Capital Advisory say the first sale of nickel concentrate from the Santa Rita nickel sulphide re-start project, in Brazil, has been made, some six months after blasting activities recommenced.

Since blasting restarted in July, Atlantic Nickel has safely achieved several operational milestones on or ahead of schedule, it said. Refurbishment of the plant is complete, and the ramp-up of commissioning activities has resulted in early production of nickel concentrate. The company has produced over 11,000 t to date and is set to deliver its first shipment in January of 2020.

Santa Rita is an open-pit nickel-copper-cobalt sulphide operation located in Bahia, Brazil. It is a fully permitted, restart-ready, past-producing nickel mine benefitting from $1 billion of prior investment from previous owners such as Mirabela Nickel. The mine, which was placed on care and maintenance in 2015 by Mirabela, has an estimated production capacity of 6.5 Mt/y.

On the back of strong commercial interest, Atlantic Nickel and Appian have looked to establish relationships with a diverse set of offtake partners and, in line with this strategy, Atlantic Nickel has entered into a three-year offtake contract for a portion of Santa Rita’s production and a $40.8 million financing arrangement with Trafigura.

The company said: “The deal provides the remaining funding required for the restart of the project and establishes a strong relationship with a best-in-class global commodities trading firm.”

Following the announcement of recent drilling results, an updated open-pit reserve statement is planned for completion in the March quarter and the company expects to undertake further drilling in 2020 to continue to grow and define the long life underground resource potential. Production is expected to reach nominal annualised capacity in 2020.

Paulo Castellari, CEO Atlantic Nickel & Appian Brazil, said: “Today’s announcement further de-risks the project and I remain confident in Santa Rita’s prospects as a low-cost, long-life mine that is well positioned to benefit from the growth in electric vehicles to generate strong investor returns.”

Atlantic Nickel, the 100% owner of Santa Rita, was acquired by Appian in 2018.