Ero Copper intersects 51.8 meters grading 3.49% copper including 33.4 meters grading 4.96% copper in Pilar Mine Deepening, announces two new regional discoveries in the Vermelhos District and the discovery of a nickel-PGM rich zone at Siriema

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 03, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (the “Company”) is pleased to provide a quarterly update on the ongoing exploration drill programs on its 99.6% owned Vale do Curaçá Property located in Bahia State, Brazil. This update encompasses drill results received from the end of August through mid-November 2019. Drilling during the period was focused primarily on several priority target areas within the Pilar Mine, Vermelhos Mine and the Vermelhos Mineral District following release of the Company’s updated National Instrument 43-101, (“NI 43-101”) compliant mineral resource and reserve estimate.

HIGHLIGHTS

Commenting on the results, Mike Richard, Chief Geological Officer, stated, “

Twenty-five drill rigs are on site, fifteen of which are currently operating with the remaining ten rigs temporarily demobilized for year-end maintenance. Operating drill rigs include four within the Pilar District, six within the Vermelhos District, four operating on regional targets within the Surubim and Vermelhos Districts plus one operating east of the main Curaçá Valley tenements for exploration permit renewal purposes. There is currently one additional underground drill rig operating at the NX Gold Mine.

Expansions and extensions, as referenced herein, reflect mineralization not captured in the Company’s mineral resource and mineral reserve models used in the current (2019) mineral resource and reserve estimate. There has been insufficient work and analysis surrounding new discoveries, as referenced herein, to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration and analysis will result in such targets being delineated as a mineral resource.

The drill holes outlined in this press release within the Vermelhos and Pilar Districts will be made available on the Company’s Curaçá Valley site tour and interactive three-dimensional models for the Pilar Mine and the Vermelhos System, which can be accessed via the Company’s website () or via VRIFY Technology Inc. (“VRIFY”) ().

SUMMARY

PILAR DISTRICT

The Pilar District encompasses the area surrounding the Pilar underground mine, Caraíba Mill complex and the past producing Pilar open pit and R22 Mines. Four drill rigs are currently focused on resource upgrade and exploration programs within the Pilar Mine. Previously operating drill rigs in the district have been temporarily idled for year-end maintenance.

During the period, the Company re-prioritized drilling of the Deepening Extension where a new set of deep drill holes, drilled down plunge to the north have intersected thick and high-grade mineralization indicative of a newly identified mineralized chamber, or “Superpod”, in the Deepening. In addition, drilling of the Baraúna and South Extension zones continued to confirm extensions of mineralization within these zones.

Deepening Extension drilling is currently targeting mineralization on the East Limb of the Pilar Mine between level -725 and level -1300 approximately 1,200 meters to 1,750 meters below surface and approximately 100 meters laterally from the current level of the primary ramp (completed to level -925).

Underground drilling during the period continued work that commenced in mid-2019 to re-prioritize testing of the known extent of mineralization within the zone, including down-plunge exploration drilling beneath the deepest known extents of mineralization within the Pilar Mine. Drilling captured in the Company’s previously announced third quarter exploration update, focused primarily on the central and southern sections of the Deepening Extension zone while drilling during the current period focused on the northern sections. The results during the period are among the most significant holes on a grade-meter basis drilled by the Company in the Pilar Mine since acquisition of the Vale do Curaçá Property in 2016.  Results are highlighted by hole FC5616 that intersected 51.8 meters grading 3.49% copper including 33.4 meters grading 4.96% copper and hole FC5615 that intersected 62.5 meters grading 1.65% copper including 26.1 meters grading 2.37% copper. These results are complemented by the previously announced intercepts of FC47142 that intersected 34.7 meters grading 2.29% copper including 18.6 meters grading 3.15% copper and hole FC47139 that intersected 7.1 meters grading 6.50% copper including 4.1 meters grading 9.01% copper, both located on section 47, approximately 400 meters south of the new intercepts on section 56 ().

Exploration results from the Deepening Extension supports that the Pilar Mine is open at depth, where high-grade mineralization continues to be encountered approximately 350 meters below the deepest level of current development at the mine.

Please see Figure 1 for a north-south long section and Figure 2 for a level map showing collar locations of Deepening Extension drilling within the Pilar Mine.

The Baraúna zone of the Pilar Mine has been delineated, to date, over a north-south strike length of approximately 450 meters, varying thickness of up to 30 meters and from outcrop at the bottom of the open pit connecting to mineralization at depth in the Pilar Mine. Drilling during the period was focused on extending the known mineralization to the south towards surface as well as testing the limits of mineralization south of the main Baraúna zone.  For planning purposes, drilling of the zone is focused on an area that, on average, extends 110 meters beneath the southern limit of the open pit mine (the pit floor is located approximately 230 meters below surface at its deepest).

Drilling was performed from surface targeting mineralization beneath the southern portion of the open pit mine and extensions of mineralization to the south. The results are highlighted by hole FC1923 that intersected 31.8 meters grading 0.83% copper including 7.0 meters grading 1.31% copper immediately beneath the south pit wall and FC0901 that intersected 4.5 meters grading 0.44% copper from 19.6 meters down hole, approximately 200 meters south of the known limit of mineralization within the Pilar Mine. While results to date in this area are low-grade disseminated mineralization, additional geophysical work is ongoing to better refine high-grade targeting in this zone.

Please see Figure 3 for a north-south long section of the Baraúna zone and Figure 4 for a plan map showing collar locations.

Within the Pilar underground mine, continued drilling of the South Extension from a drill station at level -300, continues to demonstrate continuity of mineralization at the southern edge of the orebody. Drilling is targeting additional extensions of this zone to depth and to the south. These new results are significant when combined with previously announced drilling from level -174, including hole FC3264 (), as they continue to provide evidence that the Pilar Mine remains open to the south.

Please see Figure 5 for a north-south long section and Figure 6 for a level map showing collar locations of South Extension drilling within the Pilar Mine.

VERMELHOS DISTRICT

The Vermelhos District is located approximately eighty kilometers to the north of the Pilar Mine and Caraíba Mill complex and includes the operating high-grade Vermelhos Mine. Drilling is focused on both near-mine extensional drilling as well as new regional targets identified during the Company’s regional airborne survey and subsequent data compilation work of the broader Vermelhos System – a north-south trend encompassing the Vermelhos Mine, East Zone, Siriema N8/N9 deposit, and several high priority targets that extends over ten kilometers in strike length.

Nine drill rigs are currently operating in the district including six focused on upgrade and exploration programs within and adjacent to the Vermelhos Mine, while three rigs are focused on regional targets, including targeting extensions of the brecciated massive sulphide zone of the Siriema deposit. Previously operating drill rigs in the district have been temporarily idled for year-end maintenance.

The Siriema deposit is the Company’s first regional discovery ( and is located approximately 1.5 kilometers south of the Vermelhos Mine. To date, Siriema has been interpreted as a mineralized zone extending approximately 400 meters in strike-length, approximately 20 to 50 meters in width, and from surface to a depth of approximately 250 meters. The zone is interpreted to contain multiple sub-vertical mineralized lenses that remain open to depth and to the east. While the majority of mineralization within Siriema is disseminated, the Company continues to outline a shallow-plunging east-dipping zone of high-grade massive-sulphide breccia mineralization trending to the north-northwest using down-hole EM. Known as the “Keel Zone”, new drilling, combined with multi-element analysis of previously released copper intervals within this zone represent the first empirical evidence of a continuous zone of mineralization containing, along with copper, elevated levels of nickel, cobalt and PGMs in the history of the Curaçá Valley. To date, the zone measures approximately 150 meters in strike length, 10 meters in thickness, has been drilled over a vertical extent of 105 meters.  Current drilling and down-hole EM surveys at Siriema are targeting massive sulphide mineralization at depth.

The following results during the period have been presented for drill intercepts within the Keel Zone (selected for complete multi-element and fire assay based on unique mineralogical composition), and separately for intercepts within Siriema, but outside of the Keel Zone.

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System and Figure 8 for Siriema collar locations including Keel Zone drilling.

Drilling during the period at the Vermelhos Mine was focused on both infill drilling for mine planning and extensions of the limits of known mineralization beneath the main orebodies of Toboggan and Sombrero. These holes, drilled approximately 70 meters beneath the main orebodies, complement the previously released hole, FVS-465, that intersected 13.4 meters grading 5.86% copper including 8.4 meters grading 7.04% copper from 306.3 meters downhole in showing the potential to extend mineralization to depth. Follow-up drilling and down-hole EM surveys in the vicinity of these holes is ongoing ().

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System and Figure 9 for Vermelhos Mine collar locations.

The Vermelhos East Zone is located approximately 100 meters to the east of mineralization comprising the main Vermelhos Mine 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 500 meters below surface.

During the period, drilling of the Vermelhos East Zone focused on testing continuity of mineralization within the zone. Results were highlighted by hole FVS-413 that intersected 8.4 meters grading 4.02% copper including 3.0 meters grading 8.83% copper from 469.1 meters down-hole. This intercept, along with previously announced drill results in hole FVS-432 that intersected 27.6 meters grading 1.95% copper and 7.0 meters grading 4.48% copper including 3.0 meters grading 8.02% copper are all located approximately 450 meters from surface and continue to define several high-grade lenses within the overall Vermelhos East Zone structure that extends from surface to a depth of approximately 550 meters and remains open to depth and along strike.  ().

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System and Figure 9 for East Zone collar locations.

Drilling during the period at the adjacent N8/N9 deposits, had two primary objectives. At the N8 deposit (formerly Vermelhos West), deeper core drilling sought to test continuity of a higher-grade zone at depth beneath the limits of the current envisioned open pit and surface RC drilling at N9 sought to extend the known limits of mineralization to depth and along strike. During the period, 7 core holes and 16 RC holes were drilled in these programs. The results are positive and provide evidence of continuity of mineralized extensions that will be better defined with additional follow-up core drilling and down-hole EM surveys within the immediate area of these holes. Results of the program are highlighted by hole CRN9-23 that intersected 17.0 meters grading 1.82% copper including 8.0 meters grading 2.59% copper.

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System, including N9 RC drill hole collar locations, and Figure 9 for N8 core drill hole collar locations.

N1 South is located at the southern-end of the ten kilometer Vermelhos System trend, approximately 6.4 kilometers south of the Vermelhos Mine. To date, near-surface mineralization within the zone has been defined with 1 core hole and 8 RC holes. The mineralized zone is interpreted to contain multiple sub-vertical mineralized lenses extending over 250 meters in north-west south-east strike-length, approximately 100 meters wide along section and from surface to a depth of approximately 200 meters. Results during the period are highlighted by hole CRN1-08 that intersected 20.0 meters grading 0.92% copper including 7.0 meters grading 1.77% copper from 52.0 meters downhole. Similar to the Company’s previously announced regional targets, the near surface extent of mineralization within these zones has been defined, to date, using predominately RC drilling. Continued evaluation of the N1 South discovery using a combination of additional core drilling and down-hole EM surveys, targeting high-grade zones, is ongoing.

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System including N1 South collar locations.

Vermelhos North is located at the northern-end of the ten kilometer Vermelhos System trend, approximately 2.8 kilometers north of the Vermelhos Mine. To date, near-surface mineralization has been defined with 17 RC holes and is interpreted to contain multiple sub-vertical lenses extending over 700 meters in north-south strike-length, approximately 50 to 150 meters in width along section and from surface to a depth of approximately 350 meters. Results are highlighted by hole CRN10-02 that intersected 14.0 meters grading 1.01% copper including 5.0 meters grading 1.98% copper from 143.0 meters downhole. Similar to the Company’s previously announced regional targets, the near surface extent of mineralization within these zones has been defined, to date, using RC drilling. Continued evaluation of the Vermelhos North discovery using a combination of core drilling and down-hole EM surveys, targeting high-grade zones, is ongoing.

Please see Figure 7 for a map of the Vermelhos System including Vermelhos North collar locations.

REGIONAL EXPLORATION

The Company continues to re-prioritize and test regional drill targets based on the ongoing data interpretation and targeting phase of the regional airborne geophysical survey. To date, over 50 high priority target areas have been identified and detailed analysis of each target area remains ongoing. Further drill testing of regional targets, located within the Pilar, Surubim and Vermelhos Districts, remains underway, with five exploration drill rigs currently dedicated to regional drill programs including follow-up drilling on the brecciated massive sulphide zone at Siriema within the Vermelhos District and the Bota Cela target in the Surubim District.

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, Mineraҫão Caraíba S.A. (“MCSA”), 100% owner of the Vale do Curaçá Property with over 40 years of operating history in the region. The Company currently mines copper ore from the Pilar and Vermelhos underground mines. 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 and the Company, directly and indirectly, owns 97.6% of the NX Gold Mine, an operating gold and silver mine located in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Additional information on the Company and its operations, including Technical Reports on the Vale do Curaçá, Boa Esperanҫa and NX Gold properties, can be found on the Company’s website () and on SEDAR ().

NOTE ON NI 43-101 COMPLIANT TECHNICAL REPORT(S)

The conversion of drill results presented in this press release into NI 43-101 compliant mineral resources and mineral reserves, including but not limited to the drill results associated with the new and potential discoveries of Bota Cela, N1 South, Vermelhos North and the brecciated sulphide zone of Siriema containing nickel, cobalt and PGMs, all require additional work and analysis that remains ongoing. To date, there has been insufficient exploration and accompanying analysis to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in these discoveries being delineated as a mineral resource. Accordingly, the results herein may not be included in future NI 43-101 compliant mineral resources or mineral reserves depending on the results of this additional work and analysis, and other technical and/or economic reasons.

QUALITY ASSURANCE / QUALITY CONTROL

The Company is currently drilling on surface and underground with core drill rigs using a combination of owned and third-party contracted drill rigs. During the period from August 2019 through mid-November 2019 third party drill rigs were operated by Major Drilling, McKay, Sondagens Brasil Ltda., Layne Christensen Co., and DrillGeo Geologia e Sondagem Ltda., all of whom are independent of the Company. Drill core is logged, photographed and split in half using a diamond core saw at MCSA’s secure core logging and storage facilities. Half of the drill core is retained on site and the other half core is used for analysis, with samples collected on one-meter sample intervals unless an interval crosses a geological contact. Reverse circulation cuttings are split at the drill rig using one-meter sample intervals. All sample preparation is performed in MCSA’s secure on-site laboratory. Total copper is determined using a nitric-hydrochloric acid digestion and Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (“AAS”) and/or Titration. Oxide copper values are determined using sulfuric acid digestion followed by AAS. All sample results during the period have been monitored through a QA/QC program that includes the insertion of certified standards, blanks, and pulp and reject duplicate samples. Regular check-assays are submitted to ALS Brasil Ltda’s facility located in Vespasiano, Minas Gerais, Brazil, at a rate of approximately 5%. ALS Brasil Ltda is a subsidiary of ALS Limited and is independent of the Company.

All nickel, cobalt, gold and PGM results contained in this press release were prepared and analyzed by ALS Limited’s facilities located in Lima, Peru and Vancouver, B.C. Gold, platinum and palladium values were calculated by ALS Global’s facility in Lima, Peru using acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (“ICP-AES”). Nickel and cobalt values were determined at the same facility using acid digestion followed by ICP-AES and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (“ICP-MS”) plus AAS for assay values above 1%. Rhodium values were determined by ALS Global’s facility in Vancouver, B.C. using fire assay and ICP-MS. ALS Global is independent of the Company.

Rubens Mendonça, MAusIMM, Chartered Professional – Mining, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this press release. Mr. Mendonça is a Qualified Person and is independent of the Company as defined by NI 43-101.

A PDF accompanying this announcement is available at: 

More news and information about Ero Copper Corp.

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Globe Newswire: 11:00 GMT Tuesday 3rd December 2019

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