"Today, there is not a long list of junior held copper projects. Pecoy still offers great potential to expand its existing resources and already has sufficient size to justify moving to the development phase with over 5 billion pounds of copper contained in the deposit."
What have been the most recent developments at the Pecoy porphyry?
After last year's drilling, we began the engineering studies on Pecoy. We hired several engineering companies to complete a power line study, a road study for access to the coast, a water well study that has provided positive results for a pumping station from the gravels, and a tailings and waste dump study. What is remaining is the pit scheduling, which will be done over the next months, with the pit design, tonnes per day figures and a mine schedule. We will also have the economic evaluation with the capital cost estimate to build the mine. All this is being done at a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) level report that will be ready in early May 2018.
The current resource at Pecoy is 644 million Mt at 0.334% Cu, at a 0.25% Cu cut-off grade. We are looking at the higher-grade portions of the deposit to have the quickest payback possible. We own 51% of Pecoy and we have the right to reach 80% ownership by 2021 by completing a feasibility study and making a final cash payment. As part of the feasibility study, we will have to do additional drilling, engineering and metallurgical studies along with environmental work.
What would you say are Pecoy's main advantages from a location standpoint?
We benefit from being on the coastal desert in Arequipa. There are very few people living in the area and no one actually lives on the deposit. The closest community to our project is mostly dedicated to informal mining when they are not working at Pecoy. We maintain a good and respectful relationship with the community and as mining is the main economic activity in the area, we do not compete with other sources of income for the community.
What are the highlights at your 100% owned Tororume porphyry project?
Last year we did some preliminary drilling at Tororume under our first permit, and we intersected good copper mineralization, and have now proven that there is a second porphyry system within 8 km north of Pecoy. Now, we are waiting for the activation of our second permit to begin drilling the two highest priority porphyry copper targets at Tororume. Once we obtain the final activation to the permit, we are planning to drill up to 5,000 metres targeted on the main zone. Since Tororume is close to Pecoy, all the ore could easily be processed in one central plant.
When do you think the market conditions will be favorable for a potential listing of Pembrook?
We are always interested in the opportunity of going public. The copper market is improving, but right now we feel that it is still a little early to consider that option for junior mining companies. Having said that, a 43-101 compliant PEA is the type of technical report that is appropriate to use to go public if market conditions become favourable. Most of our Pembrook shareholders are individuals, and over 17% of them are Peruvian.
What parts of the regulatory framework should be improved in Peru?
The permitting process is still too slow, so that needs to improve. It is true that there have been some regulatory improvements, but the time to obtain a permit remains too long. The system needs to be streamlined so that Peru can attract more early stage exploration investment. Otherwise, investors will take their money to another country where you can begin drilling faster.
How do you expect the copper market to behave in the near future, and what is Pembrook's positioning there?
The copper market grows by about 2% every year. We are not replacing copper mines fast enough, so I think that the copper market demand will perform very well moving forward, along with increased prices. This will allow for more development of copper assets, so Peru has a bright future.
Today, there is not a long list of junior held copper projects. Pecoy still offers great potential to expand its existing resources and already has sufficient size to justify moving to the development phase with over 5 billion pounds of copper contained in the deposit.