Chile’s Codelco to invest $400 million in molybdenum plant

Chile-owned copper giant Codelco plans to invest $400 million in a molybdenum processing plant to maximize its market value amid a legal dispute with global miner Anglo American.

In an interview with local newspaper La Tercera, CEO Thomas Keller (photo) said the company, the main copper producer worldwide and world's No 2 molybdenum miner, is adding value to its business.

“We're paving the way to consolidate Codelco as the second- and first-biggest producer of molybdenum in the world," Keller said.

In 2011, Codelco sold 22,800 tonnes of the metal used to harden steel and will ramp up production of molybdenum once it coverts its Chuquicamata mine to an underground operation.

“The [Chuquicamata] project will allow us to directly sell a good chunk of our molybdenum production as commercial molybdenum because what we sell currently is molybdenum concentrate,” Keller added.

Asked about Codelco's dispute with Anglo American over copper assets in southern Chile, the executive said he is committed to achieving an agreement with Anglo and that hopes a long court trial can be avoided.

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