Hot Chili bites into US$1bn Costa Fuego copper-gold project with another 10,000m of drilling under way


Pic: via Getty Images.

  • A 10,000m drilling campaign across 10 holes has kicked off at Costa Fuego
  • Assays are back from four RC holes at the Marsellesa pit showing grades of up to 1% copper and six holes from Cordillera showing up to 0.4% copper
  • Final stages of an upgrade to the mineral resource are being finalised

Special Report: The next phase of Hot Chili’s 30,000m resource growing expedition at its Costa Fuego copper-gold project in Chile has kicked off at seven large-scale targets adjacent to the Cortadera and Productora deposits.

Hot Chili’s return to drilling comes off the back of a landholding expansion of the project and a recent scoping study which estimated the >US$1 billion project can produce ~112,000tpa of copper equivalent (95,000t CU and 49,000oz Au) for an initial 14-year mine life.

Chile is renowned for its high-value copper deposits and is the largest producer of the red metal in the world, with heavy hitters such as BHP, Rio Tinto and JECO running the operations of world-class deposits.

Phased drilling

47 RC drill holes for 11,500m have been completed since Hot Chili (ASX:HCH) kicked off the extensive drill program in late July last year, and this round comprises 10 diamond holes to test four large-scale targets near Cortadera and three large-scale targets near Productora for a total of 10,000m.

Assays have come back from the late-2023 targets of Marsellesa, Cordillera and Correteo – all within 15km of Costa Fuego’s planned central processing hub showing grades of up to 1% copper across 500m of prospective strike length.

Four RC holes for 1,244m were completed and include:

  • 25m @ 0.4% copper from surface, including 10m grading 0.8% copper from 7m depth
  • 8m @ 0.8% copper from 1m depth downhole, including 4m grading 1.0% copper from 4m depth

HCH says the higher grade copper intersections are associated with both copper oxide and sulphide mineralisation and further work is being planned to assess mineralisation continuity.

The Marsellesa mine area is laterally extensive, measuring 400x200m, with historical open pit and underground mine workings exposing multiple zones of shallow-dipping, strata-bound (manto-style), copper mineralisation.

Six holes for 1,450m at Cordillera, 1km to the west of Marsellesa, showed up to 0.4% copper below and surrounding the historical small surface mine workings, including:

  • 93m @ 0.3% copper from surface, including 14m grading 0.4% copper from surface
  • 53m @ 0.3% copper from 19m depth, including 10m grading 0.4% copper from 44m depth

Eight RC holes for 2,324m were completed at the greenfield Corroteo exploration target, however, no significant intersections were recorded.

HCH is in the final stages of the resource upgrade for Costa Fuego, which is expected to be released this quarter.