The West Australian | Matt Birney | 28 November 2022
Hot Chili has added scale to its South American copper hunt after completing a deal to pick five proximal mining rights. Credit: File
South American copper explorer Hot Chili has executed an option agreement with Antofagasta Minerals S.A. to procure a 100 per cent stake in five mining tenements that straddle the western extension of its Cortadera copper-gold discovery in Chile. The company is now gearing up to launch an initial 6000m drilling program to test its new ground and bolster its current resource.
Cortadera forms part of Hot Chili’s larger Costa Fuego project that boasts a mammoth 725 million tonne resource base going 0.47 per cent copper equivalent. The figure is derived from inventories embedded across two key deposits which sit 14 kilometres apart: Cortadera and Productura.
Productora offers a 253 million tonnes measured and inferred resource at 0.49 per cent copper equivalent.
At Cortadera Hot Chili has carved out a 471 million tonne resource grading 0.46 per cent copper equivalent in the indicated and inferred categories. The deposit houses more than 1.7 million tonnes of copper, about 1.8 million ounces of gold and 32,000 tonnes of molybdenum.
Importantly, the company says its latest acquisition virtually doubles the prospective strike length of Cortadera’s existing discovery from 2.3km to 4.1km.
Management believes its new ground is vastly prospective and houses a large-scale outcropping mineralised porphyry. At 700m in strike length and 300m in width the company argues the ore body is of similar stature to Cortadera’s main porphyry – Cuerpo 3.
A 2005 drilling campaign across a porphyry coined “Cuerpo 4” inside one of Hot Chili’s new mining rights returned several near surface intercepts including 16m grading 1.3 per cent copper equivalent from 28m inside a broader 128m parcel at 0.5 per cent copper equivalent from 28m.
The company says the nature of the strikes at Cuerpo 4 suggests it could establish an open pit resource at the site – a play that could allow it to vector in on the ground’s shallow copper, gold and molybdenum mineralisation.
Hot Chili now plans to drill test a pair of targets within Cuerpo 4 using a cocktail of RC and diamond-lead programs.
To claim a 100 per cent stake in the mining rights Hot Chili is obliged to complete 6000m of drilling and finalise the payment of a US$1.5 million option exercise price.
After the option has been exercised, Antofagasta Minerals S.A. has the opportunity to re-establish a 55 per cent interest in the mining rights by paying 55 per cent of the option’s exercise price and five times the option period’s exploration costs.
Management says the deal represents a strategic consolidation of the Cortadera porphyry deposit region and has the potential to provide the Costa Fuego copper hub with an economic and organic pathway to resource expansion.