The Andean Porphyries 2017-18 International Study Tour was designed to visit a selection of the most significant porphyry Cu-Mo, Cu-Mo-Zn, Cu-Au and Au systems and provinces, from Cretaceous to Pliocene in age and from Chile to northern Ecuador, including 'classic' porphyry, porphyry-breccia, porphyry-skarn, porphyry-lithocaps-epithermal deposits and their supergene oxide and sulphide derivatives.
Because of the time required to visit all of the deposits involved, the tour was split into two modules in 2017 in 2018 as follows:
The first part was conducted as Andean Porphyries 2017, between Sunday 23 and Saturday 29 April, 2017 and only included four deposits in the Chilean segment of the tour.
The second part, covered six major deposits from southern Peru to northern Ecuador, in June 2018 as Andean Porphyries 2018.
Those commencing at the beginning of Andean Porphyries 2017, assembled in central Santiago, Chile, at Noon on Sunday 23 April, 2017, at the meeting point designated by PGC prior to the start of the tour. The Tour technical program ended in Antofagasta, Chile, on the morning of Saturday 29 April, 2017.
Those who registered for the full Andean Porphyries 2018 rendezvoused in Lima, Peru, at 07:00 am on Monday 4 June 2018. The full tour technical program ended in Quito, Ecuador, before Noon on Tuesday 19 June, 2018.
Tour participants had the option of taking either the full tour -or- any block of 2 or more days up to the full tour, as suits their budget, availability and interest.
For those who took less than the full tour, start and end points and dates were advised on confirmation of registration. Alternate start and/or end points included Iquique, Calama and Antofagasta in Chile in 2017 (although all took the full module), while in 2018, they included Lima or Cusco in Peru, Quito in Ecuador, or other locations en route, by arrangement.
During the tour, PGC arranged all surface travel and booked all scheduled airline flights, i.e., between the start and end points of the block of days or full tour nominated by the participant.
Before and after the tour, each participant was responsible for all of their own accommodation and travel arrangements and costs to get to the specified start point and from the end point.
Closing date - Registrations for Andean Porphyries 2018 closed on Friday 4 May, 2018, although late registrations were considered up to the start of the tour.
Registrations for Andean Porphyries 2017 closed on Friday 31st March, 2017, although late registrations were considered up to 11 April. Note however, that a number of the mines on the itinerary required a comprehensive medical examination to be undergone prior to the visit (see below), and the results forwarded (via PGC) for consideration by mine medical officers. Some of these examinations involve laboratory pathology tests that may take several days to complete.
Mine/project visits - what is involved ? - each mine/operation is asked to provide a geological briefing on the deposit to be visited, its regional to local setting, geology, structure, alteration and mineralisation, but also the opportunity to study the alteration, ore, hosts, structure and country rocks, both in the mine (or exposure if not yet in operation) and in drill core, and at surface peripheral to the deposit, as appropriate and practical. In rare cases, host company safety policy may not allow an 'in pit' visit, but instead a geological overview from the pit lookout, but this is usually compensated by a thorough inspection of core from a representative selection of drill holes through the deposit. In the even rarer occasion where core is not available, a more thorough pit visit is provided. The content and emphasis of the visit and degree of access is at the discretion of the host company.
Tour Fees include the cost of all surface travel from when each participant joins the tour to when they leave, as well as all other costs associated with the tour, including development, organisation, escorting the tour, professional fees and costs for the geological translators, workshop venues, audio-visual equipment, mine visits, background literature, tour packs, introductory dinners, etc.
Air Fares for scheduled airline flights booked by PGC and flown by each participant between when the participant joins and leaves the tour are additional to the tour fee.
Note: The scheduled airline fares charged by PGC are estimated at the time of budgeting, with allowance for fuel surcharges, currency fluctuations and fare variations by the time of flying. Where the final fare paid by PGC is less than the estimated amount charged, the difference will be refunded at the end of the tour. Conversely, if the actual fares are higher than those charged, the difference will be invoiced after the tour.
Fares listed on the registration form and invoiced are based on a flexible, refundable economy fare for reservations that may be cancelled should participants withdraw after the booking is made, or parts of the tour do not proceed through lack of interest, or cancellation by mines. However, if discounted airfares are available when the tour is confirmed and PGC tickets the travel, these may be purchased and the difference refunded to you at the end of the tour.
Accommodation - All accommodation reservations for each participant between the start and end dates of their tour will be made by PGC. However, all accommodation costs must be paid by the participants on checkout during the tour and NOT by PGC , and are additional to the tour fees and air fares. Some hotels may require pre-paymment by PGC on confirmation of reservation. These charges will be passed on to affected participants.
Meals - Participants are also be responsible for paying for their own meals (except the Introductory Dinner) and personal incidentals on tour.
Payment - Tour Fees and Air Fares must be paid to PGC at the same time, and by the due date specified on the invoice (which will usually be 14 days after the date of the confirmation letter if within 2 months of tour commencement - but may be longer for early registrations), but no later than one month before the commencement of the Tour. In the event of late registration (if places still remain), fees and fares must to be received before the commencement of the block of days or full tour nominated by the participant.
Language - The official language of the tour was English. The group was in part accompanied by a translator, who was an experienced geologist fluent in both Spanish and English to translate those presentations and discussions in Spanish. It was preferable that participants have at least a professional working proficiency in English. Those Spanish speakers without this level of proficiency must balance what they would learn from those presentations in Spanish and from their own observation of the rocks they are shown in the mines and drill core and asking questions of the host geologists, who will almost universally be able to converse in Spanish, versus what they would miss from those presentations in English.
Medical Examinations - Most of the deposits on the itinerary in both 2017 and 2018 are at an elevation of >3000 m where altitude sickness may potentially be experienced by susceptible participants. Most of these mines required some form of medical examination, with many requiring all participants to undergo comprehensive medical tests before the tour began. In Chile, a number of the sites provided a form detailing the required medical examination, copies of which were forwarded to participants upon confirmation of registration. Participants to visit these specific mines/projects had to undergo the medical examinations, which were to be conducted by a registered medical practitioner. Participants then forwarded the completed form to PGC by e-mail for on-forwarding to the mines/projects involved. On arrival at the mines, participants were required to undergo further tests. For Andean Porphyries 2018, most mines/projects similarly required examinations both in advance of, and upon arrival. The pre-visit examinations had to be conducted in Peru at an approved clinic. PGC arranged appointments at such a clinics early in and during the tour to satisfy these requirements. A number of mines also required an acclimatisation period of 12 to 24 hours at ~3000 m, where a medical examination was conducted, before proceeding to the mine at higher altitudes. Other mines conducted these tests on arrival on site. If, in the opinion of the mine/project medical staff, a participant was deemed to be at risk of altitude sickness, that participant was not to be allowed beyond either the acclimatisation point, or the mine clinic, as applicable.
Safety equipment and apparel (PPE) - Each participant was required to bring and wear their own hi-vis shirts or jackets (or reflective hi-vis vest), steel toe capped safety boots and safety glasses. Participants were also advised to wear long trousers (NO skirts), and long-sleeved shirts with collars to gain access to some mines sites. Use of sun screen was strongly advised since there is high UV radiation at the altitudes at which the mines are located.
Tour notes - As part of the tour, each participant received a comprehensive collection of literature to read prior to commencement or during the tour. These papers cover the regional geology and distribution of mineralisation in the areas being considered, as well as descriptions of the individual deposits studied and other selected examples in the regions visited.
Final itinerary - Approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the tour, participants were forwarded a detailed itinerary with accommodation information, including the street address, e-mail address, phone numbers and tariff for each hotel. All they needed bring were their field gear, PPE, personal affects, and credit card/ATM cards or cash to pay for accommodation and meals.
Presentations - One of the requirements of the tour was that each participant should prepare a 30 to 40 minutes duration presentation, illustrated by PowerPoint, on a topic with which he/she is conversant, such as an ore deposit, a mineral province or exploration case history, and is relevant to the main theme of the tour, i.e., copper or gold deposits, preferably of porphyry and/or epithermal mineralisation. Participants should also be prepared to answer questions and discuss your presentation. The purpose of the presentation is that in order to get the most from the tour, the tour group must be willing to exchange information with their hosts, either as part of a mine visit or at professional association meetings after hours. If more than one representative of the same division/company is on the tour at any one time, only one presentation is required from that company during that period, as long as there is a participant of the company able to give a presentation at any time that company is represented on the tour.