VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ero Copper Corp. (TSX:ERO) (the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the ongoing development of the Vermelhos copper mine, part of its 99.5% owned Vale de Curaçá Property located in Bahia State, Brazil, including the assay results of 13 holes drilled as part of the Company’s ongoing infill drilling program at Vermelhos. The results are highlighted by holes FVS-163 that intersected 20.0 meters grading 12.21% copper and FVS-159 that intersected 22.0 meters grading 9.60% copper that rank among the top-five intercepts, on a grade-meter basis, drilled at the mine to date.
MINE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
The Company continues to make excellent progress in the development of the Vermelhos mine. Through October 2017, approximately 1,167 meters of underground development has been completed, comprising 635 meters of primary ramp development, 102 meters of auxiliary ramp development accessing the UG1 Target and 430 meters of secondary development. Since primary ramp development commenced at the beginning of May 2017, the average development rate has been approximately 105 meters per month, well ahead of the development rate envisioned in the NI 43-101 Technical Report of 75 meters per month.
The auxiliary ramp development accessing the UG1 Target has been temporarily suspended as a result of the development encountering unexpected massive sulphide copper mineralization. A drill rig (one of the 3 currently focused on the infill program) is being moved to the area to further evaluate the extent and direction of the newly encountered mineralization prior to restarting development. The Company does not believe that the temporary delay in the auxiliary ramp development will impact the production start up, currently scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018.
The construction of Phase 1 surface infrastructure is now 100% complete and Phase 2 is progressing on schedule. Long-lead time equipment orders required for first production have been placed with the respective vendors and deliveries are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018. The construction of the 28 kilometer power line to provide electricity to the mine is now complete and is being tied into the mine’s electrical infrastructure. The haul road to deliver ore from Vermelhos to the Caraíba Mill is expected to begin construction in the first quarter of 2018.
2017 INFILL DRILL PROGRAM RESULTS
The infill drill program, comprising 3 core drill rigs, is focused on completing the required drilling for final, detailed mine planning purposes. The results of the program, to date, continue to demonstrate the high-grade nature of the Vermelhos Mineral Resource. In total, the 2017 infill program is expected to encompass 30 holes totalling approximately 7,500 meters of drilling. The results of 13 holes drilled to date from 3 drill collar locations are shown in the table below (see attached map for drill collar locations):
|Hole ID||From (m)||To (m)||Length (m)||Cu (%)|
The drill holes were drilled from surface. The length of intercept may not represent the true width of mineralization. Values may not add up due to rounding. From, to and mineralized intercepts are rounded to the nearest tenth of a meter. NSI: no significant intercept. Listed holes include infill program with available assay results. Holes not included are either pending assay results or are not part of the Vermelhos infill program.
Currently 4 drill rigs are operating at Vermelhos. As discussed above, 3 core drill rigs are focused on completing the infill drilling program, and a reverse circulation (RC) rig is targeting near-surface copper oxide mineralization. Once the infill program has been completed, drilling will focus on further delineating mineralization previously identified at the UG1 and UG2 target areas (see attached map) along with newly identified target areas to the west and north of the current NI 43-101 Mineral Resources.
The Vermelhos copper mine, is located approximately 80 kilometers north of the Pilar underground mine and Caraíba Mill. The current NI 43-101 compliant Proven and Probable Mineral Reserve estimate for Vermelhos is 2.4 million tonnes grading 4.15% copper, while the current NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource estimate, inclusive of Mineral Reserves, contains Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of 2.5 million tonnes grading 4.78% copper and an Inferred Mineral Resource of 2.2 million tonnes grading 1.52% copper. Additional technical information related to the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource estimates can be found in the Vale do Curaçá Technical Report, dated September 7, 2017.
ABOUT ERO COPPER CORP
Ero Copper Corp, 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 99.5% interest in the Brazilian copper mining company, Mineração Caraíba S.A. (“MCSA”), 100% owner of the Vale do Curaçá Property with over 37 years of operating history in the region. The Company currently mines copper ore from the Pilar underground and the Surubim open pit mines. In addition to the Vale do Curaçá Property, MCSA owns 100% of the Boa Esperanҫa development project, an IOCG-type copper project located in Pará, Brazil. Additional information on the Company and its operations, including Technical Reports on both the Vale do Curaçá and Boa Esperanҫa properties, can be found on the Company’s website (www.erocopper.com) and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).
Rubens Mendonça, MAusIMM, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this news release. Mr. Mendonça is a Qualified Person and is independent of Ero Copper Corp. as defined by NI 43-101.