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In late-March, the board of Australian company Avanco Resources approved a US$10.6mn exploration budget for this year to focus on its Brazilian projects.
According to the junior, new EM (electromagnetic) equipment has been deployed in the field, and a second EM unit has been received facilitating an acceleration of exploration.
"The ground EM equipment, with associated ancillaries is currently in service in and around the Antas mine," Avanco said in a release on May 5.
The second EM unit will be used to accelerate work in greenfield exploration and to independently operate the downhole EM probe, with the aim of generating more drill targets faster.
"Management believes that complementing Avanco's exploration activities with a full-time EM crew will significantly accelerate and enhance the company's prospects for more exploration success," it said.
ANTAS NORTH PROJECT SPECS
Antas North is located in Carajás province. It is part of the Rio Verde exploration area, consisting of a single mining license.
The project is estimated to have a mine life of 8-12 years depending on treatment options for low grade ore and potential underground development, and it will operate at a mining rate of 400,000-500,000t/y.
Antas is stage 1 of the exploration area, while Pedra Branca is stage 2. With both stages combined, Avanco says it has the potential to produce around 40,000t/y copper and 30,000oz/y gold.
The commissioning of the Antas mine, Avanco said, was ahead of time and under budget.
WHERE IT STANDS
In its 2016 annual report, released on March 27, Avanco said production from the Antas open pit was maintained for the year and the focus is to complete stage 1 development to reduce production risk. Significant works outside the pit included completion of waste dump diversion works and progressive rehabilitation.
Commissioning of the fully integrated plant was completed during the second quarter with commercial production
declared last July 2016. During 4Q16, a program of process optimization was implemented, based on recommendations from a metallurgical specialist, which resulted in improvement in plant throughput, the company said.
Installation of a tertiary crusher was completed in December. reducing the operating load on the
secondary cone crusher and increasing crushing capacity to approximately 200t/h.
An application to increase production from the current 12,000t/y of copper metal to 18,000t/y has been submitted and is in the process of being revised upwards, Avanco said.