It looks like Hot Chili (ASX:HCH) has a copper porphyry monster on its hands.

Today, the Chilean explorer reported an extended 750m long intersection with grades of 0.6 per cent copper and 0.2 grams per tonne (g/t) gold.

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These grades are consistent over the entire intersection, which could represent the beginnings of a bulk tonnage, high-grade zone at depth at the Cortadera copper-gold project.

Hot Chili says this materially changes “the potential scale and pedigree of the discovery”.

We’re often told “grade is king” (which isn’t really true by the way; just look at the grades of some of the biggest, most profitable mines in the world) so 0.6 per cent copper might not sound that exciting.

But because of their easy-mining large volumes, porphyry orebodies can be economic from copper concentrations as low as 0.15 per cent.

Just look at London-listed market darling Solgold, which has recorded 1.5km long intersections grading 0.6 per cent copper and 0.5g/t gold at the advanced Cascabel porphyry discovery in Ecuador.

Right now, Cascabel has almost 11 million tonnes of copper metal and 23moz of gold in inventory, at overall grades of 0.39 per cent copper and 0.26g/t gold.

But new discoveries like this are rare, which makes Hot Chili’s find pretty remarkable.

Because that before-mentioned 750m intersection was terminated at about 1.9km and ended in mineralised porphyry:

With the first phase of drilling done and dusted, Hot Chili confirms that it has engaged an independent consultant to prepare an initial resource estimate for Cortadera.

“The new, bulk tonnage, high-grade zone discovered at Cortadera exhibits many similar characteristics present in some of the world’s most notable large-scale underground porphyry mines and developments, not least of all its combined copper and gold grade,” the company says.

“The potential scale of this zone is unknown and remains largely open, representing a very exciting focus for Hot Chili’s second phase of drilling.”


In other base metals news today:

Superior Lake (ASX:SUP) says “no red flags” as it finalises a bankable feasibility study on its namesake zinc project in Ontario, Canada. Importantly, the company continues to receive “strong interest” from global metal traders which has resulted in two indicative proposals being received by the company to date. These proposals are the first step towards securing binding offtake agreements in the future, Superior Lake says.

“Discussions with potential offtake partners has also highlighted the possibility of additional funding outside of the senior project finance facility to be linked with offtake,” the explorer says. “An offtake related financing typically is in the form of mezzanine debt or concentrate pre-payments. This funding would further reduce the equity component for financing project development.”