Global mining giant Anglo American announced the delivery of the first copper produced from its $2.8bn expansion of its fought-over Chilean mine Los Bronces, amid signs that its battle with state owned rival Codelco could avoid the courts.
According to John Mackenzie, CEO of Anglo American’s Copper business, the ramp-up of production at the expanded site over the next year will more than double output to 148,000 tonnes of ore a day, taking it from outside the world’s top ten in terms of copper production to number five.
Management are also exploring two other deposits close to their existing mine site, which they say could each prove to be another Los Bronces.
First production from the expansion project is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, raising total attributable copper output to more than 900 000 tons per annum by next year.
Fifth largest copper mine in the world
Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll said the commissioning of the Los Bronces expansion marked the second major new project that the group had delivered on schedule this year.
She said that at peak production levels, Los Bronces was expected to be the fifth largest copper mine in the world, with reserves and resources that support a mine life of more than 30 years and with further expansion potential.
“We are driving volume growth across the most attractive commodities with a continued focus on long-life assets with low cash-operating costs.
“Our long-term growth pipeline presents significant opportunities and optionality,” she said.
The expansion of Los Bronces is expected to more than double the mine’s existing production of 221000 tons per year and is the second of Anglo American’s four major strategic-growth projects to begin production during this year.
“We have delivered this major expansion of Los Bronces on schedule, thanks to the admirable hard work and dedication of the entire team of up to 16000 people who have been working on the project over the last three years,” said John Mackenzie, CEO of Anglo American’s copper business.
Los Bronces is an open-cut copper and molybdenum mine located approximately 65km northeast ofSantiago city.
Anglo enraged Codelco when it blocked its plans to exercise an option to buy a 49 per cent stake in the Anglo subsidiary that owns the mine, by selling off 24.5 per cent to Mitsubishi Corporation for $5.4bn in a much more attractive deal.
(Los Bronces, photo by Vismedia)