Our exploration strategy has three components which we believe offer the greatest potential for growth. Those are:
- explore within our operational areas to potentially capitalize on existing infrastructure and to extend the life of the mines and/or increase mill output.
- to explore the Cobre Panama property to find additional copper mineralization that will have a material impact on the project.
- explore worldwide for copper deposits that are consistent with our overall corporate growth objectives
At our Çayeli and Pyhäsalmi operations, the exploration team has targeted volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits within trucking distance of our mills. A new discovery at either of these operations, even if small, could provide a significant return on investment and positively impact on the mine life.
The exploration effort at Cobre Panama resumed in 2010 with the objective of adding resources, life and value to the project in the lead up to a production decision. Exploration targets have been systematically developed and drill tested resulting in the discovery in 2010 of a new porphyry copper gold deposit named Balboa. Drill hole CC-11-010, part of a 200m scoping drill pattern, intersected 2.3% Cu, 2.2 g/t Au over 124m, confirming the significance of the discovery. Since then the deposit has been drilled at 100m centers and is rapidly moving towards a mineral inventory. The exploration program in 2012 will continue to explore for extensions to Balboa, test new and large, stand-alone anomalies and also look for significant extensions to several of the other deposits in the Cobre Panama cluster where they remain open and have geophysical indications of continuity into untested areas.
Our objective on the generative side is to continue to develop a pipeline of quality future growth opportunities with the potential for delivering 100,000 tonnes of annual copper production over a mine life of at least 25 years.
We believe that copper-gold and copper-molybdenum porphyry deposits, sedimentary-hosted copper deposits, skarns and iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposits are most likely to help us meet our growth objectives.
We have progressively increased our annual exploration budgets from approximately $7 million in 2007 to over $30 million in 2011, to help us find and advance these opportunities.
We have teams and field offices in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Finland and are partnered with explorers in the southwest USA and Australia.
We continue to evaluate new frontiers in the belief that innovation is essential to maximizing the odds of success. Those frontiers are in the form of new jurisdictions, new geological models, new technologies, partnership structures and risk management.
Here are some examples of our generative exploration projects:
- In the Lapland region of Finland, we are assessing copper porphyry potential in a highly prospective but under-explored mineral district.
- In Mexico, we have, over the past two years, acquired a number of properties showing potential for porphyry copper deposits under pediment cover. Target generation and drill testing is ongoing.
- In Peru, several properties have been acquired that cover peripheral copper and gold mineralization that is potentially genetically linked to porphyry mineralization at depth. Drilling will continue into 2012.
- In northern Chile, a number of properties have been acquired in world class copper districts. Drilling continues on a number of buried copper-gold porphyry systems, one of which covers over two square kilometers.
- Four properties in south central Arizona are active and all show promising indications of significant copper porphyry systems.
- A large property position in the Lachlan Fold belt of New South Wales, Australia, will be explored for copper-gold porphyry systems using innovative geophysical technology
For property submittals please email exploration
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
the leading technical society of professionals in the Canadian minerals, metals, materials and energy industries