The new drill result represents exceptional near-surface grades, providing an exciting potential additional front-end ore source for the Company’s Costa Fuego coastal range copper-gold development.
Assays results returned for VALMET0002, a twin Diamond Drill (DD) hole of Reverse Circulation (RC) drill hole AP0009, recorded 3 metres grading 12.1% CuEq (Copper Equivalent) (11.8% copper, 52.6 g/t silver) within a broader drilling intersection of 12 metres grading 4.6% CuEq (4.5% copper, 16.5 g/t silver) from 25 metres depth down-hole.
The result confirms a significant 120-metre extension of high grade, copper-silver mineralization to the south of the historical Valentina underground mine and provides material for development-related metallurgical testwork, key to the inclusion of the Valentina Resource in the Costa Fuego combined prefeasibility study (PFS) due in Q1 2023.
Copper soluble analysis has confirmed that mineralisation is principally sulphide (chalcocite, chalcopyrite, covellite) and amenable to flotation recovery, thus key to Valentina’s potential to contribute to early sulphide cash flow generation.
Mineralization at Valentina is now defined over approximately 300 metres strike, and is open at depth and along strike. In addition to VALMET0002, new significant intersections from the phase-2 drill program also include 5 metres grading 1.5% CuEq (1.5% copper, 7.8 g/t silver) from 179 metres (VAP0017), including 2 metres of 3.3% CuEq (3.2% copper, 16.4 g/t silver); 2 metres of 2.0% CuEq (1.9% copper, 6.7 g/t silver) from 45 metres (VAP0016); 2 metres of 1.5% CuEq (1.5% copper, 9.3 g/t silver) from 68 metres depth (VAP0013) and 3 metres of 1.5% CuEq (1.4% copper, 8.2 g/t silver) from 24 metres (VAP0015).
Results have been returned for 11 of the 17 phase-2 drillholes with assays pending for six drill holes. Of the 11 drill holes returned, four drill holes recorded significant drill intersections (outlined above), three drill holes intersected the mineralized structure (0.2% to 0.5% copper), one drill hole intersected historical workings (ineffective), and three drill holes did not intersect mineralization.
Phase-two drilling at Valentina has focused on proving continuity of the mineralized trend along-strike and at-depth below the historical shallow underground mine.
The results of VAP0017 (5m grading 1.5% copper, 7.8 g/t silver, including 2 metres grading 3.2% copper, 16.4 g/t silver) confirm continuity of the steeply dipping mineralised host-structure, 100 metres below historical mine workings.
Importantly, high-grade results recorded in VAP0009 and VALMET0002 lie on the southern extent of drilling in an area previously masked at-surface by a shallow horizon of Atacama gravels. Significant extensional potential remains untested in this area.
Mineralization is interpreted to be fault-hosted, dipping steeply towards the east within a sequence of volcanic-sedimentary units, similar to the deposit setting of the neighbouring San Antonio resource (Inferred resource of 4.2Mt grading 1.2% CuEq (1.1% copper, 2.1 g/t silver) for 48kt copper and 287koz silver, reported March 2022).
Hot Chili is on-track to deliver its next resource upgrade for Costa Fuego later this year followed by a PFS for in Q1 2023.
Hot Chili is studying a multi-decade, 100ktpa copper and 70koz gold production base for Costa Fuego. The project will employ central processing to combine multiple ore sources and take advantage of significant infrastructure advantage (water, power roads, port) and strong environmental credentials (sea water processing and access to 100% renewable power contributions).