Coro Mining Snapshot
Coro Mining is a copper-producing company with a strategy to grow its Chilean copper production through the discovery, development and operation of “Coro type” deposits. These are projects and properties that are well-located with respect to infrastructure and water, have low permitting risk and the potential for a short and cost-effective timeline to production. Our preference is open pit heap leach copper projects, where we will seek to minimize capital investment rather than maximize Net Present Value; where we will prioritize profitability over production rate and where we will keep capital costs in relative proportion to our market capitalization. The Company’s main assets include its 65% interest in SCM Berta, which includes the Nora and Berta operations and the El Jote deposit, the Marimaca development project, in which the company is earning a 75% ownership, and the 100% owned Ivan SXEW processing plant.
A Leveraged Cash Flow Strategy
Using in-house exploration and development expertise, the Coro strategy is to grow a mining business through the discovery, development and operation of “Coro type” projects which have the following characteristics:
- Stage of development when discovered/acquired is immaterial, preferably open pit
- Close to infrastructure & water
- Cost effective with a short timeline to production
- Environmentally simple & socially acceptable
- Financeable relative to Coro’s market capitalization
- Readily scalable with additional exploration
Coro will then develop them by:
- Accelerating commencement of production
- Minimizing initial capital investment rather than maximizing Net Present Value
- Prioritizing profitability over production rate
Coro has a series of properties, projects and operations that range from exploration to development to copper production as well as several projects with potential income generating capabilities.
Coro is currently focusing its efforts and capital on in two key areas: first, fast tracking development at its Marimaca project located in Chile’s Region II and second, production expansion at its SCM Berta operation, located in Chile’s Region III, a proven mining-friendly jurisdiction. Other properties and projects represent future growth or income potential.
Marimaca is an open pit mineable, heap leach project with a maiden resource (released in January 2017) of 145,500 tonnes (320,772,600 lbs) of Measured & Indicated + 99,300 tonnes (218,919,000 lbs) of Inferred contained copper (* see Marimaca Mineral Resource). This deposit is open in three directions, has a low strip ratio, exhibits good metallurgy and is well-located with respect to infrastructure.
SCM Berta, 65% owned by Coro and 35% by ProPipe, SA, is the entity which holds the Berta copper mine, the Nora SXEW (Solvent Extraction & Electrowinning) plant and the El Jote mineral deposit. Leaching facilities have been installed at Berta to expand copper production capacity from 3,000 tonne (6,613,870 lbs) per year to 4,800 tonnes (10, 582,190 lbs) per year. The El Jote deposit has the potential to provide additional mineral resources to expand or extend production at this operation. ProPipe is a Chilean engineering company which serves as a development team for Coro operations.
Other Chilean projects include Prat plant, which has the potential to contribute to Coro’s future copper production, the 100% owned Llancahue project representing future exploration potential, and the 100% owned Celeste iron ore project, shuttered until recovery in iron ore prices.
SCM Berta Operation
- Coro owns 65% of the Berta open pit mine and the Nora SXEW processing plant
- Nora plant expansion to 4,800 tonnes (10,582,190 lbs) per year of copper cathode completed in mid-2017
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 has undergone expansion of production capacity from 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 – the Nora plant has been expanded to a capacity of 400 tonnes of copper cathode per month (4,800 tonnes or 10,579,200 pounds per year) and pregnant leach solution (PLS) and water pipelines are planned to run between Nora and Berta.
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Development - Marimaca/Ivan Operation
The Marimaca copper oxide project, located in the II Region of northern Chile, close to the coast and major infrastructure, is a 1-hour drive north of the port of Antofagasta and 22km from the port of Mejillones. It is 14km from the Antofagasta to Tocopilla via paved highwa (UTS coordinates: UTS 374,800 E and 7,434,900-N). Coro is in the process of acquiring a 75% interest in Marimaca from a local Chilean private company, SCM Compañia Minera Constanza (“Constanza”).
While no drilling had been done previous to Coro’s interest in this property, broad zones of copper oxide mineralization, well-exposed on the hillside, were apparent on the property and were being mined by local artisanal miners via open pit methods when this property came to Coro’s attention. Coro’s experienced exploration team believed that this property would provide a significant and low risk target that met the Coro criteria - a viable leachable copper oxide resource which could be rapidly defined at in an excellent location, all of which would ensure there limited impediments to its expeditious development.
In 2017, Coro completed the acquisition of the Ivan SXEW (Solvent Extraction Electrowinning) plant with a capacity to produce 10,000 tonne per year of copper cathode, which will process ore from the Marimaca copper oxide project.
In August 2014, Coro signed non-binding Letter of Intent to acquire Minera Rayrock Ltda a Chilean subsidiary of Compañía Minera Milpo S.A.A., a Peruvian mining company. Rayrock owned Ivan SXEW plant located 18km south of Marimaca which has an installed capacity of 10,000 tonnes (22,046,230 lbs) per year copper cathode. This plant operated from 1995 until 2012, at which time it was put on care and maintenance. The Ivan plant’s associated water rights and environmental & operating permits, some of which require updating, were included in the purchase agreement. Rayrock also owned 38,283 hectares (95,000 acres) of mineral claims on which Milpo retains a 2% net smelter return (NSR). Coro acquired Rayrock for a total consideration of US$6.4 million plus an existing closure obligation.
In August 2016, following a 60-drill hole exploration program, Coro announced the new discovery at Marimaca. No previous exploration drilling had been on on this property.
Maiden resource estimate for Marimaca was confirmed in January 2017.
Coro has the right to earn a 75% interest in the property as follows:
- 51% interest earned with a $125k payment together with completion of a NI43-101 resource estimate and engineering study that demonstrates the technical and economic feasibility of producing a minimum of 1.5ktpy Cu cathode by August 6th 2018 at Coro’s cost. An additional 24% interest may be earned by Coro upon obtaining financing for the project construction
- The owner’s interest will comprise a 15% interest free carried to commencement of commercial production and a 10% participating interest subject to dilution. The owners at their election may request Coro to loan them the equity portion corresponding to their 10% interest, if any, recoverable by Coro from 100% of the project’s free cash flow after debt repayments
- Coro retains a first right of refusal
The 100% owned Celeste Sur iron ore project is located 55km NE of the port of Chañaral, in the III Region of Chile. The Celeste property is comprised of a number of concessions covering ~2,800 hectares and was acquired by Coro in 2010 for the issuance of 150,000 Coro shares and the assumption of a 2.5% copper royalty.
Celeste is contiguous with and along strike to the northeast from the ENAMI owned Cerro Negro iron oxide copper gold (“IOCG”) type deposit. Small scale artisanal copper mining activity has been carried out in the Celeste area since the early 1900s. In the period 1994 to 2002, Cominco, (later Teck Resources), Phelps Dodge and Atna conducted exploration at the Celeste Property, including the drilling of 18 RC holes for 4,161m and 16 RC holes for a total of 3,650m. No resource estimates have been completed on the property.
In September 2014, results from initial mapping, surface sampling, and test work indicated a potential target of 5-10 million tonnes at 40-50% iron. This could be capable of sustaining an operation to produce iron concentrate, using a simple, low cost, dry crushing and magnetic separation process route, enhanced by its proximity to a port with existing concentrate handling facilities.
The potential quantity and grade is conceptual in nature, being based on surface sampling and mapping only, there has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a mineral resource.
No further work is planned in the Celeste property until iron ore prices recover.
he Llancahue project is 100% owned by Coro and is located 38km south west of the City Of Talca in the VII Region of central Chile, at an elevation of less than 200m above sea level.
In November 2014, Minera Peñoles de Chile Ltda (“Peñoles”), a subsidiary of Mexican mining company, Industrias Peñoles SAB de CV entered in an option to acquire a 70% interest in the project. Coro announced the termination of this option agreement in October 2016.
Geology and Mineralization
The Llancahue property was staked in 2007 by Coro in recognition of its potential to host significant porphyry copper style mineralization. The Company had concluded that the Chilean Upper Cretaceous/Lower Tertiary porphyry belts may extend farther south than hitherto recognized, and accordingly initiated a reconnaissance exploration program following up known mineral occurrences and ASTER satellite derived alteration anomalies. Llancahue was the site of an old working for copper, and attractive copper sulphide mineralization hosted by potassically altered and brecciated diorite was present on its dump. The old workings were located on the edge of an extensive covered area, bordered to the north by propylitically altered diorites and andesites, containing disseminated magnetite.
In 2008, the Company entered into an exploration agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Corp (“Freeport”) whereby Freeport could earn an interest in Llancahue and other Coro owned exploration properties in the Talca Belt by committing to certain expenditures, including drilling. Freeport completed their first year expenditures and drilled 7 reverse circulation (RC) holes at Llancahue, but elected to withdraw from the agreement, after only the last hole in their program, LLA-07, intersected significant mineralization.
In 2009, a 6-hole reverse circulation drill program was completed, including an intercept of 100m at 1.37% copper. The drilling to date suggests that this mineralized intrusive and its brecciated contact zone is of restricted areal extent. However, the intensity of the alteration and the accompanying high grade copper molybdenum mineralization, together with the extensive propylitic halo, support the concept that a larger body of mineralized diorite or breccia complex may be present.
Mineralization at Llancahue, as currently understood, is hosted by an apical hydrothermal breccia developed around a sub vertical finger of strongly potassically altered diorite, and comprises disseminated and veinlet chalcopyrite, bornite and molybdenite. The drilling to date suggests that this mineralized intrusive, and its brecciated contact zone is of restricted areal extent. However, the intensity of the alteration and the accompanying high grade copper molybdenum mineralization, (which is anomalous in Bi), together with the extensive propylitic halo, support the concept that a larger body of mineralized diorite may be present under cover to the west of the area drilled. This is further supported by the presence of strongly potassically altered, chalcopyrite and bornite mineralized breccia float found in two other locations on the property, and by the increasing intensity of alteration around the northern and western margin of the covered area.
In December 2009, Zonge Ingeniería y Geofísica (Chile) S.A., completed a ground magnetic survey over the Llancahue property, extending an existing survey completed by Freeport.
Zonge concluded that copper and molybdenum mineralization observed in drillhole intersections generally correlates to zones of low magnetization (RTP lows or shallow zones of low 3D model magnetic susceptibility). This would suggest that currently defined zones of mineralization might extend into neighboring zones of deeper RTP low that might correlate to more intense areas of mineralization. Also, further zones of RTP lows elsewhere in the survey area might be prospective for similar styles of mineralization, particularly along a favourable strike direction.
The accompanying map shows a slice at 250m depth of the RTP magnetics, illustrating a pronounced and very extensive magnetic low anomaly, which largely coincides with the covered area. The two drill holes located within it were not drilled deep enough to test this anomaly, although the last 20m or so of LLA-02 contains elevated silver and bismuth assays, indicating possible proximity to mineralization.
Luis Albano Tondo - President & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Tondo is a highly experienced mining engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil; an MEngSc from the University of Queensland, Australia; and an MBA from the Fundacao Dom Cabral business school in Brazil. He has some 30 years of mining experience in Latin America and prior to joining Coro, spent the seven years as Chief Operating Officer at mid-tier copper and gold producers in Chile, Uruguay and Brazil, where he was responsible for operations, projects and business development activities. Prior to this, he spent five years developing multi-million dollar capital projects for Kinross Gold Corporation in Brazil and Chile, and 16 years in operations roles with Rio Tinto in Brazil. He is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101.
Alan Stephens - Executive Director
A graduate of the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London, Mr. Stephens has over 40 years of international mining experience. Before co-founding Coro, Mr. Stephens was Vice-President of Exploration for First Quantum Minerals Ltd., during which time he lived and worked extensively in Chile, Mexico and Brazil. Prior to First Quantum, Mr. Stephens spent ten years with Cyprus Amax Minerals Company managing exploration teams in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. He is a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists (US) and of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (UK). Mr. Stephens is also a qualified person for the purposes of NI 43-101.
Damian Towns - Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary
A graduate of the University of Otago in New Zealand (Bachelor of Commerce with Honors) and a Canadian Chartered Accountant, Mr. Towns has over 20 years’ experience in accounting and finance, more than 15 of which have been in the mining industry. Prior to joining Coro, Mr. Towns served as Controller for First Quantum Minerals Ltd., and prior to that was an Audit Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Canada. Mr Towns has also occupied other senior and directors roles with Company’s such as Valley High Ventures and Bearing Resources Ltd amongst others. Mr. Towns has international mining and accounting experience in Africa, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Sergio L. Rivera - Vice President of Exploration
Mr. Rivera graduated from the Universidad Católica del Norte with a Master’s degree in Economic Geology. His 32 years of experience in the exploration of base and precious metals is principally in the Andean Region of Chile, Argentina and Peru. For the past 17 years, and before joining Coro, Mr. Rivera was General Manager of Exploraciones Andinas S.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer where he played a prominent role in the discovery of several world-class ore deposits, which cumulatively contain more than 35 million tonnes of copper.
Marcelo Cortes - Vice President of Development
Mr. Cortes earned an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Engineering Sciences from the Catholic University in Chile and an MBA in Environmental Management from the University of Liverpool. His 20 years of experience in mining engineering include roles such as Project Engineer for Los Bronces, Minera Disputada of Las Condes, Hydraulic Discipline Lead for Minera Michilla S.A., Construction Lead for EPC Contract of the El Tesoro Mine, and Project Lead for El Tesoro expansion project.
Naomi Nemeth - Vice President of Communications & Investor Relations
With an undergraduate degree in Geology and a Master’s degree in Journalism, Ms. Nemeth has more than 25 years in corporate communications and investor relations, the past 13 of which have been focused on the mining industry. Ms. Nemeth began her career as an exploration geologist with Inco working in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Ontario before moving on to serve in senior investor relations and corporate communications roles in mining, financial services and pharmaceuticals.
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