Hot Chili produces record copper grades for Chile project

The West Australian | Matt Birney | Aug 09, 2022

RC drilling at Hot Chili’s Valentina deposit in Chile. Credit: File

Copper explorer Hot Chili has recorded its highest-grade intersection to date at the company’s Costa Fuego copper project in Chile whilst also extending the strike of its Valentina deposit by 120m.

Assays returned from RC drilling at the historical Valentina copper mine recorded an 8m intersection at 5.9 per cent copper equivalent from 27m.

The company says the copper equivalent breaks down to 5.7 per cent copper and 24.1 grams per tonne silver.

A deeper 2m intersection from the same hole read 1.9 per cent copper equivalent from 46m whilst a 7m section from a separate drill hole recorded 2 per cent copper equivalent from 163m.

Of the nine holes that have returned assays from the latest round of drilling, four recorded significant intersections.

Hot Chili says the latest results confirm continuity of the mineralised structure 120m south of current underground workings at Valentina.

Assay results are pending for 17 holes at Valentina in addition to 16 drill holes from the neighbouring San Antonio high-grade copper resource.

A total of 13 RC holes and three diamond drill holes have been completed at San Antonio with the aim of upgrading the deposit’s resource to “indicated” ahead of a planned resource upgrade for the Costa Fuego project.

The company says one of the diamond holes at Valentina recorded a stunning 17m visual intersection with results awaiting ore grade analysis.

Earlier this year the resource at Costa Fuego was estimated at 725 million tonnes grading at 0.47 per cent copper equivalent for 2.8 million tonnes of contained copper and 2.6 million ounces of gold.

Costa Fuego is at low altitude, about 600km north of the country’s capital, Santiago and only about 55km from the coast and the Las Losas port.

Hot Chili considers its operation to be one of the few global copper projects with low economic hurdles to clear and without infrastructure or permitting hurdles preventing timely production.

The Valentina prospect is only a few kilometres from the company’s three existing copper orebodies at Cortadera, Productora and San Antonio.

Of the three deposits, Cortadera hosts the lion’s share of the greater project with an indicated resource of 471 million tonnes at 0.46 per copper equivalent.

Despite much of the resource drilling focusing on Cortadera and Productora, San Antiono has delivered an encouraging 4.2 million tonnes grading at 1.2 per cent copper equivalent utilising only 4922 metres.

The Perth-based explorer says drilling is now underway at its Santiago Z porphyry target.

A recent report by market intelligence group S&P Global expects world-wide copper demand to grow from 25 million tonnes in 2021 to about 50Mt by 2035.

If upcoming assays from Valentina continue to break records for Hot Chili, the company’s production plans will potentially be one step closer to fruition.