Los Helados is subject to a Joint Exploration Agreement with Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. (PPC). Pan Pacific Copper is the operator of the Caserones copper mine located approximately 12 kilometers from Los Helados and is one of the largest buyers of copper concentrates in the world, providing feed for its copper smelters in Japan and Korea.
||63% (37% Pan Pacific)
as of December 31, 2018
||Region III, Chile 135km SE of Copiago
NGEx holds an approximately 63% interest in Los Helados subject to a Joint Exploration Agreement with Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd., (“PPC”) which holds the remaining approximately 37%. NGEx is the operator of the Los Helados Project.
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 could be conducted year-round.
Los Helados is a grassroots discovery made by the NGEx team in 2009. The initial discovery hole, LHDH004, returned a 762 metre interval grading 0.43% copper and 0.22 g/t gold. This was followed up by LHDH016 in 2010 which was the first hole into the deposit’s high-grade core, returning 737 metres grading 0.64% copper and 0.30 g/t gold and LHDH017 in 2011 which revealed the true size of the deposit with a 1,090 metre interval grading 0.51% copper and 0.26 g/t gold. S&P Global Market Intelligence ranks Los Helados as the 4th largest copper deposit discovered globally between 2008 and 2017.
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 and the system also remains open at depth. 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 expansion.
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%.
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 testwork completed to date indicates Cu recovery ranges from 84.2% to 93.9%, gold recovery averages 76% and silver recovery averages 60%.
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.