We seek to expand our mineral resource base to ensure our long-term future, undertaking exploration activities in Chile and abroad, focused on the Americas.
Exploration in Chile and internationally remains a key contributor to the sustainable long-term growth of our copper business. We have an active programme of early and intermediate-stage projects managed by our exploration teams in Santiago and Toronto. Exploration is managed using these in-house teams and includes a well-balanced portfolio of exploration properties in Chile and Peru. The teams manage their own programmes in Chile and look for opportunities with third parties in the Americas outside of Chile, with the aim of building a portfolio of long-term copper projects.
Exploration and evaluation expenditure, which includes expenditure on pre-feasibility studies, increased by 14% in 2019 to $111 million compared with 2018, as expenditure at Twin Metals was increased and exploration activities in Chile progressed.
Our exploration programmes in the copper belts of northern and central Chile continue, particularly in areas with high prospectivity for porphyry copper, as well as manto and IOCG (Iron Ore Copper Gold)-type deposits. During 2019 the early stage programmes drilled more than 100,000 metres, 10% more than in 2018, with most of the drilling on two properties.
Also, as part of the long-term development of the Centinela Mining District, we continued geological evaluation and drilling at several projects in the area to identify new high-quality projects, particularly leachable oxides.
International exploration efforts remain concentrated on the key copper belts of North and South America, with a strong focus on Peru and western North America. South American activities were led from the Group’s office in Santiago and North American efforts from the office in Toronto.
Annual Report 2019