ASX-listed copper developer Hot Chili has entered into negotiations for a port access and services deal at the Chilean port of Huasco. The company said it has begun the process of securing the final critical item of infrastructure for the development of its massive Costa Fuego copper project, one of the world’s largest copper discoveries.
It has inked a letter of intent with local port services firm Puerto Las Losas SA, or “PLL” to finance a study to investigate using the existing PLL dock facilities to ship copper concentrates and other products from the Costa Fuego mine that is located some 50 kilometres away.
PLL has three months to present Hot Chili with a binding port services offer that may include required upgrades. Both parties are looking to start operations during the last quarter of 2025.
Securing port services will be a major step forward for Costa Fuego. Leveraging off existing port infrastructure will materially reduce Costa Fuego’s environmental footprint during construction and operations.
As no new port or areas will be required for construction or subject to environmental permitting, we expect a positive impact to our construction capital requirements and overall permitting/construction timelines.Hot Chili Ltd Country Manager and Chief Legal Counsel, Jose Ignacio Silva.
“Costa Fuego continues to benefit from its low altitude location and proximity to existing transport, power and port infrastructure, resulting in low capital intensity.”
“Our Letter of Intent with PLL demonstrates our continued commitment to advancing Costa Fuego within an ESG framework that reduces the overall environmental impact and uses Chilean goods, services and businesses where possible.” Hot Chili Ltd Managing Director, Christian Easterday.
The Costa Fuego project is one of the two largest copper discoveries made in the world since 2016 and takes in a massive 724 million tonne resource base grading 0.48 per cent copper equivalent, largely from two main deposits, Cortadera and Productura that sit just 14 kilometres apart.
Hot Chili has so far drilled out a 451 million tonne resource at Cortadera grading 0.46 per cent copper equivalent in the indicated and inferred categories. The deposit contains more than 1.6 million tonnes of copper, about 1.9 million ounces of gold, nearly 10 million ounces of silver and some 27,000 tonnes of molybdenum.
Productora boasts a 273 million tonne resource at a 0.52 per cent copper equivalent.
The company says the next stage in the development of the two deposits will focus on upgrading the Cortadera resource to a higher confidence resource category and advancing a preliminary feasibility study on the broader, multi-deposit Costa Fuego project.
It will also seek to test other high-priority exploration targets identified at the tenure.
Hot Chili took 100 per cent ownership of Cortadera last year and recently became a dual-listed company after its shares commenced trading on the Canadian TSXV post a C$30 million capital raise.
With money in the bank and massive mineralisation in the ground, Hot Chili appears well on its way to getting the development of this major project off the ground. Should it be able to secure port access to export facilities it will have secured yet another key piece of the puzzle – and arguably perhaps the most vital piece.