Costa Fuego is located 17 km south of the regional township of Vallenar (population approximately 52,000), approximately 600 km north of Santiago and 160 km north of the coastal city of La Serena, in the low-altitude, coastal range of the Atacama region of Chile.
The Project comprises three mineral resources situated within a 10 km radius: Productora, Cortadera and San Antonio. The resources are located along the Pan-American Highway with an average elevation of 740 m above sea level and in close proximity to existing infrastructure of the Huasco valley and the nearby Las Losas port facilities (55 km distance)
Over the past decade, the Company has secured permits and access to establish critical infrastructure, including surface rights for the proposed central processing facilities and associated infrastructure at Productora, electrical connection to the Maitencillo power substation (20 km distance), maritime concession and coastal land access rights for sea water extraction, and easements for sea water pipelines and power infrastructure.
Costa Fuego Combined Mineral Resource (Effective Date 31st March 2022)
1. Mineral Resources are reported on a 100% Basis – combining Mineral Resource estimates for the Cortadera, Productora and San Antonio deposits. All figures are rounded, reported to appropriate significant figures, and reported in accordance with the Joint Ore Reserves Committee Code (2012) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definition, as required by National Instrument 43-101.
2. The Productora deposit is 100% owned by Chilean incorporated company Sociedad Minera El Aguila SpA (SMEA). SMEA is a joint venture (JV) company – 80% owned by Sociedad Minera El Corazón Limitada (a 100% subsidiary of Hot Chili Limited), and 20% owned by CMP Productora (a 100% subsidiary of Compañía Minera del Pacífico S.A (CMP)).
3. The Cortadera deposit is controlled by a Chilean incorporated company Sociedad Minera La Frontera SpA (Frontera). Frontera is a subsidiary company – 100% owned by Sociedad Minera El Corazón Limitada, which is a 100% subsidiary of Hot Chili Limited.
4. The San Antonio deposit is controlled through Frontera (100% owned by Sociedad Minera El Corazón Limitada, which is a 100% subsidiary of Hot Chili Limited) and has an Option Agreement with a private party to earn a 90% interest.
5. The Mineral Resource estimates in the tables above form coherent bodies of mineralisation that are considered amenable to a combination of open pit and underground extraction methods based on the following parameters: Base Case Metal Prices: Copper US$ 3.00/lb, Gold US$ 1,700/oz, Molybdenum US$ 14/lb, and Silver US$20/oz.
6. Metallurgical recovery averages for each deposit consider Indicated + Inferred material and are weighted to combine sulphide flotation and oxide leaching performance. Process recoveries: Cortadera and San Antonio – Weighted recoveries of 82% Cu, 55% Au, 82% Mo and 37% Ag. CuEq(%) = Cu(%) + 0.56 x Au(g/t) + 0.00046 x Mo(ppm) + 0.0043 x Ag(g/t). Productora – Weighted recoveries of 84% Cu, 47% Au, 47% Mo and 0% Ag (not reported). CuEq(%) = Cu(%) + 0.46 x Au(g/t) + 0.00026 x Mo(ppm). Costa Fuego – Recoveries of 83% Cu, 53% Au, 69% Mo and 23% Ag. CuEq(%) = Cu(%) + 0.52 x Au(g/t) + 0.00039 x Mo(ppm) + 0.0027 x Ag(g/t).
7. Resource Copper Equivalent (CuEq) grades are calculated based on the formula: CuEq% = ((Cu% × Cu price 1% per tonne × Cu_recovery) + (Mo ppm × Mo price per g/t × Mo_recovery)+(Au ppm × Au price per g/t × Au_recovery)+ (Ag ppm × Ag price per g/t × Ag_recovery)) / (Cu price 1% per tonne × Cu recovery). The base case cut-off grade for mineral resources considered amenable to open pit extraction methods at the Cortadera, Productora and San Antonio deposits is 0.21% CuEq while the cut-off grade for mineral resources considered amenable to underground extraction methods at the Cortadera deposit is 0.3% CuEq.
8. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. These Mineral Resource estimates include Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorised as Mineral Reserves. It is reasonably expected that the majority of Inferred mineral resources could be upgraded to Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources with continued exploration.
9. The effective date of the estimate of Mineral Resources is March 31st, 2022. Refer to ASX Announcement “Hot Chili Delivers Next Level of Growth” (“Resource Announcement”) for JORC Code Table 1 information related to the Costa Fuego Resource Estimate (MRE) by Competent Person Elizabeth Haren, constituting the MREs of Cortadera, Productora and San Antonio (which combine to form Costa Fuego). Hot Chili confirms it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the Resource Announcement and all material assumptions and technical parameters stated for the Mineral Resource Estimates in the Resource Announcement continue to apply and have not materially changed.
10. Hot Chili Limited is not aware of political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the Mineral Resources
Top 10 Undeveloped Copper Resource
- Indicated Resource of 725 Mt grading 0.47% CuEq¹ & Inferred Resource of 202 Mt grading 0.36% CuEq¹
- 2.8 Mt Copper (Cu) Indicated,
0.6 Mt Copper Inferred
- 2.6 Moz Gold (Au) Indicated,
- 0.4 Moz Gold Inferred
- 67.4 kt Molybdenum (Mo) Indicated,
- 13.4 kt Molybdenum Inferred
- 10.5 Moz Silver (Ag) Indicated,
- 2.0 Moz Silver Inferred
- Extremely leveraged to looming structural shortage in copper supply
PEA – Strong
- Post-tax NPV8% of US$1.10 B
- Pre-tax NPV8% of US$1.54 B
- Low start-up capital, fast payback
- 16-year mine life for open pit and underground operations
- 112 ktpa CuEq² average production: 95 kt Cu & 49 koz Au for first 14 years
- 97% of PEA inventory is Indicated Resource
- Post-tax NPV8% increases by US$100 M for every U$0.10/lb increase in copper price above US$3.85/lb
Low Risk – Elevation, Infrastructure
- Low elevation (<1,000 m), 50 km from port and located along the Pan American Highway, 600 km north of Santiago
- Maritime water concession, power connection, easements and surface rights secured Environmental Impact Assessment significantly advanced
- No requirement for large-scale desalination plant or expensive high altitude water pipeline
Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) HighlightsJuly 2023
Costa Fuego Project Roadmap
Growth, Development & Strategy 2023/2024
The Company is targeting a potential increase in study scale towards a 150 ktpa copper Project for +20 years, through its next steps:
30,000m Drill Program and Resource Growth Timetable
- Drilling of high priority growth targets ready to commence in the coming month.
- Growth opportunities exist both proximal to current resources and through exploration of promising greenfields targets
- Further strategic regional consolidation options being pursued
- Mineral Resource upgrades expected in Q4 2023 and H1 2025
- Large, single open pit scenario for Cortadera being studied in H2 2023 has potential to materially increase mine life
Development Study Optimisation Program
- Continuation of development study program, which will further refine metallurgical, geotechnical, and hydrogeological model inputs.
- Investigate a large single open pit scenario for Cortadera (no underground block cave) with the potential to materially increase processing feed inventory and mine life.
Based on the positive PEA results, the Company plans to complete the final stages of its PFS for Costa Fuego, which is expected to be completed by H2 2024.
- The PFS is already well advanced, with minimal study expenditure required to finalise the report.
- he addition of further resource upgrade provides an opportunity to potentially lift the mine life and scale of production.