EMERGING copper explorer and developer Hot Chili has achieved what it reported to be its “most significant milestone to date” as it looked to make a final mining decision for the Chile-based copper-goldmolybdenum Productora project within the next 12 months.
The company acquired the Uranio lease – representing a critical 1.2km portion within the centre of the project – in a public auction held by the Chilean Commission for Nuclear Energy in July this year.
The successful bid brought to a close consolidation efforts comprising nine separate deals with individual landholders spanning four and a half years, and opened the door for the potential development of a large-scale central pit at Productora, 5km south of the town of Vallenar in the country’s third region.
Hot Chili is preparing a drilling program across identified direct extensions of the Productora resource within the newly-acquired lease.
Hot Chili also outlined plans to triple Productora’s resource to more than 380 million tonnes within the next 12 months as it embarked on an infill drilling program.
In January this year, Hot Chili appointed leading engineering and project development group Ausenco to manage a scoping study for Productora with the assistance of Hot Chili’s own development study management team.
The scoping study is in advanced stages and the company is also on track to submit an environmental impact statement in early 2013.
First production from Productora, which will comprise a 10 million tonne per annum open pit operation with a 20 year mine life, has been tentatively slated for 2016.
The company defined its first JORC-complaint resource estimate for the project in September 2011 from within the central 1.4km extent of the project: 85.1mt grading 0.6 per cent copper, 0.1 per cent gold and 146 parts per million molybdenum for 483,000t of copper, 290,000oz of gold and 12,418t of molybdenum.
Further exploration has outlined a 9.5km deposit footprint at Productora where extensional drilling has confirmed significant intersections across a 5.7km strike length.