The Caserones open pit mine is developed upon a large porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit in the Atacama Region of the northern Chilean Andean Cordillera, 162 kilometers southeast of the city of Copiapó, at an approximate height of 4,300 meters above sea level. The Mine is operated by SCM Minera Lumina Copper Chile SpA, which is indirectly owned 100% by JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation (“JX Nippon”).
Caserones is located at the southern end of the well documented Maricunga mineral belt and comprises an Early-Miocene porphyry system associated with a cluster of dacite porphyries and breccias intruding Palaeozoic granitic, volcanic, and metamorphic rocks. Caserones has a well-developed supergene enrichment profile of oxide copper and secondary chalcocite that overlies hypogene sulfide (chalcopyrite-molybdenite) mineralization.
EMX has acquired an effective 0.418% Net Smelter Return (“NSR”) royalty on the operating Caserones Copper-Molybdenum Mine (the “Caserones Royalty”). In doing so, EMX expects immediate and long-term cash flow from a significant porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit in a top tier mining jurisdiction (see Company news release dated August 17, 2021).
Caserones produces copper and molybdenum concentrates from a conventional crusher, mill and flotation plant, together with copper cathodes from a dump leach, solvent extraction and electrowinning plant. In 2020 the mine produced 104,917 tonnes of fine copper in concentrate, 2,453 tonnes of fine molybdenum in concentrate, and 22,056 tonnes of fine copper in cathodes (as reported in Lumina’s 2020 Annual Report). The Caserones open pit has operated with an average waste:ore strip ratio of 0.47, has 17 years remaining in its current mine plan, along with excellent exploration potential. In a news release dated November 9, 2020, JX Nippon announced plans for “stepping up exploration efforts in areas around the mine” in an effort to expand production and extend the mine life.
The acquisition of the Caserones Royalty provides immediate enhancement to EMX’s royalty cash flow and secures long-term proceeds from copper and molybdenum production in one of the world’s top mining regions. This transaction nicely compliments the Company’s portfolio of royalty interests in South America, which has become a recent emphasis in the Company’s growth strategy.