Hot Chili Limited (ASX: HCH) (TSXV: HCH) (OTCQX: HHLKF) (“Hot Chili” or “Company”) is pleased to announce the results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment (the “PEA”) for its Costa Fuego Copper-Gold Project (Costa Fuego or “the Project”) located 600 km north of Santiago, at low elevation (<1,000 m) in the coastal range of the Atacama Region, Chile. The PEA was prepared in accordance with Canada’s Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).
Costa Fuego Copper-Gold Project Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA)1 Outlines One of the World’s Lowest Capital Intensity, Major Copper Developments
- Strong Economics: Costa Fuego PEA delivers using an 8% discount rate and long-term metal price assumptions of US$3.85/lb copper (Cu) and US$1,750/oz gold (Au):
- Base-case post-tax Net Present Value (NPV8%) of US$1.10 Billion (approximately, within a range of US$733 Million to US$1.46 Billion) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 21% (approximately, within a range of 17% to 25%)
- Base-case pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV8%) of US$1.54 Billion (approximately, within a range of US$1.05 Billion to US$2.03 Billion) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 24% (approximately, within a range of 19% to 29%)
- Low Start-up Capital: US$1.05 Billion estimated, resulting in fast 3.5-year payback. Initial phases of open pit mining fully fund development of a bulk underground operation
- Low Capital Intensity: One of the lowest capital intensities of global copper development projects
- Approximately 112 ktpa Average CuEq2 Production Rate: Including 95 kt Cu and 49 koz Au during primary production (first 14 years) at C1 Cash Cost3 of US$ 1.33/lb (estimated net of by-product credits)
- Initial Mine Life: 16-years with 1.41 Mt Cu and 718 koz Au produced for total revenue of approximately US$13.52 Billion and total free cash flow of approximately US$3.28 Billion (post-tax, after operating costs, capital costs, and royalties)
- Conservative Approach: 20% contingency on capital and US$3.30/lb copper price for optimisations
- Low Elevation with Advanced Permitting: One of only a few global copper development projects at low elevation with a water permit and power connection
- Highly Leveraged to Copper Price: For every US$0.10/lb increase above US$ 3.85/lb Cu price, US$100 Million (approximately) is added in post-tax NPV8%
- Resource Growth Potential: 30,000 m drilling program set to commence across multiple targets
- Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) Planned for Release by H2 2024: 80% of workstreams to support a PFS are completed, with minimal study costs remaining
- Single, Large Pit Scenario for Cortadera: Being studied in H2 2023, with potential to materially increase mine life and scale
Hot Chili’s Managing Director Mr Christian Easterday commented, “The Costa Fuego PEA cements Hot Chili’s position as the largest copper developer listed on the ASX by both resource size and potential scale of copper production.
Costa Fuego ranks highly amongst global peer projects1 and stands out as one of the world’s lowest capital intensity, major copper developments. The PEA indicates a strong investment case for advancing Costa Fuego to a PFS for what would be a low-cost, low-risk, long-life, large-scale copper project, which is extremely leveraged to both resource growth and copper price appreciation.
I am very pleased with our entire teams’ effort to deliver the PEA on-time and within guidance and look forward to delivering on our objective to transform Hot Chili into the only 100 thousand tonne copper producer listed on the ASX outside of the control of major miners.
We are focused on our next steps in resource growth and the delivery of an optimised and potentially larger project definition for our pre-feasibility study next year.
The recently announced US$15 Million investment agreement with Osisko Gold Royalties positions the Company to be fully funded for the next 12 to 18 months to deliver on our growth and development timetable.”
Chairman Nicole Adshead-Bell affirmed, “Hot Chili is now one of a select group of companies with a copper development project of this scale of production that is not controlled by a major. The Company is also advantaged by its coastal, low elevation location and abundant existing infrastructure, reducing its economic hurdle and resulting in the lowest capital intensity of its global peer projects.
Our decade long efforts on decreasing development risk, including acquiring water rights, surface rights and securing connection to the electrical grid, will materially reduce development timelines when we make the decision to advance the Project through final permitting.
Hot Chili is very well positioned to benefit from the looming structural shortfall in copper production1 due to the size and scale of the Project. Combined with the ability to more quickly advance to production when compared to some of our development peers, due to our 10-year long commitment to reducing exogenous risk combined with the strong ESG credentials of Costa Fuego”.
Chief Operating Officer Grant King further added, “The PEA outlines for the first time – a combined production hub approach for Costa Fuego, utilising centralised processing for open pit and underground production sources.
We have taken a conservative approach in the PEA – Twenty percent contingency has been applied to all capital costs, Mineral Resources are reported at US$3.00/lb copper price, mining optimisations were undertaken at US$3.30/lb copper price and financial modelling at US$3.85/lb copper price, with closure costs included.
Our PFS is well advanced and awaiting the outcome of further resource growth activities before finalising study scale. We will also investigate a large single open pit scenario for Cortadera (no underground block cave) with the potential to materially increase processing feed and mine life.”
The company will be hosting webinars on 29th June at 9.30 am AEST / 7.30 am AWST (for Australian audience) and at 10.00 am EST (for North American audience) to brief shareholders and investors on the outcomes of the Costa Fuego PEA.
Hot Chili’s Chief Executive Officer Christian Easterday and Chief Operating Officer Grant King will be hosting the call, which will also include a Q&A session.
The following links will provide access to the Costa Fuego investor briefing webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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