Castillo Copper (ASX: CCZ) hit a massive milestone for its North West Queensland Copper Project, with the preliminary pit optimisation study for the Big One deposit showing a Net Present Value of $28 million dollars.
Completed by Entech Group, the pit optimisation study focused on the known near-surface component of the Big Ones’ 21.1Mt @ 1.1% Cu for 21,886t copper metal inferred resource and showed that an optimised pit shell could potentially deliver up to 6,266t
copper @ 1.42% Cu, 4,362oz silver @ 0.31 g/t Ag and 1,469t cobalt 0.33% Co.
These results have given the explorer confidence in the potential of a standalone mining operation being developed at the Big One, with known mineralisation open south-west and down dip from the pit shell giving Castillo the opportunity to build on preliminary findings and progress a mining license.
Figure 1: Prospects within the NWQ copper project
Alongside extensions to the Big One, the NWQ also hosts further potential for expansion with an additional 20 incremental copper, gold, lead, and zinc prospects across the NWQ Copper Project, which provides the potential for CCZ to develop a series of satellite deposits and explore further avenues for revenue.
The delivery of the study comes at a prime time for the Company as it doubles down on its namesake metal by expediting the development of both the Big One and the Cangai Copper Mine, with Castillo now eying an upgrade to Cangai’s already massive 3.2Mt @ 3.35% for 107,589t copper metal resource.
Castillo’s move to return focus to the red metal stems from its belief that copper’s long-term outlook remains positive due to the transition to green energy placing upward momentum on the price of copper and generating pressure for greater exploration to establish new supply chains of the red metal.
And this belief appears to be well-informed, with Trading Economics estimating that copper will rise from where it currently stands at US$3.7 per pound (10:39 am UTC + 8 hours) to US$4.10/Lb in 12 months’ time.
In its Critical Minerals Market Review for 2023, the International Energy theorised that the potential recovery of the Chinese economy alongside the anticipated acceleration of energy transitions could see the copper market turn to deficit after 2024, due to ongoing issues within the current supply chains combined with the lack of high-quality, large-scale copper projects in the pipeline.
The Company said that with results in hand, its top priority is to find a strategic development partner to take the Project to the next level.
“The Board is delighted with the findings from Entech’s preliminary pit optimisation study, as it provides significant confidence a standalone mining operation can potentially be developed at Big One Deposit,” Castillo’s Chairman Ged Hall said.
“More importantly, the Board believes the study’s insights will be key to securing a strategic partner to progress critical development work moving forward.”
CCZ’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price has risen 25 per cent today, currently selling at 1c (11:07 am UTC+ 8 hours).