Is this the best drill result of 2019?
Hot Chili has the West Perth mining glitterati and their followers on St Georges Terrace all abuzz with news of its nearly 1km long copper-gold mineralised drill hole at the Cuerpo 3 porphyry prospect in Chile.
The latest drill result of 972 meters grading 0.5% copper and 0.2 grams per tonne gold - right from surface mind you - ranks up there with some of the all-time remarkable drill intercepts and is most likely the best hit anywhere in Australia, possibly even around the globe, for 2019.
Porphyry deposits around the world seldom grade over 1% copper, but their sheer scale tends to make them economically lucrative and attractive to the tier one players who will no doubt have Hot Chili on their radars after learning of this result.
Within the same hole, a “smaller” high grade zone of 412m recorded 0.7% copper and 0.3g/t gold, which of itself, is cause for celebration.
As a final curtsey to the crowd, the 412m intersection is also showing silver and molybdenum credits at 1.5g/t silver and 59 parts per million molybdenum.
The Perth based company’s Chilean Cortadera copper-gold project extends over a currently defined zone of approximately 2km and hosts four high-grade porphyry centres. The Cuerpo 3 prospect is just one of these centres and looks set to become a household name as it stands up in its own right amongst other tier-1s such as Newcrest’s remarkable Cadia East porphyry-copper mine in NSW for example.
Hot Chili’s Cuerpo 3 prospect has an average recorded high-grade zone to date ranging from 0.7 to 0.9% copper and 0.3g/t to 0.4g/t gold – these numbers compare pretty well against Cadia East’s mine reserve grades of 0.3% copper and 0.47g/t gold.
Cadia East occupies a mineralised porphyry 2.5km in length, 600m wide to a depth of around 1,900m.
Newcrest recently reported a 341m interval grading at 0.93% copper from Cadia-Ridgeway, adjacent to Cadia East. The entire operation has around 30 years of mine life left and is still expanding through exploration.
To give Cortadera some further context, the Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador has a mineral resource of 8.4 million tonnes of copper grading 0.41% and 19.4 million ounces of gold grading 0.29g/t.
Cascabel has prospects that have been delivering comparable widths to Hot Chili’s Cuerpo 3, with reported “bonanza” intercept widths averaging out to 958.4m grading 0.9% copper and 0.7g/t gold.
Porphyry copper-gold deposits are the giants of the mineral world and it seems that Hot Chili is now wrestling with one.
Hot Chili's Managing Director and Geologist Christian Easterday said: "Cortadera is continuing to outperform expectations the Company had set following our announcement of a deal to acquire the privately-held discovery in February this year.”
"We have recorded many stand-out drill results this year, but this latest 970m drill result from surface firmly announces Cortadera's arrival on the global copper stage”.
"In little over 9 months, we have transformed the growth trajectory for our Company and outlined what could become the world’s next Tier-1 copper-gold discovery.”
Perth-based Hot Chili snapped up Cortadera in February this year, a project that lay adjacent to its Productora and El Fuego copper assets in central Chile. The plan at Cortadera was to prove it up to be at least as big as Productora, with a view to dramatically changing the development economics of both projects.
It now seems however that Cortadera is going to get a life all of its own and its running mate, Productora, may play second fiddle. Productora itself boasts an impressive resource of 5 million tonnes of copper and about 1 million ounces of gold.
In March of 2016, Hot Chili polished off the Productora pre-feasibility study that shows an initial 11-year mine life, processing 17 million tonnes of ore per annum at 0.43% copper.
The Cortadera discovery was such a well-kept secret and was never publicly released whilst in private hands, despite containing extraordinarily wide, high grade intersections of copper-gold mineralisation.
Other notable intersections from Cortadera read like a cricket scorecard, including 90m grading 1% copper and 0.4g/t gold from just 4m down-hole and 52m grading 0.9% copper and 0.4g/t gold from 6m down-hole.
And that was just for starters.
The project also boasted a whopping 864m intersection going 0.4% copper and 0.1g/t gold from 62m down-hole, that includes a higher-grade 348m section grading 0.6% copper and 0.2g/t gold from 428m.
The Hot Chili story, while still developing, is a good one that was born out of the Goldfields when well known Kalgoorlie entrepreneur and Hot Chili Chairman, Murray Black, decided a few years ago that Chile was going to be the next mineral frontier.
Black subsequently recruited an obviously capable Geologist and now Hot Chili Managing Director, Christian Easterday and sent him in-country for a couple of years with a brief to pull together something big.
Easterday was successful in locking down the Productora bulk tonnage copper project and more recently he managed to get his foot on the El Fuego project assets, which consist of three small scale, family-run, underexplored, high-grade copper mines within about 40km’s of Productora.
All of Hot Chili’s tentacles look like they are acting in unison now with the opportunity presenting itself to blend that all-important high grade ore from El Fuego with the massive tonnage, lower grade, Productora ores and the giant Cordatera deposit that has the best of both worlds – high grades in the core and bulk tonnages at its periphery.
When Black told Easterday to go to Chile and find “something big”, it is most likely that he was dreaming about 100m long drill intersections which makes this week’s 1km long intersection look like a screaming success – gotta love it when a plan comes together.
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