Chile represents numerous opportunities for mineral exploration. It is a country with a rich mining tradition, a stable government and reasonable taxes. Set along the mineral rich Pacific-Rim, on a global scale few countries offer such exciting mineral exploration potential.
Comet Exploration Limited (‘Comet’) is an Australian unlisted public company that holds and develops mineral assets in Chile through a 100% owned Chilean subsidiary. The Company has been operating in the Lower Atacama region of Chile for 5 years and, through its associations, has a longer history with many of the projects.
Chile is an emerging economy with a strong mining focus primarily on Copper. It is ranked in the Top 25 countries (of 92 surveyed) by the prestigious ‘Fraser Institute’ in their latest survey of mining and exploration companies worldwide. In 2015 Chile produced around one third of the World’s copper. Most of this production came from large deposits. For example, the USGS summary of ‘copper porphyry’ deposits in Chile averages more than 5 million tonnes of contained copper metal per deposit.
Comet’s project portfolio has been built up over a 25 year period and has been secured based on extensive local knowledge of the geology and mineralisation of the sector of Chile in which the Company operates. At an early stage in its project initiation, Comet sought independent advice and input from widely reputed global experts. These experts are all strong believers in the potential of the Company’s portfolio of projects.
Comet has focussed within a specific region of Chile, namely the Atacama Region, which is known for its enormous mineral wealth. It is host to numerous porphyry deposits for copper as well as gold and silver. The area includes La Copia, which is the world’s most productive silver mine as well as many of the world’s largest Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) deposits, for example Candelaria and Manto Verde.
There is the presence of known mineralised systems, exemplified by previous mining activity in Comet’s project portfolio, none of which have been subjected to modern exploration – either geophysics or drilling – except by Comet. Comet’s ‘first mover advantage’ has therefore enhanced the potential for a major new discovery. There is also very strong potential within some of Comet’s Projects for smaller projects that could be brought into production sooner enabling an earlier cash flow than from major discoveries, utilising existing regionally located Government or privately owned facilities for processing of ore.
Comet was originally established as an exploration company – and this is reflected in its major tenement holdings, which hold high potential for both porphyry-style and ‘IOCG’ style Cu and Au deposits, as well as manto- and multi-vein style base metal, Au and Ag deposits. The size of the tenement holdings, coupled with their mineralisation and geological features support potential for the presence of ‘world class’ mineral deposits.
Comet has, in addition, targeted self-funding through the development of small to medium sized mining projects in the company’s target region.
The Company secured agreements over two potential near term copper/gold projects near the city of La Serena in 2016. The development of the projects (Farellon and Maria Luisa) was progressed through 2017 under a joint venture farm in by a Canadian Listed Company (Altiplano Minerals Limited) whereby they committed to provide US$2 million in funding to earn a 50% equity in the two projects. During 2017, under the operatorship of Comet, a 400-metre development decline was completed behind the primary structural target at the Farellon. Extraction and sale of ore from the operation commenced in December 2017, following cross cutting to the mineralised zone. Shortly after commencement of sales, an offer was received from Altiplano to purchase Comet’s 50% share in the joint venture – which the Company accepted. The consideration was payable in the form of 7.5 million shares in Altiplano Minerals and a Net Profit Interest – with a gross value of approximately $4 million as at the middle of June 2017.
Comet has three well established platforms for growth:
A prime portfolio of exploration projects in one of the most exciting largely undeveloped regions of Chile. The portfolio has been built based on 25 years of active exploration work in Chile, and all of the projects have been taken to the stage where the geological evidence of their potential has been well established.
The Company is in the process of developing and further exploring two projects located close to the major centre of La Serena in north central Chile, approximately 460 km north of Santiago. The first development target (Farellon) is located in moderate terrain at low altitude close to La Serena. It is a Cu (+Au) iron-rich multi-vein system that has been mined in the past and is able to produce ore with copper grades of +2% in sectors of the veins. The second development project is situated close to the small town of Incahuasi, about one-hour drive north of La Serena and is rich in copper and gold. The Company has a number of other projects in the same general region under initial investigation.
The company is being approached on a continuous basis by holders of tenements and mines which suit small to medium high grade production. A number of these are currently under examination by Comet and can form the basis, subject to availability of capital, of a significantly expanded and accelerated growth strategy for the company.