The Serrote project is an advanced stage greenfield copper-gold developed asset, now entering production in Brazil
Mineração Vale Verde (“MVV”) wholly owns the Serrote Copper-Gold mine in Alagoas, NE Brazil. The deposit was first identified in the 1980s by Vale, a major state-owned mining company, and later advanced by Aura Minerals who obtained key licenses and completed a Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) in 2012.
The asset is a conventional open pit copper-gold-silver mine, with excellent access to existing infrastructure, and potential for expansion and life of mine extension from existing known resources as well as from near-mine resource potential. The project benefits from a large local labor force, easy access to power and water, and nearby ports.
Appian acquired MVV in 2018 from Aura Mineral in a bilateral transaction for US$30m in upfront cash consideration as well as a US$10m vendor loan. Upon closing the transaction, Appian actively worked across all aspect of the operations, including growing the management team from 10 people to ~860 at the completion of construction. Appian completed an updated Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFSU”) that outlined a 14-year mine life producing approximately 20ktpa Cu Eq. This DFSU outlined a significantly rescoped the project when compared to the 2012 DFS. The key changes focused on reducing the plant throughput to 4.1Mtpa from 7.0Mtpa, which resulted in a lower initial capex of US$243m vs. US$420m previously. The mine plan was also reengineered to focus on a higher grade subset of the resources with a lower strip ratio, resulting in a defensive 2nd quartile LoM C1 cost of US$1.11/lb Cu payable net of by-product credits compared to US$1.40 in 2012 DFS.
Appian secured a US$140m Project Financing Facility from a syndicate of 3 leading international banks to fund the asset into production, and on the 31st of May 2021 the mine and processing plant completed construction ahead of schedule and under budget. MVV delivered the project with a leading safety record, successfully executed during challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There remains significant value upside beyond the DFSU plan through mine life extensions and plant throughput expansion opportunities. Appian retains a 35% Gross Smelter Return royalty interest over the gold produced at the Serrote Copper-Gold mine.
Appian is proud of the lasting positive impact its robust ESG policies and program have created for the communities and region. To date these include: MVV’s direct economic contributions which represent 8% of the current combined GDP of Craíbas and Arapiraca, ~70% of MVV employees are hired locally, direct community support for local initiatives benefitting ~800 people including women entrepreneurs, education and training programs for Stem Brazil, Poultry Farming and the Caatinga Guardians program, and centre of environmental education.