Alta Copper announces robust economics for Cañariaco Copper Project with US$2.3 billion after-tax NPV and 24% IRR

Whittle Consulting recently supported Alta Copper on the Optimised Preliminary Economic Assessment for their Cañariaco Copper Project. 

Below are extracts from the press release published by Alta Copper on the 15th May 2024. Click here to read the full press release.

Vancouver, British Columbia, May 15, 2024. Alta Copper Corp. (TSX: ATCU; OTCQX: ATCUF; BVL: ATCU) (“Alta Copper” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce attractive economics results from the 2024 Optimized Preliminary Economic Assessment ("2024 PEA") at its 100% owned Cañariaco Project (“Cañariaco” or the “Project”), a world class porphyry copper project, located 700 km northwest of Lima. The 2024 PEA has been prepared by Ausenco Engineering Canada ULC ("Ausenco"), AGP Mining Consultants Inc. (“AGP”) and Whittle Consulting Pty. Ltd., ("Whittle"), respectively leading international engineering and mining consultancy firms.

All values contained in this press release are reported in US dollars.

Cañariaco 2024 PEA Highlights 

  • Robust Economics:  Cañariaco 2024 PEA using 8% discount factor and three year trailing average metal prices of US$4.00/pound (lb) copper (Cu), US$1,850/ounce (oz) gold (Au) and US$23.00/ounce (oz) silver (Ag):
    - Base-case Pre-tax Net Present Value ("NPV8%") of US$4.1 billion and IRR of 32.4%
    - Base-case After-tax NPV8% of US$2.3 billion and Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 24.1%
    - Significant Upside to Higher Metal Prices - At US$4.50/lb Cu After-tax NPV8% of US$3.2 billion and IRR of 28.9% (See Table 1)
    - Highly Leveraged to Copper Price: For every US$0.25/lb Cu increase above US$$4.00 Cu approximately US$425 Million is added to the After-Tax NPV8%
  • Life-of mine (“LOM”) metal production of 8,026M lb (3,642M tonnes) Cu, 1.67 million oz Au, and 33.2 million oz Ag
  • Average annual metal production (Year 1 to 10) of 347M lb (158k tonnes) Cu; 70K oz Au; 1.5 million oz Ag
  • Average annual metal production LOM of 294M lb (134K tonnes) Cu; 61K oz Au; 1.2 million oz Ag
  • After-tax Average Annual Free Cash Flow (Year 1-10) from Start of Operation: US$538 million
  • After-tax Average Annual Free Cash Flow LOM from Start of Operation: US$383 million
  • C-1 cost of $1.86/lb copper (net of by-products)
  • Total average operating cost of $11.21 per tonne processed
  • All In Costs ("AISC") of $1.96/lb copper
  • Pre-production capital cost of $2.2 billion based on leased mining equipment and including a contingency allocation of 21% on initial project capital
  • Rapid After-tax payback period of 3.1 years from initial production with a 27 year mine life
  • One of the lowest capital intensities when compared to other current global copper development projects

Whittle Consulting's Mine Plan Optimization

A key part of the mining plan development for this 2024 PEA included comprehensive mine plan optimization analysis by Whittle Consulting.  This analysis includes a very detailed assessment of metal grades, metal prices, metal recoveries, mining and processing costs throughout the deposit, and by applying advanced computational analysis, including by the use of Whittle’s proprietary Prober-E software, develops an optimized mining plan to maximize the net economic value of the mining operation.  A key aspect of this mine planning strategy is that it brings forward cash flow and optimizes the net present value of the deposit. This approach involves advanced pit phasing techniques and takes advantage of variable mining cutoff grades, plant feed stockpiling and blending strategies during the life of the mine plan.

Giulio T. Bonifacio, Executive Chair, commented 

"We are extremely pleased with our 2024 PEA which is well advanced as we have clearly benefited from several previous engineering studies and a wealth of experience from our external international engineering firms. This PEA will prove of great value as we advance Alta Copper to the next stage. The PEA shows that Cañariaco is clearly a Tier 1 asset that provides a long-life, large-scale copper project producing annual average copper of 158,000 tonnes per year in the first 10 years. The Cañariaco project is economically robust with considerable leverage to increasing copper prices while also possessing considerable upside through resource expansion drilling with numerous high priority drill targets identified to date at Norte, Sur and the undrilled Quebrada Verde porphyry target". 

Click here to read the full press release published by Alta Copper on the 15th May 2024

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