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Hot Chili reveals new plan for Chilean water concessions

Updated: Apr 19

Hot Chili’s compelling water assets in the Atacama region in Chile. Credit: File

Hot Chili (ASX: HCH) has applied for a second maritime concession in Chile as it looks to develop a new company that will have an overflowing stream of water infrastructure assets.

Management says the new company will be aimed at servicing the growing demand for the valued commodity from the community, other mining companies and local farmers within the fast-growing region.

The company today confirmed it had submitted its latest maritime concession application to support the potential for a whopping long-term, regional multi-user seawater and desalination water supply network for the Huasco valley area of the Southern Atacama region of Chile that sits about 600km north of the Santiago capital. The second application includes brine discharge for potential seawater desalination operations as part of a push to deliver both raw seawater and desalinated water from its proposed network.

Hot Chili is now preparing to transfer all of its water assets into the new standalone company that it will still control. It says positive discussions with several potential desalinated water customers in the Huasco Valley region have already taken place, in addition to engaging with potentially suitable infrastructure partners.

It has also held talks with Chilean Government regulators to determine the best approach for its proposed plans and is reviewing the potential for direct government support to assist with driving the project forward. Management believes such a positive development within the region could trigger substantial local mining investment and deliver impressive growth to the company’s market value.

Water scarcity is THE critical issue for new mine developments in the Atacama on both the Chilean and Argentinean side of the Andes. Hot Chili is the only Company holding most of the necessary permits required to provide desalinated water to the Huasco Valley – a prolific region for potential new global copper supply needed to support global electrification and decarbonation. Securing these assets has involved over a decade of commitment.
Hot Chili executive vice-president José Ignacio Silva

The company’s recently-completed concept study for a staged water network development indicated the viability of the project at an initial 300 litres per second scale, with an eventual ramp-up to 3700 litres per second.

The study assessed a potential 100 per cent renewable energy-driven desalination water project with the potential to supply those needing a reliable water supply, such as agricultural, community and new mining companies within the Huasco Valley region near to where the company’s Costa Fuego copper project sits. The region contains six major undeveloped copper projects and two new, large-scale copper discoveries, with all projects requiring desalinated water supply.

Hot Chili says it holds the only granted maritime water concession and most of the necessary permits to be able to provide much-needed critical water to the region. It says the Chilean Government is actively encouraging investment in multi-user water networks in the region, with water scarcity being one of the biggest obstacles facing new global copper supply.

The compelling Costa Fuego project’s total resource sits at 3.62 million tonnes of copper-equivalent, with resources in the indicated category of 798 million tonnes grading 0.45 per cent copper-equivalent for 2.9 million tonnes of copper, 2.6 million ounces of gold, 12.9 million ounces of silver and 68,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

The total resource classified as inferred is 203 million tonnes at 0.31 per cent copper-equivalent for 500,000 tonnes of copper, 400,000 ounces of gold, 2.4 million ounces of silver and 12,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

The Costa Fuego project comprises the Cortadera, Productora, Alice and San Antonio deposits and management says they are all in close proximity and sit at low altitude – about 800m to 1000m.

Hot Chili’s push to build an in-demand water supply network could see it deliver tremendous value to the region and it may well find itself swimming in proposals from potential users.

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