Magma Energy, a geothermal power company, has been issued an exploitation permit enabling development of a 50MW geothermal operation on the 4,000 hectare Laguna de Maule (Maule) property by the Government of Chile.

Maule adjoins the 100,000 hectare Pellado property and together these properties encompass the Mariposa Geothermal Reservoir upon which Magma previously reported a 320MW inferred resource.

Magma is currently drilling the second of five slim holes wells into the Mariposa reservoir. The first well drilled in 2009 discovered temperatures greater than 200 degrees Celsius at a depth of approximately 650mt.

The 2010 slim hole program, plus related work, commenced in March and is expected to conclude by December at a cost of $15m. The target depth of each of the four slim holes is 1,500mt.

Magma said that drilling results will provide sufficient information to complete evaluation of the planned Phase 1 50MW geothermal power plant. Mariposa is within 25km of two planned hydro power plants and associated transmission lines.