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NEW YORK, Aug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Copper supply can’t keep up with the booming demand for copper, putting net-zero emissions targets at risk, according to a new report from S&P Global. Copper is essential for electric vehicles, wind and solar power, and infrastructure that transports and stores renewable energy. The report projects that copper demand will almost double to 50 million metric tons by 2035 and reach over 53 million metric tons by 2050. To put that number into perspective, S&P Global noted that it’s “more than all the copper consumed in the world between 1900 and 2021.” Solving the supply shortage isn’t as simple as building new mines. A new copper mine takes an average of 16 years to start up, according to the International Energy Agency. Companies mining copper like Barrick Gold (NYSE: GOLD) (TSX: ABX), Capstone Copper (TSX: CS), Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE: SCCO), and BHP Group Ltd (NYSE: BHP) need to increase production to meet the higher demand, while companies exploring for copper, like Torq Resources Inc. (OTCQX: TRBMF) (TSXV: TORQ), need to make new copper discoveries to uphold the supply for the major miners.
Torq Resources Inc. (TSXV: TORQ) (OTCQX: TRBMF) is a Vancouver-based copper and gold exploration company, and one of the few that can say that it has recently made a brand-new copper-gold discovery. Torq has a portfolio of premium holdings in Chile, including its Santa Cecilia gold-copper project and the Margarita Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold (IOCG) project, where the discovery was recently announced and drilling has just resumed. This project is located on the Coastal Cordillera belt in Chile, where the company made a discovery of 90 m of 0.94% of copper and 0.84 grams per tonne (g/t) gold during the very first drill program on the project.
On August 2, Torq Resources announced that is has identified new high priority targets at the Margarita Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold project. The Remolino and Cototuda east targets have been defined based on the similar geological, geochemical, and geophysical characteristics observed at the Falla 13 discovery drill hole 22MAR-013R, which intersected 90 metres (m) of 0.94% copper and 0.84 g/t gold.
The Remolino target area measures 900 m by 250 m and is characterized by magnetic and conductivity highs similar to those observed along the Falla 13 structural corridor. The Cototuda target area is similar in nature to the Remolino target area, it is characterized by magnetic and conductivity highs measuring approximately 400 m by 300 m. According to Torq Resources, these targets have the potential to define new pods of mineralization beyond the Falla 13 structural corridor, which is currently being drilled to expand the mineralization found in drill hole 22MAR-013R.
“Following our new discovery made along the Falla 13 corridor, our technical team reviewed all available data sets which led to the refinement of the Remolino and Cototuda targets that have similar geological, geochemical and geophysical signatures to the discovery,” said Michael Henrichsen, Chief Geological Officer at Torq Resources. “We believe that these targets have high potential to host new bodies of copper-gold mineralization and we look forward to testing them in a third phase of drilling.”
Last month, Torq Resources began its follow-up drilling program at the Margarita project. Torq plans to drill approximately 4,000 m in its second phase of drilling along a 1 km length of the Falla 13 structural corridor. Geochemically, the target area is characterized by a copper-in-soils anomaly, which was defined by portable X-Ray fluorescence and gold in select rock samples over a 900 m strike length.
Copper Miners Are Progressing on Exploration
Barrick Gold (NYSE: GOLD) (TSX: ABX) announced preliminary second-quarter sales of 1.04 million ounces of gold and 113 million pounds of copper. Meanwhile, preliminary Q2 production amounted to 1.04 million ounces of gold and 120 million pounds of copper. As previously reported, Barrick expects its 2022 gold production to increase throughout the year. With the best second-quarter performance, it remains on track to meet the 2022 gold and copper guidance. Barrick, which is focused on high-margin, long-life operations and projects in the world’s most prospective gold districts, has a 50/50 joint venture project with Newmont in the Atacama Region of northern Chile called Norte Abierto. Norte Abierto, which is next door to Torq Resources, Santa Cecilia, is one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold and copper deposits.
On June 13, Capstone Copper (TSX: CS) announced brownfields drilling results from the 2021-2022 exploration program at the Cozamin mine in Mexico and the Santo Domingo project in Chile. The company also provided results of discoveries from the Planalto project in Brazil and an update day of activities in Copper Cities in Arizona, USA. Santo Domingo is a first-quartile copper-iron-gold project with an opportunity to build a low-cost, vertically integrated, battery-grade cobalt business. It is the only fully licensed project in Chile. Capstone‘s 2021-2022 exploration program in Santo Domingo is the first to be undertaken on the project since 2012. Eight holes have identified over 1.5 km of mineralization at approximately 500 m deep, containing low-grade and high-grade cobalt associated with magnetic iron. Capstone thinks more drilling could extend the resources and join the mineralized sequence through the planned Santo Domingo and Iris Norte pits.
Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE: SCCO), one of the world’s largest integrated copper producers, reported Q1 2022 net sales of $2.76 billion, a 9.1% increase from Q1 2021. Growth was mainly attributable to higher metal prices for all the company’s main products except silver (-8.5%). This increase was partially offset by a decrease in the sales volume of copper, molybdenum, and silver. Net income came in at $784.7 million, a 2.7% increase compared to the $763.8 million registered in Q1 2021. Copper production decreased by 23,922 tons (-10%) in Q1 2022 on quarter-on-quarter terms. On April 28, Southern Copper announced a quarterly dividend of $1.25 per common share, payable on May 31, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 17, 2022. Southern Copper operates mining units and metallurgical facilities in Mexico and Peru. It carries out exploration activities in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.
On July 11, BHP Group Ltd (NYSE: BHP) announced it would receive the world’s first carbon-neutral conveyor belts from China’s Wuxi Boton in August to its Spence copper mine under an exclusive pilot project between the two companies. BHP will use the conveyor belts in producing and transporting Spence mining products to customers worldwide, including China. The scope of the pilot project was for Wuxi Boton, as the incumbent contractor of BHP‘s operations at Minerals Australia and Minerals America, to select the conveyor belts to be ordered by BHP and determine how to offset the estimated greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with the production of these conveyor belts using high-quality carbon offsets before delivery.
Meanwhile, Torq Resources is emerging as a leader in new exploration on premier mining belts in Chile, with a brand-new discovery already made and follow-up drilling underway now.
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