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iCrowdNewswire Nov 24, 2020 1:44 PM ET

Ero Copper announces updated mineral resource and reserve estimate outlining a high-grade and low-cost six-year mine life at the NX Gold Mine


Ero Copper announces updated mineral resource and reserve estimate outlining a high-grade and low-cost six-year mine life at the NX Gold Mine

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 24, 2020

Ero Copper Corp. is pleased to announce its 2020 updated National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) compliant mineral reserve and resource estimate along with updated life of mine (“LOM”) production, capital and operating cost projections for its 97.6% owned NX Gold Mine, located in Mato Grosso State, Brazil. The update incorporates the results of ongoing exploration efforts undertaken on the Santo Antonio Vein which was discovered in early 2019 and brought into operation in Q4 of 2019 by the Company. Highlights of the update include:

Commenting on the NX Gold update, David Strang, President & CEO stated, The positive results and significant extension of mine life at our NX Gold operations as outlined in our 2020 LOM update reflect the culmination of a multi-year commitment to organically grow our NX Gold operations. This effort began in mid-2018 with the first real exploration program conducted at the property since 2012In a very short period of time, NX Gold has grown from a mine with no reserves in front of it (as outlined in our 2018 Technical Report) to a low-cost, highly profitable six-year operation featuring an actionable road-map to further grow production and extend mine-life through conversion of our newly defined high-grade Inferred mineral resource.

Our strong belief in the long-term future of NX Gold is best supported by our most recent quarterly exploration results that highlighted the best drill holes drilled to date, all located at the down-plunge limit of known mineralization within the Santo Antonio veina strong leading indicator of additional potential to depth. We believe that with continued exploration success, NX Gold has the ability to not only sustain production at these levels well into the future, but ultimately significantly increase production volumes from the mine, thereby utilizing more of the plant’s excess capacity. As outlined in our recently revised guidance for 2020, during the fourth quarter and into next year, we are fully committed to this growth effort as evidenced through the installation of a modular paste-fill plant and additional allocation to exploration at the mine. We expect to ramp up drilling efforts to encompass eight drill rigs by yearend operating on both near-mine and regional programs throughout the extensive land package controlled by NX Gold.

The emergence of NX Gold over these past few years is a real credit to our operating and exploration teams at the mine and the shared vision throughout our organization of what the NX Gold operations can be. For the first time in our Company’s history, we feel we have a LOM plan that is beginning to showcase NX Gold’s potential.

*C1 cash costs per ounce of gold produced and AISC are non-IFRS measures, as more particularly discussed under the “Technical and Scientific Information” section of this press release.

The updated NX Gold mineral reserve and resource estimate is shown in the following table:

Classification Tonnage
(000 tonnes)
Grade
(gpt Au)
Au Contained
(000 ounces)
Probable Mineral Reserve      
Santo Antonio Vein 862.1 8.83 244.7
Brás Vein
Buracão Vein
Total Probable Reserve 862.1 8.83 244.7
       
Indicated Mineral Resource (inclusive of Reserves)
Santo Antonio Vein 763.3 10.97 269.2
Brás Vein 6.9 3.36 0.7
Buracão Vein
Total Indicated Resource 770.2 10.90 269.9
       
Inferred Mineral Resource      
Santo Antonio Vein 267.8 13.08 112.6
Matinha Vein 149.0 12.15 58.2
Brás Vein 149.3 4.81 23.1
Buracão Vein 7.7 2.77 0.7
Total Inferred Resource 573.8 10.55 194.6

Mineral Reserve & Resource Notes:

1. Mineral Resource effective date of August 31, 2020.
2. Mineral Reserve effective date of September 30, 2020.
3. Presented Indicated mineral resources inclusive of mineral reserves. Indicated mineral resource totals are undiluted. All figures have been rounded to the relative accuracy of the estimates. Summed amounts may not add due to rounding.
4. Grade-shell 3D models using 1.20 gram per tonne (“gpt”) gold were used to generate a 3D mineralization model of the NX Gold Mine. Mineral resources were estimated using ordinary kriging within 2.5 meter by 2.5 meter by 0.5 meter block size. Mineral resource were constrained using a minimum stope dimension of 1.25 meters by 1.25 meters by 1.50 meters and a cut-off of 1.90 gpt based on gold price of US$1,900 per ounce of gold and total underground mining and processing costs of US$115.14 per tonne of ore mined and processed. The mineral resource estimates were prepared in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (“CIM”) Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, adopted by the CIM Council on May 10, 2014 (the “CIM Standards”), and the CIM Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice Guidelines, adopted by CIM Council on November 23, 2003 (the ‘CIM Guidelines”), using geostatistical and/or classical methods, plus economic and mining parameters appropriate to the deposit.
5. Mineral reserve estimates were prepared in accordance with the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines, using geostatistical and/or classical methods, plus economic and mining parameters appropriate for the deposit. Mineral reserves are based on a long-term gold price of US$1,650 per ounce (“oz”), and a USD:BRL foreign exchange rate of 5.00. Mineral reserves are the economic portion of the Indicated mineral resources. Mineral reserve estimates include operational dilution of 17.4% plus planned dilution of approximately 8.5% within each stope for room-and-pillar mining areas and operational dilution of 3.2% plus planned dilution of 21.2% for cut-and-fill mining areas. Assumes mining recovery of 92.5% and 94.7% for room-and-pillar and cut-and-fill areas, respectively. Practical mining shapes (wireframes) were designed using geological wireframes / mineral resource block models as a guide.

Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

UPDATED LOM PRODUCTION PLAN

The Company’s updated LOM production plan, prepared in conjunction with the updated mineral reserve estimate, outlines a six-year LOM with total production of approximately 226,600 ounces and average annual production of approximately 41,400 ounces of gold over the first four years. In total, approximately 860,000 tonnes of ore are projected to be mined and processed grading an average of approximately 8.80 grams per tonne of gold.

  Q4 2020* 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Ore Mined & Processed 46.5 167.0 179.4 170.9 139.4 80.6 78.4
(000 tonnes)
Au Grade (gpt) 7.61 7.21 8.34 9.13 9.61 9.87 11.61
Recovery (%) 92.1% 92.1% 92.1% 92.0% 92.0% 92.0% 92.0%
Gold Production (oz) 10,458 35,647 44,291 46,121 39,631 23,550 26,901
Silver Production (oz) 5,980 20,370 25,309 26,355 22,646 13,457 15,372

(*) 2020 production outlines the mineral reserve schedule for the three months from the effective date of September 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020. All figures have been rounded to the relative accuracy of the estimates. Summed amounts may not add due to rounding.

UPDATED LOM OPERATING & CAPITAL COSTS

The updated production plan has resulted in changes to the forecast operating and capital cost estimates. The tables below show the operating and capital costs for the updated LOM production schedule, and further reconciles C1 Cash Costs and AISC as outlined by the Company.

  Q4 2020[1] 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Tonnes Processed (000s) 46.5 167.0 179.4 170.9 139.4 80.6 78.4
Exchange Rate (USD:BRL) 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00
Gold Price (US$/oz) 1,750 1,750 1,750 1,750 1,750 1,750 1,750
Silver Price (US$/oz) 18.00 18.00 18.00 18.00 18.00 18.00 18.00
               
Operating Cost Detail (R$ 000s)              
Mining Costs (incl. Development) 20,982 88,365 93,448 65,702 60,909 36,084 39,012
Processing Costs 7,618 35,352 36,064 35,308 32,537 19,255 20,787
Operational Support 5,113 19,640 17,333 17,333 17,333 10,400 11,440
Sub Total (R$ 000s) 33,714 143,357 146,845 118,343 110,778 65,739 71,238
less: Silver Credit (538) (1,833) (2,278) (2,372) (2,038) (1,211) (1,383)
less: Capitalized Development (9,531) (36,964) (19,822) (1,705) (418)
less: Operator Bonus Provision (775) (6,154) (6,154) (6,154) (6,154) (6,154) (6,154)
Total, C1 Basis (R$ 000s) 22,870 98,405 118,591 108,111 102,167 58,373 63,700
C1 Cast Cost (R$ per oz) $2,187 $2,761 $2,678 $2,344 $2,578 $2,479 $2,368
C1 Cash Cost (US$ per oz) $437 $552 $536 $469 $516 $496 $474
add: G&A (incl. Bonus Provision) 4,398 20,023 20,023 20,023 20,023 14,476 15,308
add: Sustaining Capital (incl. Development)[2] 12,201 43,543 32,109 5,652 3,257 2,484
add: CFEM Royalty (1.5%) 1,381 4,706 5,847 6,089 5,232 3,109 3,552
add: Transport & Insurance 20 72 72 72 72 72 72
Total, AISC Basis (R$ 000s) $40,870 $166,750 $176,643 $139,947 $130,752 $78,514 $82,632
AISC (R$ per oz) $3,908 $4,678 $3,988 $3,034 $3,299 $3,334 $3,072
AISC (US$ per oz) $782 $936 $798 $607 $660 $667 $614

C1 Cash Cost / AISC Notes:

1. 2020 operating costs are presented for the three months of the mineral reserve schedule from the effective date of September 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
2. Sustaining Capital (including Development) as further detailed in the “Capital Expenditures” table of this press release.
3. C1 cash costs per ounce of gold produced and AISC are non-IFRS measures, as more particularly discussed under the “Technical and Scientific Information” section of this press release.
4. Operating Costs presented in thousands, Brazilian real (“BRL”)

  Q4 2020[1] 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Capital Expenditures (R$ 000s)              
Development 9,531 36,964 19,822 1,705 418
Equipment 750 5,415 5,783 788
Ventilation & Safety Equipment 950 514 260 300 250 230
Environment 419 650 280 240 350 180
Other, Sustaining 552 0 5,964 2,618 2,239 2,074
Sustaining Capital, Sub-Total 12,201 43,543 32,109 5,652 3,257 2,484
               
Infrastructure 7,886 5,608 2,470 640 230 68
Other, Non-Sustaining (incl. Growth) 3,923 21,121 2,456 4,898 2,915 827
Exploration / Drilling 12,000
Reclamation & Closure Costs 24,939
Non-Sustaining Capital, Sub-Total 23,809 26,729 4,926 5,538 3,145 895 24,939
               
Total Capital Costs (R$ 000s) 36,010 70,272 37,035 11,189 6,402 3,379 24,939

Capital Expenditure Notes:

1. 2020 capital expenditure presented for the three months of the mineral reserve schedule from the effective date of September 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
2. Amounts shown do not include discretionary greenfield or brownfield exploration in years 2021 through 2026.
3. Capital expenditures presented in thousands, Brazilian real (“BRL”)

TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

Mineral Resources

Block model tonnage and grade estimates for the NX Gold Mine were classified according to the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines by Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez of GE21 Consultoria Mineral Ltda. (“GE21”) who is an independent qualified person as such term is defined under NI 43-101.

Grade shells using a value of 1.20 gpt gold were used to generate a 3D mineralization model of the NX Gold Mine. Within the grade shells, mineral resources were estimated using ordinary kriging within 2.5 meter by 2.5 meter by 0.5 meter block size, and the mineral resource estimate was constrained using a minimum stope dimension of 1.25 meters by 1.25 meters by 1.50 meters and a cut-off of 1.90 gpt based on gold price of US$1,900 per ounce of gold, underground mining and processing costs of US$115.14 per tonne of ore mined and processed. Indicated mineral resources are presented undiluted and are shown inclusive of mineral reserves.

Mineral resource effective date of August 31, 2020.

Mineral Reserves

The mineral reserves for the NX Gold Mine are derived from the Indicated mineral resource as defined within the resource block model following the application of economic and other modifying factors further described below. Inferred mineral resources, where unavoidably mined within a defined mining shape have been assigned zero grade. Dilution occurring from Indicated resource blocks were assigned grade based upon the current mineral resource grade of the blocks included in the dilution envelope. Mineral reserves were classified according to the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines by Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez of GE21, an independent qualified person as such term is defined under NI 43-101.

Mineral reserve cut-off grades and parameters applied to the mineral reserve estimate are summarized below:

Mineral reserve cost assumptions are based on actual operating cost data during the eight-month period from January 1, 2020 to August 30, 2020, expressed in USD per tonne run-of-mine (“ROM”), converted at a USD:BRL foreign exchange rate of 5.00 corresponding to the average foreign exchange rate during this same period.

A summary of the mineral reserve estimate parameters is provided below:

  Mining Costs (US$/tonne ROM) $76.52  
   
  Processing Costs (US$/tonne ROM) $38.62  
   
  G&A Costs (US$/tonne ROM) $18.10  
   
  Indirect Costs (US$/tonne ROM) $22.07  
   
  Metallurgical Recovery (average) 91.00%  
   
  Gold Price (US$/oz) $1,650  
   
  Foreign Exchange Rate (USD:BRL) 5.00  

Other modifying factors considered in the determination of the mineral reserve estimate include:

Mineral reserve effective date of September 30, 2020.

Non-IFRS Measures

The Company utilizes certain non-IFRS measures, including C1 cash cost of gold produced, which are not measures recognized under IFRS. The Company believes that these measures, together with measures determined in accordance with IFRS, provide investors with an improved ability to evaluate the underlying performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS, and therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

C1 cash cost of gold produced (per ounce) is the sum of production costs, net of capital expenditure development costs and silver by-product credits, divided by the gold ounces produced. By-product credits are calculated based on actual precious metal sales during the period divided by the total ounces of gold produced during the period. C1 cash cost of gold produced per ounce is a non-IFRS measure used by the Company to manage and evaluate operating performance of the Company’s operating mining unit and is widely reported in the mining industry as benchmarks for performance but does not have a standardized meaning and is disclosed in addition to IFRS measures.

AISC of gold produced (per ounce) is the sum of production costs including capital expenditure development costs, sustaining capital costs, on-site general and administrative costs, royalties, transport and insurance contract costs, net of silver by-product credits, divided by the gold ounces produced. By-product credits are calculated based on actual precious metal sales during the period divided by the total ounces of gold produced during the period. C1 cash cost of gold produced per ounce is a non-IFRS measure used by the Company to manage and evaluate operating performance of the Company’s operating mining unit and is widely reported in the mining industry as benchmarks for performance but does not have a standardized meaning and is disclosed in addition to IFRS measure

QUALITY ASSURANCE / QUALITY CONTROL

Database QA/QC Validation

In order to validate the current mineral resource estimate, GE21 selected a series of quality assurance, quality control (“QA/QC”) samples, including blanks, duplicate and standard control samples from those performed by NX Gold. The set of samples was taken from the current mineral resource estimate zone as well as adjacent areas. In the opinion of GE21, blank, standard and duplicate sample analysis was found to be within the acceptance limits for the classification of mineral resources. No sample or database biases were detected. This work was supplemented by drill hole database validation performed using the Geovia Surpac software database tool which looks to validate final depth, overlapping results and drill hole collar information. No inconsistencies or errors were found in the drill database review.

QA/QC Program

Drill core is logged, photographed and split in half using a diamond core saw at NX Gold’s secure core logging and storage facilities. Half of the drill core is retained on site and the other half-core is used for analysis, with samples collected on a minimum of 0.2 meters and a maximum of 2.0 meters with an average length of 0.5 meters. Sampling commences at least 1.0 meter before the start of the mineralized zone and continues at least 1.0 meters beyond the limit of the mineralized zone. All sample preparation is performed in NX Gold’s secure on-site laboratory. Gold content is determined using fire assay. All sample results used in the preparation of the 2020 updated mineral resource and reserve estimate have been monitored through a QA/QC program that includes the insertion of certified standards, blanks, and pulp and reject duplicate samples at a rate of one standard, one blank, and one duplicate pulp sample per every 20 samples for a blended rate of approximately 5%.

Qualified Persons and the NI 43-101 Technical Report

Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez, MAIG, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this press release. Mr. Rodriguez is independent of the Company and is a “qualified person” within the meanings of National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).

The Company will file the associated NI 43-101 compliant report on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and on the Company’s website (www.erocopper.com) within 45 days of this press release, which will serve as an update to the technical report entitled “Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimate of the NX Gold Mine, Nova Xavantina”, dated February 3, 2020 with an effective date of September 30, 2019, prepared by Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodrigues, MAIG, Leonardo de Moraes Soares, MAIG, and Paulo Roberto Bergmann, FAusIMM, each of GE21 and a “qualified person” and “independent” of the Company within the meanings of NI 43-101 (the “2019 Technical Report”). The preceding technical report entitled “Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimate of the NX Gold Mine, Nova Xavantina” prepared by Porfírio Cabaleiro Rodriguez, MAIG, Leonardo Apparicio da Silva, MAIG and Leonardo de Moraes Soares, MAIG all of GE21, who are independent qualified persons under NI 43-101, where applicable, is referenced herein as the “2018 Technical Report”.

ABOUT ERO COPPER CORP.

Ero, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., is focused on copper production growth from the Vale do Curaçá Property, located in Bahia, Brazil. The Company’s primary asset is a 99.6% interest in the Brazilian copper mining company, Mineração Caraíba S.A. (“MCSA”), 100% owner of the Vale do Curaçá Property with over 40 years of operating history in the region. The Company currently mines copper ore from the Pilar and Vermelhos underground mines. In addition to the Vale do Curaçá Property, MCSA owns 100% of the Boa Esperança development project, an IOCG-type copper project located in Pará, Brazil and the Company owns 97.6% of the NX Gold Mine, an operating gold and silver mine located in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Additional information on the Company and its operations, including technical reports on the Vale do Curaçá, Boa Esperança and NX Gold properties, can be found on the Company’s website (www.erocopper.com) and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

ERO COPPER CORP.

 
Signed: David Strang For further information contact:
David Strang, President & CEO Makko DeFilippo, Vice President, Corporate Development
  (604) 429-9244
  info@erocopper.com

Contact Information:

David Strang, President & CEO








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