Codelco announces new copper discoveries

Monday, April 18, 2005

Exploration in 2004 by Chilean state copper corporation Codelco has unearthed two new discoveries in Chile and one in Brazil, Codelco executive president Juan Villarzú said on Monday.

Last year's discoveries in Chile are a new orebody at the Toki cluster close to Codelco Norte division's operations in northern Chile's Region II and Mocha further north in Region I, according to the Codelco chief.

Mocha is a sulfide deposit with resources of some 450Mt with an average grade of 0.5%, he continued. Meanwhile, the Toki cluster resource now totals 23Mt of contained copper.

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"Codelco is the company that has made the most discoveries in Chile in the last 10 years and has done so at the lowest cost per tonne of contained copper," Villarzú said in a report to congress on the company's activities last year.

In Brazil after three year's of exploration Codelco has identified a mineralized orebody with economic prospects known as Boa Esperanza, said Villarzú. "We hope to be in a position to estimate a mineral resource before the end of this year."

The only other country that Codelco explores in outside of Chile is México, where it has a JV with Industrias Peñoles in Sonora state.

Since the end of 1992, Codelco has doubled reserves and resources to 16.8Bt grading 0.75%, the equivalent of 126Mt of copper, of which 43% are in the proven and probable category. This will provide production for 60 years at the current rate of extraction.

The reserves and resources are broken down into: Codelco Norte with 6.05Bt grading 0.66% for 40Mt of copper; Salvador with 243Mt grading 0.58% for 1Mt; Andina with 5.73Bt grading 0.77% for 44Mt; El Teniente with 4.26Bt grading 0.89% for 38Mt; and Gaby with 545Mt grading 0.44% copper for 2Mt.

In addition the company has resources that total 130Mt of contained copper, Villarzú reported.

The world's largest producer of copper, Codelco forecasts production of 1.75Mt in 2005.