Los Helados is subject to a Joint Exploration Agreement with its joint exploration partner in Chile, Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. (PPC). Pan Pacific Copper is the operator of the Caserones copper mine located approximately 12 kilometers from Los Helados.
|Project Name||Los Helados|
|Interest||62.2% (37.8% Pan Pacific) |
as of December 31, 2017
|Location||Chile (Andes near border)|
NGEx holds an approximately 62% interest in Los Helados subject to a Joint Exploration Agreement with Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd., (“PPC”) which holds the remaining approximately 38%. NGEx is the operator of the Los Helados Project. PPC operates the Caserones Mine located approximately 12 km from Los Helados.
Surface rights over the Los Helados project area are owned by a local community. NGEX has a life of project lease agreement with the owners of the surface rights covering 20,000 hectares over the Los Helados Project area. This agreement secures the surface rights needed for all future exploration, development, and mining.
The Los Helados deposit is located in the Andes Mountains of the Atacama Region, Chile. Access to the Project is from Copiapó Chile, a driving distance of about 135 km, or three hours. Copiapó has a population of approximately 150,000 people, an airport with daily scheduled flights to Santiago and Antofagasta, and companies that offer mining and exploration services.
The climate in the Project area is dry to arid and the temperatures are moderate to cold. Annual precipitation is about 250 mm, with snow at higher altitudes in the winter. Exploration fieldwork is generally carried out from mid-October to early May. It is anticipated that mining operations will be conducted year-round.
The Josemaria deposit also owned by NGEx, is located 10 km to the southeast of Los Helados, in Argentina.
Los Helados is a grass roots discovery by NGEx and there is no record of significant exploration activity prior to NGEx’s interest.
Los Helados is a copper-gold (Cu-Au) porphyry deposit. Mineralization at Los Helados is primarily hosted by a Miocene magmatic–hydrothermal breccia that forms a roughly circular, pipe-like body with minimum dimensions of 1,100 m east–west, 1,200 m north–south, and at least 1,500 m vertically. The breccia body is surrounded by a broad halo of moderate to low grade Cu–Au mineralization which diminishes in grade with increasing distance from the breccia contact. The mineralization is dated at 13.13 ± 0.32 Ma.
The breccia limits have been established by drilling to the west, east and south; however, the northern limit of the breccia body has not yet been defined. The system also remains open at depth and laterally. In particular, recent internal NGEx studies have suggested the presence of a discrete, higher-grade breccia phase occurring along the western and southwestern margins of the breccia. This high-grade breccia zone remains open for further extension.
Work programs conducted by NGEx include geological mapping; soil, rock-chip, and talus sampling; a number of geophysical surveys including induced polarization (IP)–resistivity, magnetometer, and Mount Isa Mine’s Distributed Acquisition System methodology (MIMDAS) surveys; reverse circulation (RC) and core drilling, and Mineral Resource estimation. A number of environmental baseline studies have been undertaken.
Eight drilling campaigns have been carried out at the Los Helados deposit, from 2006 to 2015. Drilling to date totals 75,634 m in 95 drill holes, of which five holes (1,366 m) are RC and 90 holes (74,268 m) are core. Core recovery from holes drilled at Los Helados averages 97%.
Link to Resource Estimate
A two phase metallurgical test work program for Los Helados was conducted at SGS Minerals S.A. (SGS) laboratories in Santiago, Chile under the supervision of Amec Foster Wheeler. Material from Los Helados was also tested for amenability to processing by High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR) by Thyssenkrupp.
The main activities completed during the metallurgical test program were:
- Sample selection for the metallurgical test programs
- Chemical characterization including mineralogical analysis
- Physical characterization
- Gold recovery using gravity processing techniques
- Copper, gold and silver recovery using conventional sulphide flotation practices
- Settling testwork.
The testwork completed to date indicates Cu recoveries range from 84.2% to 93.9%. A fixed global Au recovery estimate of 76% of the feed Au content has been used based on test work. Silver recovery was also fixed, at 60% of the feed Au content
No deleterious elements were noted in the concentrates produced from the testwork completed on Los Helados mineralization and they are expected to be marketable to copper smelters around the world.