SCM Berta Operation
SCM Berta SA (“SCM Berta”) is the entity which holds the Berta mine, Nora plant and has optioned the El Jote mineral deposit, all of which are located in Chañaral Province, III Region, Northern Chile. The Nora Plant, located 5km north of the town of Diego de Almagro, was acquired to process Pregnant Leach Solution (PLS) from its Berta deposit located approximately 20km west of the village of Inca de Oro. Coro owns 65% of Berta with ProPipe SA owning the remaining 35%.
SCM Berta is currently in production and undergoing expansion of production capacity from the current 3,000 tonne (6,613,870 lbs) per year to 4,800 tonnes (10, 582,190 lbs) per year of copper cathode. Copper cathode, the ‘plates’ of 99.99% pure copper that are output from an SXEW (Solvent Extraction & Electrowinning) plant, may be sold directly from the plant without further refining.
In mid-2014, SCM Berta was presented with the opportunity to acquire the existing Nora SXEW plant, which would give SCM Berta the ability to achieve production earlier than otherwise possible, and with a significantly reduced execution risk and cost, by eliminating the need to build a standalone SXEW Plant at Berta. The Nora plant was built in 2009 comprising a 750,000 tonne per year crushing circuit and a 3,000 tonne per year (6,613,870 lbs) SXEW copper-producing plant with associated heap leach pads, spent ore stockpiles, piping, PLS ponds etc., together with certain other mining properties and surface rights.
The Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for SCM Berta had envisioned a phased development with the trucking of high grade material and the later development of crushing and leaching facilities at Berta (the “Berta facilities”). In February 2016, the Company announced that SCMB had successfully completed commissioning the Nora plant and in 2016 commenced trucking high grade material to Nora. In December 2016, the Company elected to accelerate the development of the Berta facilities with an operational target of mid-2017. In conjunction with the build out of the Berta facilities – including the installation of a Berta crusher, agglomerator, leach pads and site facilities – plans include expansion of the existing Nora plant to a capacity of 400 tonnes of copper cathode per month (4,800 tonnes or 10,579,200 pounds per year) and the installation of PLS and water pipelines between Nora and Berta.
The conclusions of an updated PEA were announced in June 2015
http://sedar.com/DisplayCompanyDocuments.do?lang=EN&issuerNo=00025132 Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Berta Project Inca de Oro, III Region, Chile – filed 31 July 2015, file size 19,686k].
See Resource Estimate below.
With a reserve calculation planned for mid 2017, the resource estimate for Berta includes the Berta Sur deposit, and the Berta Central deposits which comprise five individual but adjacent deposits which have been subject to prior small scale open pit mining. At a $3.0/lb long term copper price, the following pit-constrained resources were estimated in 2015:
|Category||t x 1000||%CuT||%CuS||t CuT||t CuS|
|Measured & Indicated||17,604||0.37||0.23||63,800||41,600|
- A pit-constrained Measured and Indicated Resources of 17.6mt at 0.37%CuT at a cutoff grade of 0.1%CuT:
- Measured Resources 14.1mt at 0.38% CuT
- Indicated Resources 3.5mt at 0.29% Cut
- Open Pit Mine Plan:
- High grade trucking material 0.4mt @ 0.83%CuT for 2.7kt copper cathode production
- Heap leach material 6.8mt @ 0.56%CuT for 29.5kt copper cathode production
- Dump leach material 5.9mt @ 0.20%CuT for 5.3kt copper cathode production
- Total copper production of 37.8kt of copper cathode production
- Waste of 5.3mt
- Life of mine strip ratio of 0.4:1
- Mine Life of 8 years
- Reprocessing of Nora spent ore stockpiles for anticipated production of approximately 30 tonnes per month (66,140 lbs) of copper cathode for roughly 12 months
- Base Case copper price of $2.80/lb
- Average life of mine cash operating costs of $1.59/lb Cu
- Phase 1 capital costs of US$7.2m, Phase 2 capital costs of US$12.6m with total Life-of-Mine capital costs of US$23.0m (including closure costs and sustaining Capital)
- Base Case pre-tax NPV (8%) of US$46.4m with an IRR of 83%.
- Base Case after tax NPV (8%) of US$35.2m with an IRR of 75%.
- Sensitivity to copper price
|NPV ($ millions)||Pre tax||After tax||Pre tax||After tax||Pre tax||After tax|
For full technical information on Berta, please click here (LINK to PEA on Sedar) to view the “Amended Restated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Berta Project Inca de Oro, III Region, Chile” filed on Sedar October 8, 2015.
Geology of the Berta Deposit
The Berta Deposit is a near surface, copper oxide deposit, with mineralization, as defined by drilling, mapping and geochemistry, occurring in three principal areas; Berta Sur, Berta Central and Berta Norte. It is associated with sub-vertical, elongate, porphyry intrusive bodies and related hydrothermal and intrusive breccias, emplaced into a tonalite stock. Oxidation extends from surface to depths of 50m to 100m. Berta Sur comprises a single, coherent body of mineralization that has not been previously mined, while Berta Central comprises several smaller breccia bodies, located immediately north of Berta Sur, which were the focus for previous small scale artisanal copper oxide production. A resource estimate has been completed for Berta Sur and Central. Berta Norte comprises several, discreet, NW oriented zones of mineralization, largely gravel-covered, and potential for additional copper oxide resources is present elsewhere on the property and in the surrounding district.