Chilean copper-gold explorer Hot Chili (ASX: HCH) is readying to begin drilling newly identified large-scale exploration targets as it lifts its growth horizon at the Costa Fuego copper-gold hub.
Costa Fuego is a wider project and comprises the combined Cortadera and Productora resources that lie 14km apart.
Combined resource from the two deposits currently total 724 million tonnes grading 0.48% copper equivalent for a contained 2.9Mt copper, 2.7 million ounces gold, 9.9Moz silver and 64,000t molybdenum.
Advanced 3D geochemical targeting has been used for the first time across Costa Fuego, with this work generating targets that accurately mirrored existing copper resource models at both Cortadera and Productora.
Two new large targets identified
Two large targets have been identified: Productora Central and Santiago Z, which are both considered potential game-changers by Hot Chili.
The company says both targets are larger in size than Cuerpo 3, the main porphyry at Cortadera.
At Cortadera, three rigs are operating to upgrade its maiden 451Mt resource.
A fourth rig will begin exploration drilling at Productora Central in the December quarter, while Hot Chili expects to receive drilling approval for Santiago Z in December.
The company has accelerated exploration across its coastal range holdings over the past year.
Previous drilling failed to crack Productora’s source
At Productora Central, the company says “significant” exploration efforts in the past have been unsuccessful in locating the potential source of the 1.2Mt copper and 800,000oz of gold deposited into the main breccia fault corridor at the Productora project.
But the 3D technology located a target measuring 1.2km by 1km positioned along the western flank of the planned central pit of the Productora operation.
“The location of the Productora Central along the regionally important northwest-trending Serrano fault zone — and its location with respect to the most well-endowed sections of the Productora resource — is considered particularly encouraging,” the company states.
At Santiago Z, the company has confirmed a target which is associated with a previously identified 4km-long molybdenum anomaly.
Hot Chili has said previously that combining Cortadera and Productora into Costa Fuego as one central development hub has cemented the project as one of the largest copper developments in Chile.
Next assay results from resource expansion drilling at Cortadera are expected shortly.