Tesoro considering El Zorro infrastructure options

Tesoro Gold (ASX:TSO) has executed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Aguas CAP subsidiary Cleanairtech Sudamérica regarding water supply to the El Zorro Gold Project in Chile.

Tesoro, via its 89% ownership of El Zorro SCM, says the MoU is to establish an understanding to jointly investigate the technical and economic feasibility to eventually execute a contract to supply water and/or brine (wastewater from the desalination process) to El Zorro.

The MoU is valid for two years and can be terminated at any time by either party. 

Tesoro is planning additional metallurgical testwork using the brine water supply supplied by Chilean company Aguas from the latter’s desalination plant about 28km by road southwest of El Zorro.

Brine water has salinity about twice that of sea water but is still significantly less saline than the typical Eastern Goldfields ground water, which is commonly used in gold processing plants in Western Australia.

El Zorro SCM is in the final stages of obtaining its own maritime concession at Punta Obispito, some 15km west of the Ternera gold deposit. The concession will allow construction of a seawater pipeline and associated pumping infrastructure to supply El Zorro with seawater. 

Additional environmental studies and permitting are required before construction and operation of a seawater pipeline from the maritime concession area can be approved, however the granting of the concession will provide a nearby alternative option for the supply of water to El Zorro. 

Tesoro Managing Director Zeff Reeves says reaching a mutually beneficial outcome would provide a major benefit to, and further de-risk the project.

“Having multiple potential options for water supply emphasises the location advantage of El Zorro, being proximate to existing infrastructure and service providers necessary for the economic development and operation of a gold mine. In our view, El Zorro is located in one of the best locations in the world for development of a gold project and we look forward to continuing to advance and de-risk the project.”

The company says it will continue to advance options for water supply to El Zorro over the coming months to select the most beneficial option for the project. 

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: Tesoro
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.