Antofagasta creates one of Chile’s largest private copper miners

Antofagasta creates one of Chile’s largest private copper miners

Esperanza mine will now be one of Minera Centinela's key assets.

London-based copper miner Antofagasta PLC (LON: ANTO) has announced it would merge two of its most promising copper operations in Chile’s north under a new company, Minera Centinela, beginning next month.

The mining group, property of the Luksic family —one of Chile’s richest— said the new subsidiary would include El Tesoro and Esperanza mines, both in northern Antofagasta. According to the company, Minera Centinela will capture the maximum value of an emerging mining district in the area, creating one of the largest private copper firms in the South American country, El Diario reports (in Spanish).

Antofagasta creates one of Chile’s largest private copper miners

CEO Diego Hernandez says the integration of the two nearby operations will bring vast economies of scale.

According to CEO Diego Hernandez, the integration of the two nearby operations will bring vast economies of scale. "This is a very important milestone for the group, as Minera Sentinel will now be one of the country's largest mining companies and as such it can better face the challenges our industry is experiencing today," he was quoted as saying

Antofagasta is one of the oldest companies listed in London. It is also one of the many companies expanding output in the next few years – it aims to produce nearly 900,000t in 2018, from 720,000t last year.

Currently, the firm has majority stakes in four Chilean copper mines — Los Pelambres (60%), El Tesoro (70%), Michilla (74.2%) and Esperanza (74.2%).

Last month the company reaffirmed its guidance of 700,000 tons of copper for the year, and added it main focus now are brownfields projects, which help control the growth of unit costs across its operations.