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Resources Development Business Processes Exploration and development phases

A long period of preparation is needed from the start of mineral deposit exploration to completion of construction, which can take ten or more years.

1. Exploration

Prospecting by helicopter

Using artificial satellites, information is gathered over a wide area and processed. Sites interpreted as promising are then visited directly to analyze surface rock samples, and geophysical properties and relationships such as electromagnetic wave and magnetism are examined, looking for promising copper deposits.

2. Drilling surveys

In drilling surveys, drilling equipment is used to withdraw a small diameter core or cuttings of underground rock samples. These are then assayed and analyzed to confirm whether there are copper deposits and their scale. If deposit is found, in-fill drilling is continued at narrower intervals to better define the deposit.

3. Feasibility studies (FS)

Based on data obtained from drilling surveys, the scale, grade, and shape of the copper deposit are estimated, and project feasibility is studied and assessed from technical and financial standpoints. On this basis the decision whether or not to go ahead with development is made.

4. From development to start of operation

To extract ores from a target deposit, surface soil and rock without economic value is stripped. Stockpile domes for storing the extracted ores and equipment necessary for production are constructed. After all the preparations are completed, the operation phase is ready to begin.

Operation phase