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Brazil mining watch: Block 8, Grota do Cirilo, Volta Grande, Appian lawsuit

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Brazil mining watch: Block 8, Grota do Cirilo, Volta Grande, Appian lawsuit

The integrated economic development plan (PIAE) for the US$2.1 billion Block 8 iron ore complex in Minas Gerais state, owned by Sul Americana de Metais (SAM), a Brazilian affiliate of Chinese conglomerate Honbridge Holdings, was approved by the Brazilian mining regulator ANM.

According to Eder de Silvio, SAM’s director of engineering, the PIAE, which is required to develop any mining project in the country, it handles topics linked to the extraction, processing, and commercialization of the mineral deposit, allowing SAM the licence to mine iron ore.

Following the acceptance of the PIAE, the company is now waiting for the preliminary permit to move forward with the project.

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Sigma Lithium, which began civil work on its Grota do Cirilo project in Minas Gerais state in April, is evaluating whether to add a new phase to the project to increase the mine’s production capacity.

The first phase of the Grota do Cirilo project is expected to generate 270,000t/y of battery-grade sustainable lithium (36,700t/y lithium carbonate equivalent). Phase II is planned to produce an additional 261,100t/y (35,500t/y lithium carbonate equivalent) of battery-grade sustainable lithium.

The company is now doing an economic analysis of what a third phase at the complex would entail, with the possibility to raise the complex’s manufacturing capacity even more.

“In the second quarter of 2022, the firm plans to release an updated mineral resource estimate with the purpose of determining the potential for additional production growth (“Phase 3”). Phase 3’s preliminary economic assessment is planned to be completed by the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of 2022 “In a statement, Sigma stated.

The permitting procedure for the Belo Sun Volta Grande gold project in Pará state was suspended last week by a Brazilian court.

Belo Sun’s $300 million project was halted because Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency (Funai) had not approved the company’s indigenous studies, and the state environmental agency for the Para government (SEMAS), which had approved the company’s construction permit, had to be confirmed as the competent authority for the project’s environmental permitting.

“We are dissatisfied with this extra setback to our development schedule. These roadblocks are to be expected, and we shall overcome them. We’re working with our Brazilian legal team to have the Court’s ruling overturned on appeal. In a news release, Belo Sun president and CEO Peter Tagliamonte stated, “We are working tirelessly on the required steps to overturn these decisions.”

Appian Capital Advisory, a London-based private equity firm, has filed a legal claim against South African precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater in the High Court of England and Wales.

Appian is suing Sibanye for approximately US$1.2 billion in damages for “illegally failing to complete on the transaction” including nickel, copper, and gold assets in Brazil.

Sibanye-Stillwater put a $1 billion deal to buy a nickel asset in Brazil from Appian Capital Advisory on hold earlier this year.

Sibanye-Stillwater agreed to buy Atlantic Nickel, which operates the Santa Rita nickel sulphide mine in Bahia state, one of the world’s largest open-pit nickel sulphide mines, and Mineraço Vale Verde, which is constructing the Serrate copper and gold mine in Alagoas state, from Appian in October 2021.

Sibanye-Stillwater, on the other hand, indicated earlier this year that it was withdrawing out of the contract due to a “geotechnical event” at the Santa Rita mine.

Construction, Infrastructure & Mining Group Media Publications

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