British precious metals company Hochschild Mining has started commercial production at its Mara Rosa gold mine in Brazil.

The processing plant at Mara Rosa has been operating at nearly 90% of its 7,000 tonnes per day (tpd) capacity and has achieved more than 80% in average recoveries during May.

Hochschild is progressing with the ramp-up process, with completion expected in the first half of the year.

The mine is expected to boost gold output in the second half of 2024, with projections estimating an annual production of 83,000–93,000oz of gold.

Mara Rosa represents Hochschild’s inaugural venture in Brazil, situated in the Goias state.

Hochschild Mining CEO Eduardo Landin said: “Achieving commercial production at Mara Rosa is a significant milestone for Hochschild and has been delivered ahead of our end H1 2024 forecast.

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“This brings a new jurisdiction to the company and provides a springboard for further low-cost growth in Brazil. We are pleased that Mara Rosa is ramping up quickly and thank our team, contractors and stakeholders for their hard work and support.”

Hochschild said that the mine, which is already contributing to the company’s portfolio with lower production costs, holds promising prospects for further resource expansion.

This is being actively pursued through Hochschild’s brownfield exploration programme.

Additionally, the company recently secured an option to fully acquire the Monte Do Carmo gold project in Tocantins state from Cerrado Gold.

This acquisition opportunity is set to replicate Mara Rosa’s model and, upon exercising the option, is expected to bolster Hochschild’s growth trajectory with another operation that offers a “compelling” cost structure.

The Carmo gold project comprises 21 mineral concessions over 82,542 hectares and hosts multiple identified gold targets along a 30km mineralised trend.