Mineração Vale Verde Ltda. (“MVV” or the “Company”) and Appian Capital Advisory LLP (“Appian”) are pleased to announce the successful ramp up during 2022 of the Serrote copper-gold mine and processing plant (“Serrote” or the “Mine”) located in Alagoas, Brazil. Serrote is now operating at full production capacity. This follows completion of construction ahead of schedule and under budget in 2021.
- Industry-leading ESG and safety record, with zero (0) Lost Time Injuries as at 31st December 2022 for the prior 12 months with 1.9 million cumulative hours worked
- MVV completed the ramp-up of operations in the fourth quarter with:
- Mining tracking ahead of plan with 3.0Mt of total material moved in Q4
- Processing plant reached 105% of designed capacity over Q4 at 4.3Mtpa annualized for the period
- Copper recoveries achieving 82.8% over Q4
- Full year 2022 production was recorded 19.8kt of copper and 9-10koz of gold contained in 84.5kdmt of concentrate
Paulo Castellari, CEO of Appian Capital Brazil commented:
“2022 was a transformational year for Mineração Vale Verde. Having completed construction within schedule and below budget we successfully ramped up to deliver a strong operational and financial performance. Exceeding nameplate capacity while maintaining a leading safety record was a significant achievement, which reflects both the quality of the asset and the success of the Appian model. Having brought Serrote into production under budget and ahead of schedule I’m incredibly excited about the asset’s potential, which is set to unlock considerable value for our investors.”
MVV has delivered Serrote with an industry-leading safety record, with zero (0) Lost Time Injuries (“LTI”) in 1.9 million cumulative hours worked during 2022. Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (“LTIFR”) averaged 0.84 during the year, and declined to zero (0) as no incident classified as LTIFR was observed during the past 12 months by December 2022. The Mine’s Recordable Incident Rate (“TRIR”) was 0.54 in 2022.
The Company provided ~20,000 hours of safety, health, and environmental training in 2022 (1.1% of total man-hours). The average safety score from sub-contractor assessments was above target, showing good compliance and commitment to industry best practices. MVV held ~2,000 Visible Felt Leadership engagements in 2022, a significant increase of 77% from 2021 (1,125 VFL as of year-end 2021) supporting the continuous improvement efforts towards safety standards.
MVV delivered a strong operational performance in 2022, driven by its expert team and continuous business improvements strategy. Serrote and MVV have a unique competitive advantage given the Mine’s low strip ratio, and access to infrastructure which enable a sustainable low-cost operations.
- 4.0Mt of ore mined alongside 7.1Mt of waste, reflecting an average strip ratio of 1.75x
- 3.5Mt of ore processed with an average feed grade of 0.73% Cu
- Full-year average recoveries of 77.4% Cu and 56.0% Au, with 82.7% Cu and 59.6% Au in Q4
- C1 cost performance of US$1.85/lb Cu net of by-product credits (8.42%) under budget:
- Mining costs of US$0.48/lb payable Cu
- Processing costs of US$0.78/lb payable Cu
- Site general and administrative costs of US$0.25/lb payable Cu
- Corporate general and administrative costs of US$0.12/lb payable Cu
- Off-site operating expenses (by-product credits, sales, smelter charges) of US$0.21/lb payable Cu
- All-in sustaining cost performance of US$2.22/lb Cu, net of by-product credits is also driven by:
- Royalties of US$0.12/lb payable Cu
- Sustaining capital expenditure of US$0.26/lb payable Cu
Appian incorporates Environmental, Social and Governance standards into all its investment decisions and portfolio companies. MVV has maintained the highest ESG standards across the industry throughout its first year of operations:
Education: MVV works directly with STEM Brasil, which is created by Educando, and aims to prepare and provide high quality support to natural sciences and mathematics teachers who currently teach in public schools in Brazil. STEM has been rolled out to 5 schools in the Municipality of Craíbas with 96 trained teachers, and more than 1,300 students impacted by the programme. Every teacher now has lifetime access to the online education community of STEM for future training and development resources.
Social projects: The women entrepreneurs group held 10 courses to support women’s businesses including the creation of the first store of the Local Women’s Entrepreneurship Project, located in Craíbas city, selling local products. Additional training in social media creation as well as technical and professional support to market products and increase sales was provided. A Poultry Framing Project was created to enable the increase of local family income, as well as development of these communities with a focus on technical assistance and training to qualify all participants and unify good production practices. Monthly egg production is now at 18,000 from 21 poultry houses built.
Environmental: Environmental sustainability is a core element of Appian’s strategy, with MVV delivering Serrote according to high conservation and preservation standards in line with IFC Performance Standards. MVV runs the Environmental Education Center (“EEC”) to offset the environmental impact at Serrote, which promotes the study of the biome by the public throughout the region, and enables the collection of seeds to produce native seedling. The EEC produces more than 40 species of the Caatinga biome and has planted more than 40,000 specimens of native species in communities and urban areas, in addition to thousands of seedlings produced and planted in the Serrote project area. In our continuous efforts to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gases, Serrote has designed a system to reuse 90% of water used in processing at site, and estimated that the mine will have a first quartile GHG emissions profile compared to other copper mines. The mine is powered through a long-term power contract with a guaranteed >90% renewable energy.
A drilling campaign of 10,000 meters was commissioned in 2022 focused on confirming the substantial value upside available through a potential expansion into the larger 108.9Mt Measured and Indicated Resource at Serrote.
Preliminary economical assessment of processing Caboclo resources in Serrote facilities indicated positive results and a 14Mt life of the mine extension is expected through the addition of Caboclo-Rogério satellite deposits. Further exploration can further extend this opportunity, as the deposits remain open. Updated technical reports are underway to confirm Mineração Vale Verde’s growth to maintain the operations sustainability well above the initial 14 year life of mine.
During 2022, the Company made 8 shipments of concentrate to its offtake partners, one above budget. This resulted in revenue of US$155m with average realized commodity prices of US$3.71/lb CuEq. EBITDA and capital expenditure for the period were US$60m.
Following strong copper prices, MVV initiated a hedging program to secure forward pricing of US$4.17/lb a portion of the payable copper produced through the next 12 months to January 2024.
The strong financial performance resulted in a notable cash generation and US$24.5m of the project financing principal and interest repayments in 2022. The successful ramp-up will enable the commencement of completion tests to be finalised in early 2023.
A strong 2023 is expected now that commercial operations have been completed. Production guidance of 23.5-25.0 kt Cu and 9koz Au, at a C1 cash cost of US$1.50-1.60/lb C1 net of by-products. Delivery of the technical reports for the expanded Reserve is also targeted by the end of 2023.
 The industry average LTIFR was 1.53 in 2020, as reported by Global Data
For further information:
FGS Global +44 (0)20 7251 3801 / [email protected]
Charles O’Brien, Richard Crowley, Theo Davies-Lewis
Appian Capital Advisory +44 (0)20 7004 0951 / [email protected]
Michael W. Scherb
About Mineração Vale Verde Ltda.
MVV is the owner and operator of Serrote, an advanced stage, de-risked greenfield open-pit copper-gold asset, located in Alagoas, Brazil. The Company is headquartered in Belo Horizonte, with a high-quality management team with extensive local and international experience operating at site.
Following Appian’s acquisition of the asset in mid-2018, an updated DFS was completed in 2021 outlining a 14-year initial mine life with production of approximately 20 thousand tonnes of copper equivalent per annum in a premium, high grade concentrate. Serrote is expected to be well positioned in the lower second quartile of the copper cost curve on a total cash cost basis.
MVV is pursuing several expansion opportunities beyond the initial mine life, with significant defined mineralization outside of the current mine plan as well as numerous satellite resources and targets within trucking distance of the planned plant infrastructure. Less than 50% of the 112Mt global MI&I resource is currently contained within the mine plan, with active drilling and growth plans underway to increase mineable inventory.
About Appian Capital Advisory LLP
Appian Capital Advisory LLP is the investment advisor to long-term value focused private equity funds that invest solely in mining and mining related companies.
Appian is a leading investment advisor in the metals and mining industry, with global experience across South America, North America, Australia and Africa and a successful track record of supporting companies to achieve their development targets, with a global operating portfolio overseeing 6,000 employees.
Appian has a global team of 60 experienced professionals with offices in London, Toronto, Lima, Belo Horizonte, Montreal and Perth.
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