Rui Lopes, president of the SMCA Board of Directors, revealed that preliminary studies began to be made in 2009 and that so far, in prospecting, 59 million dollars have already been spent. Also, 115 boreholes have already been drilled to a depth of 570 meters, he said.
According to the official, cited by Expansão, the work is now in the second phase of evaluation. Currently, 12,710 samples have already been analyzed from a geophysical and geochemical point of view, in addition to environmental impact studies, he indicated.
"The prospecting activity is taking up all this time, because it is a complex deposit that requires in-depth studies that meet international standards," he explained.
Rui Lopes also affirmed that, for now, the company will carry out feasibility studies, to, later, advance with the request for an exploration license. However, only two years from now, in 2023, SMCA will start to explore the ore.
The company plans to maintain copper production for 15 years. In the initial phase, the society estimates to achieve a production of up to eight thousand tons of contained copper, but plans to increase the number when it reaches peak production: "When we reach peak production in this underground mine, the prospect will be to extract 26 thousand tons/year."
In the long term, the company estimates that more than 400,000 tons of copper will be exploited, he said, adding that the prospecting work has the collaboration of 110 workers.