"Change is a feature of Latin American politics, fortunately, in the case of Chile, change has been often progressive in nature."
How is Altiplano’s business model unique among junior mining companies?
Our revenue generator model is based on acquiring and developing a portfolio of near-term production assets combined with quality, scalable exploration projects. We can use the revenue generated from these assets to support the development of current and additional revenue assets and provide funding for large scale exploration projects. This is unique because we can provide our investors with cash flow and upside exploration potential without having to depend on the capital markets for funding.
Can you tell us more about the expansion plans of Farellon and its timeline?
Altiplano began extension of the Hugo Decline at Farellon in early 2020 to access additional copper-gold mineralized material at depth within the iron oxide copper gold vein system. To date, we have accessed the 376 m level underground and will soon begin new work to access lower levels. We are expanding also to the southwest where we have observed good grades. Our goal is to work off of multiple development headings to increase efficiencies, maximize output and ultimately reduce costs.
How will Altiplano’s new processing facility increase recovery and capacity?
Our new mill under construction is located 15 km from Farellon at El Péñon. The facility is designed to recover copper and gold and reduce the current processing and trucking costs by 33% and 75%, respectively. We have also designed a magnetic iron recovery circuit which will allow us to capture high value iron concentrate and reduce tailings output by 45%. The facility will also include a de-watering system that will reduce freshwater consumption by 75% and produce dry tailings, ensuring our operations minimize our footprint.
What are some of your other projects with revenue generation potential?
Maria Luisa (Au-Cu) and Rosario (Cu-Au) are high grade former producers that have the potential to restart in 3-6 months. Rosario, located 600 m from Farellon, returned grades from a recent underground chip sampling program on average at 2.88% copper and 0.37 grams per tonne gold over a 180 m strike length. Maria Luisa, near Incahuasi, yielded an average grade of approximately 6.85 g/t gold and 1.89% copper from previous production results. Engineering studies are being finalized to determine the most optimal method for extraction.
What makes Chile an attractive mining investment destination?
Chile sits at the top in rankings as premier mining destination. Direct mining investment is an important contributor to GDP at approximately US$72.5 billion and is expected to increase to US$74 billion over the next decade. For small scale mining in Chile, the permitting process is streamlined and organized and thus very supportive. Chile, also with its deep-rooted mining culture, has a very good pool of mining talent.
I understand there is some concern regarding the change of the constitution, however, when it comes to Chile, I am confident that any transformation will be smooth and non-disruptive to the mining sector. There is a great centuries old mining culture in Chile, and I believe its citizens and politicians will recognize the importance of mining and the contribution it brings to the country. Change is a feature of Latin American politics, fortunately, in the case of Chile, change has been often progressive in nature.
We are witnessing a strong market for copper and gold. What are your projections for the next year?
2020 proved a record-breaking year for the gold price, spurred by low interest rates and government stimulus packages used to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. We are witnessing a similar recovery for copper as we did during the SARS outbreak in China in 2003. Chinese fiscal stimulus packages - actual spending policies - are fuelling record growth in copper demand. I expect the West will also see an increase in demand for copper as new fiscal stimulus programs begin to take hold. In addition, the green energy movement requires copper to rebuild infrastructure. The supply shortages as a result of the pandemic and the forecasted increase in demand for copper, in my opinion, will drive a bullish market for the metal.
How do investors perceive Altiplano Metals?
Altiplano is a growth story and, over the last months, our share price has been steadily increasing, so investors are becoming more aware of the value we bring to the market.