Norte Abierto (Cerro Casale) Project

Click for more information



Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotNorte Abierto is one of the world's largest undeveloped gold and copper deposits, located in the Atacama Region of northern Chile.

Approval of the environmental impact assessment for Cerro Casale was received in January 2013 from the Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental, the environmental authority of the Atacama region of Chile. Barrick and Newmont are evaluating ways in which the Norte Abierto deposits can be profitably developed by the joint venture.


Barrick Gold Corp. 50 % Indirect
Newmont Corp. 50 % Indirect
Compania Minera Casale (operator) 100 % Direct
On June 9, 2017, Barrick completed a transaction with Goldcorp (which was acquired by Newmont in 2019) to form a new partnership at Cerro Casale. Pursuant to the transaction, Goldcorp acquired a 25% interest in Cerro Casale from Barrick. The transaction, coupled with the concurrent purchase by Goldcorp of Kinross’s 25% interest in Cerro Casale, resulted in Barrick’s and Newmont’s current interests of 50% each in the joint operations, which was renamed Norte Abierto.

Deposit type

  • Porphyry
  • Breccia pipe / Stockwork


The Cerro Casale gold–copper deposit is located in the Aldebarán sub-district of the Maricunga Volcanic Belt in northern Chile. The Maricunga belt is made up of a series of coalescing composite, Miocene andesitic to rhyolitic volcanic centres that extend for 200 km along the western crest of the Andes. Reverse faults parallel to the axis of the Andes have uplifted hypabyssal intrusive rocks beneath the extrusive volcanics, exposing porphyry-hosted gold-copper deposits in the Aldebarán area. In addition to Cerro Casale, the Aldebarán property is host to several, less-explored, satellite deposits including Zona de Vetas, Eva, Cerro Roman, Estrella, Anfiteatro, Jotabeche, and Romancito Sur.

The Cerro Casale deposit is exposed in a hill of approximate 700 m of vertical relief and 1 km in diameter. Mineralization is related to a series of dacitic to dioritic intrusives, which were emplaced into Miocene andesites and volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks. The Miocene volcanic rocks overlie Oligocene conglomerates, which in turn, overlie Eocene basaltic andesites and rhyolite pyroclastic flows.

At Cerro Casale, gold–copper mineralization occurs in quartz–sulphide and quartz–magnetite–specularite veinlet stockworks developed in the dioritic to granodioritic intrusives and in adjacent volcanic wall rocks. Stockworks are most common in two dioritic intrusive phases, particularly where intrusive and hydrothermal breccias are developed. Mineralization has been encountered to at least 1,450 m vertically and 850 m along strike. The strike of mineralization follows west–northwest fault and fracture zones, and is open at depth along this strike. The main zone of mineralization pinches and swells from 250 m to 700 m along strike, and down dip steeply to the southwest. The highest grade mineralization is coincident with well-developed quartzsulphide stockworks in strongly potassic-altered intrusive rocks.

Oxidation resulting from weathering and/or high oxygen activity in the last phase of hydrothermal alteration overprints sulphide mineralization in the upper portion of the Cerro Casale deposit. Copper oxides are not common. Oxidation locally extends deeply along fault zones or within steeply-dipping breccia bodies.

Cerro Casale is considered to be an example of a gold–copper porphyry system based on the following:

- Hosted in a Mesozoic orogenic belt;

- Gold–copper mineralization at Cerro Casale formed during emplacement of multiple phases of diorite and granodiorite intrusions into a coeval sequence of intermediate to felsic volcanic rocks;

- Mineralization appears to be most closely related to strong potassic to phyllic alteration of the latest phases of intermediate to felsic intrusives and associated intrusive and hydrothermal breccias;

- Mineralization is focused in well-developed quartz–sulphide stockworks; veins, crackle and breccia zones are also present;

- Large tonnage but low grade.



- subscription is required.

Mining Methods


- subscription is required.


Crushers and Mills


- subscription is required.



- subscription is required.


Gold M oz 17
Silver M oz 36
Copper M lbs 4,832
All production numbers are expressed as payable metal.

Operational metrics

Daily processing capacity 260,000 t *
Annual mining capacity 225 Mt *
Stripping / waste ratio 1.79 *
Waste tonnes, LOM 2,231 Mt *
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 1,234 Mt *
Total tonnes mined, LOM 3,444 Mt *
* According to 2010 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Gold USD 277 / oz * **  USD
Assumed price Copper USD 2 / lb *  USD
Assumed price Silver USD 12.5 / oz *  USD
Assumed price Gold USD 800 / oz *  USD
* According to 2010 study / presentation.
** Net of By-Product.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t mined) USD 1.63 *  USD
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2010 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Initial CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Closure costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment


- subscription is required.

EV - Electric


Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 23, 2024

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2010


- subscription is required.