Mineração Vale Verde (MVV) and Appian Capital Advisory have announced the first blast and implementation update for the Serrote copper-gold project in Brazil.

MVV said that the first blast was achieved on 20 June this year at Serrote and the pre-stripping program has now handled over one million tonnes of material.

The blast is said to be another significant step ahead for the project, following completion of Serrote’s previously announced definitive feasibility study (DFS).

The DFS outlined Serrote as a conventional, low strip open pit operation producing 20ktpa of copper equivalent at second quartile costs over an estimated initial mine life of approximately 14 years.

The company said that procurement is approaching the final stages and the project to expected to be ready for start-up in the second half of next year.

Appian Brazil and MVV CEO Paulo Castellari said: “Construction works are progressing as planned, as we build on the project’s strong fundamentals to develop the asset on schedule and under budget.

“Serrote continues to demonstrate robust economics with potential upside, and we are seeing strong interest from offtake and financing partners, which underlines the progress that MVV and Appian have made in developing and derisking the project, along with the attractiveness of Serrote’s high-grade copper-gold concentrate.”

MVV is targeting to finalise offtake arrangements by end-2020

MVV expects to reach financial close on the Serrote project during the second half of this year.

The company said that it is in advanced discussions regarding the previously announced $160m senior bank project financing facility as well as other non-dilutive funding options.

MVV is targeting to finalise offtake arrangements for Serrote’s copper-gold concentrate by the end of 2020.

Other works targeted for completion by the end of the current year include construction of the TSF spillway and conveyance system tunnel; energisation of the 230kV power system; and completion of the concrete foundation for the grinding area and the primary mill structure.