Ero Copper Corp. (TSX: ERO) is pleased to provide a quarterly update on the ongoing exploration drill programs at its Pilar, Vermelhos and Surubim mineral districts, all part of its 99.6% owned Vale do Curaçá Property located in Bahia State, Brazil. Significant exploration results are highlighted below:
These high-grade results are part of a group of 7 holes drilled within 100 meters of surface, that when combined with analysis following the discovery of the Vermelhos East Zone, including the results of the 11 holes outlined in this press release, confirm the Vermelhos East Zone is not a discrete zone, but rather a semi-continuous mineralized structure extending from the Vermelhos Mine (UG1 mining area) in a north-northeast direction to the Vermelhos West deposit – a combined strike length of approximately 1.1 kilometers. To date, the Vermelhos East Zone has been delineated from surface to a depth of approximately 400 meters and remains open along strike and to depth. Further drill testing to determine continuity of the high-grade portions of the Vermelhos East Zone is a top priority of the Company’s ongoing exploration efforts in the Vermelhos District.
These results reflect significant increases in previously modeled thicknesses of the main Vermelhos orebodies in the immediate areas surrounding these new intercepts. In addition, the results are the product of the Company’s systematic, ongoing, borehole electromagnetic (“EM”) program that is identifying EM targets within and adjacent to the main Vermelhos deposit with positive results. The Company intends to expand the use of the borehole EM to its other operations and regional exploration program to compliment the results from its recently completed airborne geophysical survey.
This update encompasses exploration drill results received for the Company’s exploration programs from August through to the end of November 2018. Expansions and extensions as referenced herein reflect mineralization not captured in the Company’s mineral resource and mineral reserve models used in the recently announced National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) compliant mineral resource and reserve update (as further detailed in the Company’s press release dated September 5, 2018). Currently, 19 drill rigs are operating on the property.
The Vermelhos District is located approximately 80 kilometers to the north of the Pilar Mine and Caraíba Mill complex and includes the newly constructed high-grade Vermelhos Mine. Drilling is focused on expansion and new discovery initiatives (including the Vermelhos East Zone) within and immediately adjacent to the Vermelhos Mine. Five drill rigs are currently operating within the District.
Vermelhos East Zone Extension
The Vermelhos East Zone discovery (see press release dated September 25, 2018 for announcement of the Vermelhos East Zone discovery) is located approximately 100 meters to the east of mineralization comprising the main Vermelhos orebodies and lies on the eastern side of an intrusive body. The zone of mineralization, to date, has been delineated from surface copper oxide mineralization to an interpreted depth of approximately 400 meters below surface. Recent drill results, combined with data compilation work performed subsequent to the initial discovery, supports a new interpretation of the Vermelhos East Zone as a semi-continuous mineralized trend extending from the UG1 mining area of the Vermelhos Mine to the Vermelhos West deposit – a combined strike length of approximately 1.1 kilometers. The interpretation is based on the compilation of 250 drill hole intercepts (including oxide drilling performed by the Company and historical drilling incorporated into the current mineral resource estimate of the Vermelhos West deposit). Additional test work is underway to further delineate the continuity of recently identified high-grade mineralization within the overall mineralized trend.
During the period, results from 11 drill holes were received that highlight extensions of the Vermelhos East Zone, as shown in the following table. Please see Figures 1 and 2 for collar locations and Figure 3 for a north-south long section highlighting the 1.1 kilometer mineralized trend of the Vermelhos East Zone.
|Hole ID||From (m)||To (m)||Length (m)||Cu (%)|
Drill holes were drilled from surface. Holes not included are either pending assay results, have been included in a different section of this press release for clarity of discussing drill results or were previously included in a prior press release. 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. (*) indicates drill holes with near-surface copper intercepts containing oxide mineralization.
Vermelhos Main Orebody Expansions
Exploration drilling within the main Vermelhos orebodies continues to target expansions and extensions of the mineral resource, with a focus during the period on drilling several EM anomalies identified during the Company’s systematic and ongoing bore hole EM program. Drilling during the period continued to expand and extend the mineral resource and mineral reserve models of the Vermelhos Mine as defined in the current NI 43-101 Technical Report.
Expansions within the Sombrero orebody of the Vermelhos Mine are highlighted by hole FVS-256 that intersected 35.1 meters grading 2.70% copper including 12.3 meters grading 6.30% copper and 8.2 meters grading 1.96% copper, hole FVS-257 that intersected 38.2 meters grading 7.29% copper including 23.1 meters grading 11.16% copper and 10.1 meters grading 4.59% copper including 2.0 meters grading 18.07% copper. The mineralized thicknesses of these intercepts are significant as they represent an approximate 40% increase in the modeled thicknesses of the orebody in the immediate areas surrounding these holes within the current mineral resource and reserve estimate.
Additionally, expansions of the Toboggan orebody of the Vermelhos Mine are highlighted by hole FVS-328 that intersected 38.2 meters grading 6.79% copper including 19.4 meters grading 8.38% copper and hole FVS-331 that intersected 31.5 meters grading 8.72% copper and 8.5 meters grading 5.48% copper. The mineralized thicknesses of these intercepts are significant as they represent an approximate 80% increase in the modeled thicknesses of the orebody in the immediate areas surrounding these holes contained within the current mineral resource and reserve estimate.
During the period, results from 11 drill holes were received that highlight expansions of the main Vermelhos orebodies, as shown in the following table. Please see Figure 1 for drill collar locations.
|Hole ID||From (m)||To (m)||Length (m)||Cu (%)|
NSI indicates no significant intercept, based on cut-off grade of 0.68% copper. Drill holes were drilled from surface. Holes not included are either pending assay results, have been included in a different section of this press release for clarity of discussing drill results or were previously included in a prior press release. 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.
The main orebodies remain open to the north, south and to depth and one of the five drill rigs operating at Vermelhos will continue to evaluate their extensions. The remaining four drill rigs will continue to test the continuity of the Vermelhos East Zone over its 1.1 kilometer strike length.
Vermelhos Mine – Nickel and Palladium
Test work is underway to quantify the significance of recent occurrences of high-grade nickel and palladium within the main Vermelhos orebodies at depth and their relationship to the known copper mineral resources. While, to date, average nickel grades in the orebodies, based on approximately 1,300 drill core samples, are approximately 0.25% nickel, with a maximum assay result of 5.09% nickel, recent grab samples taken from a development heading containing massive pentlandite measuring approximately 1 meter by 1 meter at level +285 of the Sombrero orebody returned assay values up to 21.7% nickel. While these grab samples are not representative and should not be relied upon, the discovery of high grade, massive pentlandite within the deposit is an unexpected positive development.
Additionally, over 500 samples of core have been recently analyzed for platinum group metal content. The results were anomalous for palladium with an average assay result of 0.19 grams per tonne palladium, and a maximum of 1.19 grams per tonne palladium. There is a strong observed relationship between high-grade copper mineralization and palladium content based on the samples analyzed to date.
In the New Year, a portion of the ongoing drill program at Vermelhos will focus on drilling deeper holes below the Vermelhos main orebodies to test targets at depth and allow the Company to conduct deeper downhole EM surveys to further evaluate the potential for additional copper, nickel and PGM mineralization at Vermelhos.
The Pilar District encompasses the area surrounding the Pilar underground mine, Caraíba Mill complex and the past producing open pit Pilar and R22 Mines. Ten drill rigs are currently operating within the District.
During the period, expansion and extensional drilling continued to focus on the West Limb and Deepening Extension zone. Three underground and one surface drill rig are currently evaluating the extent of the West Limb while four underground core rigs are operating in the Deepening Extension zone (see the Company’s press release dated May 17, 2018 for the announcement of the West Limb discovery). One additional surface rig and one additional underground drill rig are currently targeting other areas of the mine.
Exploration drilling at the West Limb is focused on infill, extension and twin-hole drilling of the previously announced West Limb discovery. Drilling has predominately focused on the area beneath the past producing R22 open pit mine and extensions along strike to the north, highlighted by hole FC5229 that intersected 61.5 meters grading 1.91% copper, 6.7 meters grading 0.95% copper, 8.6 meters grading 1.20% copper and 4.0 meters grading 1.37% copper. Underground drill rigs have recently commenced drill programs to test the southern extent of mineralization within the West Limb.
During the period, results from 9 drill holes were received that highlight extensional drilling of the West Limb, as shown in the following table. Please see Figure 4 for collar locations and Figure 5 for a cross section of the West Limb drill results.
|Hole ID||From (m)||To (m)||Length (m)||Cu (%)|
Drill holes were drilled from surface. Holes not included are either pending assay results, have been included in a different section of this press release for clarity of discussing drill results or were previously included in a prior press release. 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.
The Deepening Extension
The Deepening Extension drilling is currently targeting mineralization on the East Limb of the Pilar Mine between level -725 and level -1040 approximately 1,200 meters to 1,500 meters below surface and approximately 100 meters laterally from the current level of the primary ramp (completed to level -881). During the period, results for 18 holes were received that continue to demonstrate extensions of the modeled mineralization within the zone. The results are highlighted by extensions beyond what was previously believed to be the southern limit of the Deepening Extension zone in hole FC38151 that intersected 5.6 meters grading 5.36% copper as well as hole FC38153 that intersected 8.3 meters grading 2.59% copper and 17.0 meters grading 2.05% copper. These results indicate that the Deepening Extension remains open to the south.
In addition, hole FC44204, that intersected 6.0 meters grading 7.91% copper including 3.0 meters grading 11.03% copper, was drilled approximately 330 meters north of the aforementioned holes and approximately 225 meters south of the previously announced “Deep Discovery” holes (see press release dated June 6, 2018). This hole encountered higher grade mineralization similar to copper grades encountered previously within the Deepening Extension to the north (reference previously announced hole FC4884 that intersected 18.0 meters grading 6.28% copper and previously announced hole FC4986 that intersected 6.9 meters grading 5.82% copper and 15.4 meters grading 3.71% copper). High-grade copper intercepts have now occurred over a combined north-south strike length of approximately 550 meters within the Deepening Extension zone. Additional follow-up drilling to determine continuity of high-grade mineralization in this area is currently underway.
During the period, results from 18 drill holes were received that highlight extensions of the Deepening Extension zone, as shown in the following table. Please see Figures 6 for a north-south long section of the Deepening Extension zone and Figure 7 for collar locations.
|Hole ID||From (m)||To (m)||Length (m)||Cu (%)|
NSI indicates no significant intercept based on cut-off grade of 0.68% copper. The drill holes were drilled from the -709 and -722 levels. Holes not included are either pending assay results, have been included in a different section of this press release for clarity of discussing drill results or were previously included in a prior press release. 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.
The Surubim District is located approximately 40 kilometers to the north of the Caraíba Mill complex and comprises the Surubim open pit mine and past producing Angicos open pit mine. Two surface drill rigs are operating within the Surubim District.
One surface drill rig at Surubim continues to test continuity of mineralization to depth below the open pit mine, and one drill rig is currently evaluating a new exploration target adjacent to the Surubim Mine.
The Company in nearing completion of the data interpretation and targeting phase of the regional airborne geophysical survey comprised of both electromagnetic and gravity systems. To date, a significant number of high priority target areas have been identified and detailed analysis of each target area has commenced. Drill testing of the first two targets, located near the Pilar Mine, is currently underway, with two exploration drill rigs operating on these targets.
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 99.6% interest in the Brazilian copper mining company, MCSA, 100% owner of the Vale do Curaçá Property with over 39 years of operating history in the region. The Company currently mines copper ore from the Pilar underground mine, the Surubim open pit mine and its newly constructed Vermelhos underground mine. 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.
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