Chile’s Codelco sues Vale, Brazilian Department of Mines over exploration license
Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, is taking iron ore giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) and the Brazilian Department of Mines to court over an exploration licence for the Liberdade project, located at the western end of the prolific Carajás District.
The giant copper miner, through its subsidiary Codelco do Brasil Mineracao Ltda., obtained exploration rights over the 8,491-hectare Liberdade property from Canadian owner Lara Exploration (TSX-V:LRA) back in 2011. The deal established that the Chilean miner was entitled to renew its license for up to three additional years, which it did on July 12, 2013.
According to the Vancouver-based company, the Brazilian mining authority has delayed analysis of Codelco’s renewal, as Vale came into the picture claiming to have a license dating back to 1986, which would still be valid, Lara said in a press release.
What Codelco is seeking with the lawsuit is to nullify the old Vale licence and safeguard its current mineral rights over the copper and gold project, Lara added.
The Chilean company has invested over US$3.3 million in exploration and development of the Liberdade copper project and now holds a 51% interest in Lara, with the option to earn a further 24% interest.
Vale has a 10,000 tonne per year copper plant in Carajás, which is intended to be a prototype, supporting construction of a much larger plant to process nearby concentrates from future projects.