New Brazil copper mine gearing up to start production

8th March 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Construction of the Tucumã mine, in Brazil, is nearing completion and dual-listed Ero Copper is now gearing up for production to begin in the second half of this year.

The $310-million new mine will produce an average of 27 000 t/y at a cash cost of $1.36/lb over its initial 12-year mine life.

“2023 was a cornerstone year in advancing our growth strategy,” said Ero Copper CEO David Strang on Thursday, highlighting the investments that the company had made at its Xavantina and Caraíba operations, in Brazil.

“However, the most significant transformation in our consolidated production profile and cash flows is projected to begin in the second half of this year when production is scheduled to commence at the Tucumã project.

“With physical completion at over 90% and capital expenditures on the project starting to wind down, we are approaching an exciting inflection point when we expect to see these investments begin to yield strong shareholder returns,” he said.

To date, the Tucumã project has recorded no lost-time injuries, with more than three-million hours of work completed since 2022.

At Caraíba, Ero Copper has advanced its Pillar 3.0 initiative, which aims to transform the Pilar mine into a two-mine system capable of sustaining yearly ore production levels of about three-million tonnes.

The new shaft-sinking phase for the Pillar mine’s new external shaft started in December.

The mill expansion, which will increase throughput capacity from 3.2-million to 4.2-million tonnes a year, was completed in December and reached design capacity by year-end.

The Xavantina operations' NX60 initiative was successfully completed in 2023. As a result, the company achieved record gold production for the year and expects to sustain yearly gold production levels of 55 000 oz to 60 000 oz moving forward.