Teck Resources announced on July 16 an agreement to purchase additional shares of AQM Copper, increasing its interest in the company by about 10.45% to 30.35%. The transaction was valued at about C$1.5 million.
AQM's key asset is the Zafranal porphyry copper project in southern Peru. Zafranal is being developed by Cia Minera Zafranal, a 50:50 AQM:Teck joint venture, with AQM as the operator. Mitsubishi Materials holds a 40% interest in AQM's 50% interest.
A UDR200 core drill at work at the Zafranal porphyry copper project in southern Peru.
AQM had previously announced on July 2 approval by the joint-venture partners of a $30 million budget to complete an NI 43-101-compliant pre-feasibility study (PFS) of the Zafranal project. The company also will conduct a formal environmental and social baseline study and other engineering and environmental studies that will be required for the eventual preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment. The PFS is expected to take about 18 months to complete, with an associated peak workforce of approximately 240 employees and contractors.
The Zafranal project is located about 150 km by road northwest of the city of Arequipa. An updated preliminary economic assessment completed in September 2013 considered an open-pit mining operation processing 44,000 mt/d of mill feed, producing an average of 54,556 mt/y of copper in concentrate, with an additional heap leach/electrowinning operation expected to yield an average of 5,949 mt/y of copper cathode.
Initial capital to develop the project was estimated at $1.122 billion.