El Mercurio Antofagasta:

Marimaca: el nuevo gran proyecto minero que avanza en la Región de Antofagasta

Jun 28, 2019

Marimaca: el nuevo gran proyecto minero que avanza en la Región de Antofagasta

Yacimiento ubicado en la Cordillera de la Costa, frente a Mejillones, cuenta con reservas cercanas a 200 millones de toneladas de óxido de cobre.

"Chile sigue siendo el país de Sudamérica más atractivo para la inversión minera". Así de convencido está el presidente de la canadiense Coro Mining, Luis Tondo, del potencial minero nacional. No en vano, la compañía que dirige avanza satisfactoriamente con el último proyecto cuprífero nuevo de gran escala que se desarrolla en la región: Marimaca.

Se trata de un yacimiento ubicado en plena cordillera de la costa, frente a Mejillones. Si bien su explotación a escala artesanal data de al menos 40 años, fue sólo en 2015 cuando uno de los geólogos senior de la compañía -Sergio Rivera- comenzó a interesarse por algunos afloramientos y a realizar los primeros estudios.

La estimación inicial de los recursos alcanzó las 20 millones de toneladas de óxidos.

No obstante, un joint venture con la familia dueña de la propiedad posibilitó a Coro Mining comenzar una campaña de sondajes y a la vez ingresar a la propiedad. "De los 18 pozos que hicimos en esa primera fase de exploración, encontramos mineralización en 16, lo cual resultó muy sorpresivo y agradable para nosotros", relata Tondo.

Recursos
Esa fase inicial de prospección terminó con 27.500 metros de sondajes, que definieron los primeros recursos oficiales de la propiedad: 76 millones de toneladas con una ley promedio de 0,51% de cobre oxidado.

Simultáneamente, Coro Mining compró algunos activos de Milpo (Ex Rayrock ubicada a unos 20 kilómetros de Marimaca) como la planta y algunas propiedades, para viabilizar un proyecto de explotación que les permitiera cumplir con las exigencias del contrato de joint venture y seguir avanzando en el proyecto.

"Debíamos demostrar que era económicamente factible una operación minera que alcanzara una producción mínima de 1.500 toneladas de cátodos anuales. Lo cual -a esta altura- es muy bajo, considerando el potencial de Marimaca", admite Tondo.

Actualmente la compañía está enfocada en una segunda fase de prospección -iniciada en diciembre de 2018- que incluye varias propiedades aledañas a Marimaca, como Atahualpa, Tarso y La Atómica, entre otras, constituyendo ya un distrito.

"Con los primeros sondajes ya logramos identificar que la mineralización se extiende hacia esas áreas, llegando a los 1.400 metros de largo por 800 metros de ancho y si consideramos el mismo espesor de Marimaca, entonces podríamos alcanzar recursos por 200 millones de toneladas a 0,51%, explica Tondo.


Red Cloud and Coro Webinar 1:

Introduction to Coro Mining, the Marimaca Project and recent high grade drilling results

Jun 25, 2019


bnamericas:

Spotlight: Coro reveals Marimaca copper growth potential

Jun 20, 2019

Spotlight: Coro reveals Marimaca copper growth potential

It is common belief that in Chile there is a lack of commitment to greenfield projects with larger capex, compared to Peru or Ecuador. This has resulted in very few copper discoveries and not many additions to early stage projects in Chile's pipeline.

However, Coro Mining's Marimaca project in the Antofagasta region could challenge that belief as it could have the potential for a large-scale open pit copper operation.

After finishing a phase II exploration program at the properties surrounding the main area, the objective of the company is to increase its mineral resource and proceed with a PEA study, which it would hope to complete early next year.

This week, Coro published results from a final batch of assays identifying new multiple high-grade zones within the oxide zone, as well as primary sulfide mineralization at depth.

This updated resource estimate should be ready by 3Q19, and with this data a PEA could be done by Q4, CEO Luis Tondo told BNamericas.

“The PEA will determine the value of the project with confirmed capex and opex. I think capex and opex are going to be lower compared to other projects because we're in a privileged zone with good infrastructure with good water access. We can use seawater for a leaching operation," said Tondo, adding that the electricity lines of the northern SING grid are very close to the property.

Marimaca could also offer workers the opportunity to commute to work daily, rather than the alternative rotational mine camp systems, since the city of Antofagasta is only 60km away, Tondo pointed out.

“The project could be producing 70,000t/y copper and we believe it will have a capital cost of approximately US$400-450mn,” he aded.

FEASIBILITY STUDY

To establish its 51% ownership of of Compania Minera Newco Marimaca, Coro had to complete an initial definitive feasibility study.

The results of the feasibility study were published in June 2018, indicating 10,00t/y copper in years 2 to 10, with initial capex at US$22.6mn and cash operating costs averaging US$2.05/lb over a 12-year mine life.

Post-tax IRR is 58.8%, based on a US$3/lb copper price. Proven and probable reserves are 196,800t of copper, with average grades of 0.8%.

“The study was more theoretical at the time, because the scale of what came out of that was relatively low compared to what we believe Marimaca will be later. For example, the scale of feasibility was to produce 10,000t/y of copper cathodes. We think that with the resources that we're identifying now, that figure could increase by a factor of six, seven, or even 10,” said Tondo.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

After finishing the PEA, hopefully in early beginning of 2020, Tondo said that there are two viable development options.

The first option is to carry out a new infill drilling program in 1H19 to obtain the measured and indicated resources and in 2H19 begin a prefeasibility study.

Tondo said that the company is preparing an environmental impact declaration (DIA) to obtain the necessary drilling permits and have them ready by the end of this year.

"Our aim is to identify at least 200Mt with 0.5% copper grade. And that almost puts us at the level of a large-scale project,” he said.

The second option is to sell Marimaca to a bigger miner.

“A project of this magnitude will need capex that for Coro on its own will currently be a big challenge to finance. So we could have a JV or we are even prepared to to sell 100% of the project if there's a good offer,” he said, adding that other bigger companies have already been asking for more information on the project.

GEOLOGICAL MODEL

Marimaca is an intrusive orebody while the mantos deposits in the region are volcanic.

There is a preconception that in the coastal range, there can only be large volcanic rock projects, but this is changing with Marimaca, said Tondo.

“This shows that there are still good deposits in Chile if one thinks outside the box and leaves out the preconceived geological models. You tend to hear that there are no new projects in Chile, but with this project we're showing that this isn't true.”


Mining Journal:

Coro eyes openpit potential at Marimaca

Jun 20, 2019

Coro eyes openpit potential at Marimaca

Coro eyes openpit potential at Marimaca Coro Mining (TSX: COP) says the final batch of assays from an enlarged RC drilling programme at Atahualpa are building the openpit potential for its Marimaca copper project in Chile.

President and CEO Luis Tondo said Coro had discovered new, multiple high-grade zones within the oxide zone at surface, and for the first time was starting to see "fairly continuous higher-grade primary sulphide and secondary mineralization open at depth".

Highlights included 46m at 1.25% copper oxide mineralisation from 24m, and 78m at 1.3% copper from 78m confirming primary sulphide mineralisation.

"These results continue to confirm our thesis that Marimaca has the potential to be a large-scale openpittable copper deposit and will now be incorporated in the enlarged project resource estimate, which remains on track for completion during the third quarter 2019," Tondo said.

The company had originally planned to drill 51 RC holes at Atahualpa but decided to drill a further 41, taking the total to 92 holes and 24,816m.

The exploration success and Coro's confidence in Marimaca prompted it to expand the project area by 34% last month, entering an option to acquire the adjacent Llanos and Mercedes claims for US$2 million.

Coro reported having $15.6 million in available cash at the end of March, boosted by the recent sale of its non-core Berta mining operation in Region III for $8.5 million.

Coro shares closed 5.5% higher yesterday to C9.5c, capitalising it about $138 million (US$104 million).


The Assay:

Q&A with David Street

Jun 11, 2019

Q&A with David Street

Thank you, David for contributing to The Assay. Can you give our readers a short introduction to Tembo Capital?

Tembo Capital is a private equity fund management group which has two funds focused on junior and mid-tier mining companies. We raised our first fund in 2014 which was largely focused on Africa. In our second fund we broadened our geographic remit and made a number of investments in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Brazil. We anticipate that we will continue to diversify our geographic remit with our future funds. So far, we have deployed around US$250 million across 13 investments.

We employ an experienced group of people who combine technical skills (mining engineering, geology, and metallurgy) with mining finance knowledge and we look to partner with our investee companies to help them to advance and add value to their assets.

To start off, can you talk about Tembo Capital’s general investment strategy?

We want to focus on the best assets and management teams, so we invest in both public and private companies. We are looking for equity returns, so we primarily invest in equity and convertible instruments, but we are open to structuring our investments to best suit the company. Our aim is to build strategic equity stakes in companies and as I mentioned, to partner with the companies to help grow value in their assets. We typically look to own a significant strategic stake in companies (usually above 10%), holding a position of influence, often with a board seat. We aim to utilize the strong technical and financial experience of our team to add value to our investments. With the long-term nature of our funding, we are able to provide patient capital and have a long-term outlook which works well in the mining sector – which is essentially a long-term, capital intensive industry.

Which African countries look most attractive to Tembo Capital for potential investments?

We are open to opportunities in most countries, however in practice, although there are 54 countries in Africa, most of the investments we’ve looked at are likely to be in around 10-15 of those jurisdictions. People generalize too much about Africa.

We are fortunate that our investment team have, over many years, worked and invested across many countries in Africa and elsewhere, so we understand the on-theground opportunities and challenges well. We generally favour countries with an existing mining history and culture and a well-established mining code.

More specifically, we are very familiar with and have had quite a bit of success with gold projects in West Africa. We invested in Toro Gold which has built a mine in Senegal which is operating very well, and the company has some exploration assets in Cote d’Ivoire which I think is a very interesting and highly prospective jurisdiction going forward. Consolidation in West Africa has also been prevalent with companies like Endeavour (TSX: EDV) acquiring a number of assets. Namibia has a solid mining and investment reputation, particularly for uranium, given the substantial industry presence and we have invested in Paladin (ASX: PDN) which operates there.

What stage of project does Tembo look for? Exploration, development, or producing assets?

We have a portfolio of assets and companies at different stages in the mining cycle and we’ve invested in some earlier stage companies like Strandline, some assets that we’ve funded into production like Toro Gold and some producers like Ero Copper (TSX: ERO). The market changes over time – at some points in the cycle, earlier stage assets might look relatively cheap compared to producers and we are looking for the best risk:reward profile and the best value proposition. I think we are quite disciplined on value. Therefore, we invest right across the evaluation, development and production phases. Fundamentally, we are looking to back growth companies on attractive valuations.

While being the “last money in” to a producer is obviously appealing, the competition at that stage is much higher and the value is not always compelling given the risk. Our technical focus helps us to identify those opportunities where investing earlier than our competitors can get us ahead of the competition – potentially investing at a more attractive valuation for minimal additional risk. I would say that there is a real shortage of equity capital which is prepared to take a slightly earlier technical ‘view’ – the market for mine financing, particularly debt financing has become really competitive in the last couple of years with all the funds raised by credit/debt funds.

What other key attributes does Tembo look for when making an investment?

We always start with the end in mind and we think very carefully about the Fund’s ability to exit our investments down the road. People say that junior mining companies are like lobster-pots and it’s too easy to be lured into investments which are impossible, with a big stake, to exit; so, this is an area we really focus on. It is not enough to see an attractive or exciting niche opportunity – we are looking for assets which, over time, will be attractive to larger companies or other investors. After such a long period of tough markets in the mining sector there is a real dearth of quality new projects and ultimately major companies will need to replenish their project pipelines. That’s an obvious exit route for us.

This means the opportunities we consider ideally must have the potential for scale, high grades, low capital and operating costs and represent a clear value proposition to bigger companies. Quality assets which meet our requirements on these measures should be attractive to larger companies or investors at all stages throughout the cycle. Management is also key. Where we’ve had issues in the portfolio over the last few years, they’ve generally been management related. We are looking for experienced teams with depth and a proven ability to execute. We like to invest in teams that we trust and can work closely with to take the company from A to B, creating value in the process.

Can you tell us a little about some of your recent investments? Specifically: a. What was the rationale behind increasing Tembo’s stake in Orion Minerals (ASX: ORN) in 2018?

Orion Minerals has a very exciting development project at Prieska. It’s already one of the 30 largest VMS deposits globally – with Orion so far having defined 29Mt of copper/ zinc resources. The opportunity here is twofold. First, Orion is working on a Feasibility Study for the restart of production at Prieska. Second, as these types of VMS deposits are known to occur in clusters, there is significant exploration upside across the belt. The project also has a lot of infrastructure advantages – with power, water, roads and an existing shaft.

We recognize that South Africa does face some unique challenges, but many people ignore some of the positive aspects of the operating environment in South Africa. The industry is mature, with very good technical and engineering support, and numerous mid-tier and major operating companies across the gold, coal, PGM, and iron ore sectors. South Africa also has a really, well-developed financial system with established institutions providing mining finance which should help Orion’s growth plans going forward.

b. Tembo’s role in the refinancing of Paladin Energy:

We followed Paladin and the restructuring process very closely since 2015. We like the Uranium thematic on a long-term view and we saw the value in holding an investment in a key strategic uranium asset such as Paladin’s Langer Heinrich Mine – which is the lowest cost, open-pit uranium mine in the world. Prior to our investment, Paladin grew very fast, building two mines and acquiring a substantial uranium portfolio, but by 2017, it had amassed US$700m of debt and it was struggling with lower uranium prices. Unfortunately, the company eventually entered an administration process and the restructuring allowed Tembo to acquire a 13% stake in Paladin from the previous debt holders. The company is now doing a lot of work on preparing for a restart and it should be one of the first major producers to re-open when uranium prices recover.

c. Toro Gold and how Tembo helped fund them to production:

We are very pleased with our investment in the private company, Toro Gold. The company is performing extremely well and is generating strong cash flows. We originally invested in the company in 2014 when it was finishing off its pre-feasibility study. Since then, Toro has successfully developed the Mako gold mine in Senegal. The mine started production in early 2018 and beat its budget producing 157,000 ounces of gold in its first year of operations. It’s a credit to the Toro team that they originally discovered Mako and have taken it all the way through to production. I joined the board of the company last year and we also worked closely with management to arrange the project financing to fund construction. This is a very good example of our ability to work collaboratively with management and the other major shareholders to advance a project from the study phase all the way through project development and into production.

d. Others? I see that Nzuri Copper (ASX: NZC) is one of your investments which is subject to a take-over proposal – can you speak about that?

Nzuri Copper I think also demonstrates Tembo’s approach to structuring an investment and our willingness to work with management to create value. When we first invested in Nzuri in 2015, it had only 30% of an attractive high-grade copper and cobalt project – Kalongwe – on ground neighbouring Ivanhoe in the DRC. We worked with management, to negotiate and fund a transaction to acquire additional interests in Kalongwe and increase Nzuri’s ownership from 30% to 85%. Nzuri has since delivered a positive Feasibility Study, and while advancing project financing discussions and early work, the Company received a bid from a Chinese group, Chengtun, to acquire the Company via a scheme of arrangement. This transaction was announced in February and is progressing now.

Tell us a bit about some of your recent investments in South America?

We’re positive about the copper sector and the medium-term outlook given the lack of development of copper assets over the last few years. We’ve done very well so far with our investment in Ero Copper in Brazil which we invested in as a private company, before its IPO. It’s a very strong team and they have managed to ramp-up production smoothly at Vermelhos. It’s a really exciting district scale play and we’re very pleased to be partnering with them.

We also invested more recently in Coro Mining (TSX: COP) which has a very interesting and growing copper development project close to Antofagasta in Chile. It has really good infrastructure and they are drilling the property now and have had good results.

How is resource nationalism impacting investment decisions in Africa and elsewhere? Is there still appetite to invest despite these new concerns?

In developing countries, we understand there will invariably be pressure to ensure that the Government receives its ‘fair share’ of the mineral wealth. This situation is actually not too different in all countries – emerging markets and developed countries. We closely monitor the situation in the key countries we focus on. Like most other investors, we are most comfortable in jurisdictions with attractive mining legislation and fiscal terms and which are seeking to encourage investment. Investors are really looking for stability and no sudden surprises. Overall, I think many developing countries, know first-hand the clear benefits that a healthy and growing mining industry can bring. I also think that mining companies can really help to mitigate some of these risks with a progressive approach and particularly with a strong focus on local community relationships.


Mining Journal:

Coro Hits High Grades at Marimaca

Jun 6, 2019

Coro Hits High Grades at Marimaca

Coro Mining has released a fourth batch of results for 18 reverse circulation holes (4,466m) drilled on the Atahualpa zone at its Marimaca copper project in Chile’s Antofagasta region.

This batch brings the total number of reported holes to 75 for 20,516m, which will provide a fuller understanding of the faulting and feeders that control the higher-grade zones at the northern extension of Atahualpa.

Highlights included 44m grading 0.91% copper and 54m grading 0.85% copper in oxide mineralisation. Drilling also provided new evidence of mixed oxide-secondary sulphide and primary sulphide with intercepts including 28m grading 0.95% copper.

"The additional results show the emergence of certain high-grade areas which we had not expected as well as attractive mixed oxide, secondary sulphide and primary sulphide mineralisation," said VP exploration Sergio Rivera.

Coro aims to produce an enlarged mineral resource estimate for Marimaca for publication in the third quarter of 2019.

Shares in Coro Mining (TSX:COP) opened down 5% at C10c, valuing the company at $138 million. Its share price has increased 100% so far this year.


Minería Chilena:

PDAC 2019, Prospectos y proyectos

Apr 30, 2019

PDAC 2019, Prospectos y proyectos

Coro Mining presentó su proyecto cuprífero MARIMACA, en la Región de Antofagasta, al interior de Mejillones. Según la empresa “está demostrando su potencial para ser uno de los mejores yacimientos nuevos de óxido de cobre a cielo abierto descubiertos en Chile en los últimos tiempos”. Actualmente se está ejecutando un programa de exploración de la Fase II, totalmente financiado, dirigido a un recurso ampliado en el tercer trimestre de 2019.

Recientemente una lluvia eliminó el polvo superficial remanente por más de un siglo y reveló el lado de lamontaña de color verde en Marimaca El equipo técnico está avanzando en una segunda fase de exploración, con más de 150 pozos de perforación por aproximadamente 50.000 metros.


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