Los Andes Copper has announced positive results from an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its 100% owned Vizcachitas project in central Chile. The study describes an open-pit mine and concentrator producing separate copper and molybdenum concentrates. Three potential mill throughputs were evaluated: 55,000 metric tons per day (mt/d), 110,000 mt/d, and 200,000 mt/d. The 110,000-mt/d scenario produced the most favorable results and is being advanced to a prefeasibility study (PFS), which is planned for completion at the end of 2020.

Capital costs to develop the 110,000-mt/d project are estimated at about $1.9 billion. Initial production is currently planned to begin near the end of 2024. Payback period from initial production is estimated at 3.4 years.

Los Andes Executive Chairman Fernando Porcile said, “We are delighted with the results of this PEA, which highlight the significant opportunity that the Vizcachitas project presents and which we believe will be Chile’s next major copper mine …

“Vizcachitas currently has a significant measured and indicated resource of 1.284 billion mt at a copper equivalent grade of 0.45%, and production of 110,000 mt/d will only see half of the resource depleted by the end of the mine life. Additionally, the mineralization is open at depth and to the north, and Los Andes holds a significant land package in the district, meaning that there is potential to increase the resource substantially.

The Vizcachitas PEA was prepared by Tetra Tech Chile S.A.