Chilean Navy inks land deal for Hot Chili copper play

The West Australian | Matt Birney | 7 Dec 2022

The Chilean Navy and Hot Chili have come to a land use agreement Credit: File

Chile-focused copper player Hot Chili has put pen to paper on a land access deal with the South American country’s navy to extract sea water for its proposed Costa Fuego project processing plant.

The navy access deal grants Hot Chili access to the defence authority’s maritime concession 60km northwest of the Costa Fuego project in order to pump water from the ocean.

Hot Chili’s use of sea water will boost the project’s green credentials through negating the need to tap groundwater.

The Perth-based copper hopeful has spruiked the eco-cred of its project due to the fact it will be built on an existing infrastructure footprint, is close to some of Chile’s largest solar farms and will produce an arsenic-free concentrate.

Costa Fuego’s ore reserve currently sits at 166.9 million tonnes going 0.43 percent copper for 716,800t and grading 0.9 g/t gold for 470,000 ounces.

The company in September reported a total project mineral resource of 725Mt containing 0.38 per cent copper for 2.755Mt and grading 0.11 g/t for 2,564,000 ounces of gold.

That figure was nearly double the 2021 estimate achieved largely on the back of a 128Mt mineral resource expansion of the centrepiece Cordatera deposit.

Cordatera was acquired in 2021 from Chile’s SCM Carola and sits near two historic copper mines encompassed by Hot Chili’s third deposit, El Fuego.

The duo churned out high grade copper whilst active but have been shown little love by explorers in modern times.

Acquisition of what the company describes as a world-class resource was heralded as key to developing a long-life, large-scale copper mine by Hot Chili.

The deposit was expanded in November with the purchasing of adjacent tenements via a government auction.

As a result Cordatera now boasts a 5.2km prospective strike length and drilling on the new sites is expected by the company to begin imminently.

Chile produces some 28 per cent of the world’s copper, more than any other nation and like many others has set a bold climate change agenda to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Targets set by Chilean government on industry include a 70 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on 2018 levels.

Hot Chili’s eagerness to become a clean green Chilean copper machine appears to sit well with the South American nation’s newfound environmental focus.

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