Ero Copper’s Tucumã project set for production in early Q3

Aerial view of completed pre-strip and commencement of mining operations. Credit: Ero Copper

Ero Copper’s (TSX: ERO, NYSE: ERO) Tucumã project in Pará, Brazil, is on track for production next month after the company obtained its operational licence, the last remaining permitting milestone for commercial production.

Physical completion of the mine is at approximately 99%, with commissioning well advanced and over 90% of the operational staff hired and trained, Ero Copper said in a press release on Wednesday. The total direct capital cost estimate for the project remains unchanged at approximately $310 million.

Chief executive officer David Strang calls the mine’s imminent commissioning “a major inflection point” for the company and its stakeholders for the years to come.

Ero currently produces copper from its flagship Caraíba operations in Bahia state. The mine complex formerly known as MCSA consists of fully integrated mining operations and processing facilities, including the Pilar and Vermelhos underground mines and the Surubim open pit mine.

In 2023, Caraíba produced 43,857 tonnes of copper in concentrate, and is expected to output 42,000 to 47,000 tonnes this year.

Once commissioned, the Tucumã open-pit mine would add a further 7,000 to 25,000 tonnes to the 2024 output, then rising to between 53,000 and 58,000 tonnes in 2025, its first full year of production.

Shares in Ero Copper were up 2.4% at C$28.53 by 11:10 a.m. ET on the milestone. The Vancouver-based miner has a market capitalization of C$2.94 billion ($2.15bn).