Culpeo Minerals will begin trading on the ASX later this month after closing a $6 million oversubscribed IPO – giving investors exposure to its copper portfolio in Chile’s prospective Atacama region.
In the oversubscribed IPO, investors were offered up to 30 million shares at $0.20 each.
“This IPO brings a portfolio of three copper focused projects together. All of these projects are under explored and offer significant exploration upside,” Culpeo’s managing director Max Tuesley said.
“What we are excited about is that after completing significant geophysical and geochemical exploration programs, we can now move into drilling our near surface targets.”
Projects in ‘tier-one’ mining area
Culpeo’s copper-focus comes at a time when the electrification of the world will depend on explorers finding and producing far greater quantities of the red metal.
The company is bringing to market three projects (copper and copper-gold) located in what the company’s prospectus described as “the tier-one geological endowment and mining jurisdiction of Chile”.
Geoff McNamara, who is Culpeo’s non-executive chairman, noted the long and rich mining history of Chile.
“It is currently the world’s largest copper producer and consistently ranks as one of the best jurisdictions in the world [in which] to develop and operate mining assets,” he stated in the prospectus.
Three years spent acquiring key assets
Culpeo was incorporated in 2018 and has now acquired the Las Petacas, Quelon and San Sebastian projects.
It owns 58% of Las Petacas in the Atacama region of northern Chile, close to the city of Copiapo.
The project is 10km from the Pan-American Highway and consists of 22 granted exploration concessions.
Geological mapping shows extensive outcropping copper and known copper mineralised trends.
“Existing (historical) drill holes were focused on the known prospect areas at the time but there remain large untested zones,” the company noted.
Quelon lies 240km north of Santiago, near the regional centre of Illapel, where Culpeo has the right to earn an 80% stake.
The project contains numerous historic mines. Copper grades up to 3% have been recorded from rock chip sampling and the historical workings.
About 55km from the port city of Caldera is the 100%-owned San Sebastian project, also part of the Atacama region.
Previous mining produced copper at an average grade of 6.8%.
Directors have extensive mining experience
Chairman Mr McNamara is a geologist with more than 25 years’ experience and has held senior positions at Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines, Lion Ore International and the former Western Mining Corporation.
He has also worked in private equity, including as a director of Societe General’s mining finance team in New York.
Culpeo’s managing director Mr Tuesley is a 30-year geology veteran, who has worked on projects in Mongolia, Sudan, Laos and the Philippines, and was a senior executive at Xtrata (now part of Glencore).
Zeff Reeves is a non-executive director.
He has spent 20 years as a geologist and is currently the managing director at Tesoro Resources (ASX: TSO), which recently made the El Zorro gold discovery in Chile.
The other non-executive director is Paul Schmiede, a mining engineer with more than 25 years of experience. He is currently vice-president Toronto-listed Samara Resources which is developing gold assets in Burkino Faso.