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Avanco Resources Ltd lifts confidence of Pedra Branca copper-gold resource

Avanco Resources Ltd (ASX:AVB) has upgraded the Pedra Branca East Mineral Resource through infill drilling allowing for a near term development strategy.

Avanco advanced its Brazilian copper project Antas (Stage 1) from development to production in 9 months with a future strategy of combining Antas with Pedra Branca (Stage 2).

The updated resource model now has over 70% of the resource in the higher confidence Measured and Indicated categories.

The new resource is being targeted for pre-commercial development under the low-capex, accelerated, start-up strategy.

Studies evaluating the feasibility of an expandable 1,000 tonnes per day underground mining operation are well advanced.

Avanco is currently ramping up production at Antas with a long term goal to become a 50,000 tonnes per annum copper producer.

Pedra Branca Resource upgrade

The Pedra Branca East Mineral Resource now stands at 10.48 million tonnes at 2.8% copper and 0.7g/t gold.

Greater than 70% of the Resource is in the higher confidence Measured and Indicated categories.

A maiden Measured and Indicated Resource of 4.5 million tonnes at 2.8% copper and 0.7 g/t gold for 129,000 tonnes of copper and 106,000 ounces of gold has been reported for the hangingwall high grade zone (HW-HGZ) within Pedra Branca East.

The maiden HW-HGZ resource has the potential to be a key catalyst in the early development of a pre-commercial start-up underground mine at Pedra Branca.

The most aggressive plan assumes commencement of the box-cut/decline as early as Q3 2016, with first ore extraction during Q2/Q3 2017.

Background

Avanco owns a portfolio covering 1,800 square kilometres of the Carajas Mineral Province in Brazil.

The area hosts the world's largest concentration of large tonnage iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposits.

Avanco is now the second copper producer in the Carajas behind Vale.

Avanco's focus is on the development of Antas North (Stage 1) and Pedra Branca (Stage 2).

Antas Stage 1 has a 7 year mine life with potential to extend and costs forecast to fall within the bottom quartile.

Antas Stage 1 has a Proved and Probably Ore Reserve of 3.63 million tonnes at 2.53% copper and 0.55 g/t gold.

Avanco aim to increase Antas production to 15,000 tonnes per annum copper by 2018.

Planning is underway to develop the significantly larger Pedra Branca underground project and establish Avanco as a 50,000 tonnes per annum copper producer.

Analysis

By upgrading the Pedra Branca East Mineral Resource through infill drilling and defining the HW-HGZ, Avanco have defined a potential pathway to early development of Pedra Branca.

Adding Pedra Branca (Stage 2) to Antas (Stage 1) is a critical step to unlocking Avanco's goal of becoming a 50,000 tonnes per annum mid-tier copper producer.

Further updates on the Pedra Branca study, which is in progress, will provide further definition as to the development plan.

Avanco has broker attention most recently with a Buy recommendation from broker Hartleys, ascribing a 12-month price target of $0.11 and a valuation of $0.15.

Shares in the company last traded at $0.063, providing 74% upside to the 12-month price target.

Avanco's high grade, low cost Antas open pit operation is financially sustainable in a low copper price environment providing for upside should the copper price appreciate.

The company is debt and covenant free and actively pursuing new opportunities.

Avanco is supported by some of the world's premier resources funds, who hold 57% of shares.

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