Canada’s Rio2 launches new Chile-wide exploration strategy
Rio2 Limited, the Canadian listed mining company, has begun a new Chile-wide exploration strategy, which aims to expand its footprint in the country, in addition to the current development of its Fenix Gold project, which is located in the Maricunga Gold Belt, in the country's Atacama region.
In a statement, the company explains that its new exploration strategy is to explore for precious metal deposits that have the potential to develop into economic mining operations. The new initiative will leverage Rio2’s mine development platform in the country, it adds.
The company has recently acquired 33,356 hectares of prospective exploration ground in order to consolidate its presence in the Atacama region. It also has seven exploration prospects which remain to be systematically explored – covering a total of 11,200 hectares.
These prospects are Anacorire, Piedra Parada, Amarello, Toro, Laguna, Roca and Santa Rosa. Rio2 will carry out a systematic program of detailed geological mapping, geochemical rock/soil sampling and geophysics in the next 12 months, with the objective of defining drilling targets. The company is funded to undertake this 12-month program, the statement confirms.
“The mineral endowment of the Atacama Region is significant and we believe that there is good potential to identify new precious metals deposits as Rio2 positions itself to be a key contributor in the discovery and development of economic precious metals projects in Chile," states Enrique Garay, senior vice president - Geology, of Rio2.
Garay adds that he will lead this exploration strategy and that he is complementing the team with the appointment of Ignacio Ramos as Exploration Manager - Chile. Ramos, who will be based in Copiapo, is a Graduate of the University of Chile with 10 years of exploration experience in Chile specialising in Au-Ag epithermal deposits and Au-Cu porphyries. During his career, he has worked for Newcrest Mining, Barrick Chile, and AngloAmerican Chile.
Rio2 is focused on taking its Fenix Gold Project in Chile to production in the shortest possible timeframe based on a staged development strategy, the statement says.
In addition to the Fenix Gold Project in development in Chile, the company says it is continuing to pursue additional strategic acquisitions where it can deploy its operational excellence and responsible mining practices to build a multi-asset, multi-jurisdiction, precious metals company focused in the Americas.
DRC selects Fortescue to develop giant hydro project
Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) government said on Tuesday Fortescue Metals Group would develop the Grand Inga hydroelectric power project, including a 4,800-megawatt dam that has already been committed to Chinese and Spanish developers.
Fortescue to develop dams for world's largest hydroelectric project
Australia's Fortescue confirmed it was in talks with Congo to develop a series of dams that could become the world's largest hydroelectric project, but it said no formal binding agreement had been concluded.
Fortescue's involvement is the latest twist in Congo's decades-long quest to expand Inga, whose two existing dams - completed in 1972 and 1982 - have a combined installed capacity of nearly 1,800 MW.
The proposed expansion of six more dams would bring capacity to over 40,000 MW, roughly double the size of China's Three Gorges dam, currently the world's largest. Total development costs have been estimated at up to $80bn.
In 2018, a Chinese consortium that includes China Three Gorges Corporation and a Spanish consortium that includes AEE Power signed a deal with Congo's government to develop the third dam, known as Inga 3.
Ground has yet to be broken on Inga 3 because of questions over its financial viability. Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, President Felix Tshisekedi's top infrastructure advisor, said the project would now be led by Fortescue.
"Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga (3 to 8). Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue," he told Reuters."There has been discussion between Chinese (Three Gorges) & AEE and (Fortescue) since last year to work together."
Three Gorges and AEE Power did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
DRC's Grand Inga green energy project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs
In a memorandum of understanding signed between Fortescue and Congo in September 2020, Fortescue "acknowledges the existing potential rights held on Inga 3 by third parties".
"In the event that, for any reason, such rights to develop Inga 3 become available, the government of the DRC undertakes to secure for Fortescue Future Industries an exclusive first option to develop Inga 3," it said.
A senior official at the government's Agency for the Development and Promotion of Grand Inga (ADPI), speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ADPI had not been involved in the talks with Fortescue.
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest met Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday to discuss the project. Forrest said Fortescue would use the energy from Inga to produce hydrogen to export around the world.
"The capital cost of this will be many many tens of billions of dollars and direct and indirect employment will be in the hundreds of thousands," he told reporters.
Fortescue has said it plans to fund the majority of its green energy projects off its balance sheet, investing about $1bn a year of its own money.
Fortescue's statement was made in response to an article in the Australian Financial Review.
Meanwhile, Fortescue has teamed up with Hatch, Anglo American and BHP, to form a Green Hydrogen Consortium focused on ways of using green hydrogen to accelerate decarbonisation within their operations globally.