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Aura declares commercial production at Aranzazu copper mine in Mexico

Aura Minerals Inc. declared commercial production at its Aranzazu copper-gold mine in Mexico, effective Dec. 10, nearly two months ahead of schedule and below budget.

Plant operations started in early September, and the first shipment of copper concentrate from Aranzazu was delivered in mid-October.

"To optimize the restart, we opted for a shorter life of mine, however, we are very excited about Aranzazu's future and expect the life of mine to be considerably extended after we implement the new geological investment strategy in 2019," Aura President and CEO Rodrigo Barbosa said.

Concentrate from the project is expected to "significantly add" to the company's EBITDA, Barbosa added.

In July, a feasibility study pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 5%, of US$81.4 million and a 22-month payback period. The project was estimated to deliver a total free cash flow of US$100.6 million over a 5.5-year mine life.

Aura said Dec. 12 that it is progressing the underground mine development and operational improvements at the plant to reach full production. Meanwhile, construction of the new tailings disposal facility at Aranzazu is almost complete.