The West Australian- October 12, 2020
Hot Chili has unveiled a massive resource inventory hike announcing a close to three-fold increase in total tonnage its Southern American Costa Fuego discovery. The 724 million tonne resource, at 0.48 per cent copper equivalent now hosts an incredible 2.9 million tonnes of copper, 2.7 million ounces of gold and 9.9 million ounces of silver.
Hot Chili’s bounty is made even sweeter by the current copper, gold and silver prices which are continuing to reach for 5-year highs. Gold is trading at over US$1,900 an ounce, silver is sitting above US$25 an ounce, whilst copper is continuing its stellar march higher currently demanding more than US$6,600 per tonne.
The large-scale resource for Costa Fuego has been bolstered by the addition of the maiden resource for the record-breaking Cortadera discovery. Cortadera captured the markets attention late last year after delivering six world-class drill intercepts including 972m at 0.5 per cent copper and 979m at 0.4 per cent copper.
Cortadera is now more than likely to set tongues wagging once again with the maiden resource coming in at 451 million tonnes at 0.46 per cent copper equivalent.
The company says that Costa Fuego rates as the world’s largest new copper discovery in the recent years, muscling out Rio Tinto’s eye-catching Winu discovery from the top spot, with a higher overall grade and nearly 50 per cent more tonnes – not bad for a Perth-based junior with a market cap still sub $100m.
Generating a 451Mt maiden Resource for Cortadera a mere 14km away from our established Productora deposit (273Mt Resource) demonstrates the sheer scale of Hot Chili’s Coast Fuego copper hub.
Cortadera has a high-grade core of 104Mt grading 0.74% copper equivalent and this has strong potential to continue growing rapidly with further drilling.
Our first resource for Cortadera is particularly significant when considering it is one of just two major copper discoveries to have been reported in the world since 2016.
Not content to rest on their laurels, it would appear that Hot Chili is just getting started with the company also flagging the release of a maiden resource on its high-grade ‘satellite’ discovery at San Antonio and ongoing drilling set to trigger a resource upgrade for Cortadera during 2021.
Hot Chili’s resource inventory comfortably ranks its coastal copper hub as one of the largest overall resources in the terrane and one of the largest undeveloped copper resources in the world.
The company is currently utilising its in-house expertise to formulate a scoping study for the combined Costa Fuego resource and is assessing a combination of open pit and underground mining to supply ore to a central processing facility.
Metallurgical test work undertaken by Hot Chili indicates that the various ore types within the porphyry systems at Costa Fuego are amenable to a common processing methodology further supporting the model. The processing circuit is being designed around the use of saline water and conventional sulphide floatation to produce a marketable concentrate.
Hot Chili have also secured access to key infrastructure to the region, including surface rights, power, and the seawater pipeline easements, to support the processing facility in Chile.
The company has now stepped up its program across the project area, with continued drilling of the Cortadera North and Cuerpo2 targets at Cortadera. It is also looking to complete drilling at three growth targets within the environs of the new deposit to continue building its resource position.
Hot Chili’s Costa Fuego porphyry copper-gold project is located in the coastal region of Chile, around 600km north of the capital of Santiago and 50km inland from the port of Los Lasas. The project area hosts three main porphyry ore systems including Cortadera, Productora and San Antonio discoveries.
The region hosting the Costa Fuego tenure boasts outstanding infrastructure including the nearby port, power, the Vallenar mineral processing facility and a seawater pipeline to supply much needed process water to milling and processing operations. The existing mill at Vallenar is owned by the Chilean Government’s ENAMI group and sits a mere 15 km north of Hot Chili’s Productora mine.
Hot Chili is now ramping up the mining and processing of the near-surface, high-grade ores from Productora, with the company making full use of the nearby ENAMI facility. This processing arrangement continues to provide ongoing cash flow to help fund the Hot Chili’s exploration and development program in the region.
With a headline-grabbing resource now firmly under its belt in one of the world’s best copper jurisdictions, Hot Chili is set to take the next step. No doubt the company is likely to attract more than a few admiring glances from the world’s largest mining companies as it continues to build its resource book and add to what has become one of the world’s largest, undeveloped copper-gold deposits.