Chile’s main iron-ore producer to invest $650 million this year

Chile’s main iron-ore producer to invest $650 million this year

Cerro Norte project. Courtesy of CAP. 

Chile's Compañía de Acero del Pacífico (CAP) will spend over US$650 million this year to develop iron ore projects in the country, with most of the investment going to its Cerro Negro Norte project in the northern Atacama region, DF reports (in Spanish).

The firm, which forecasts iron ore sales of 15-million tonnes by the end of 2014 and 18-million tonnes next year, also said it planning to launch a new project by December.

CAP is currently negotiating water supply contracts with four mining companies. The steel manufacturer wants to finish the third stage of construction at its desalination plant in Atacama before year-end, which will have a total capacity of 600 liters per second.

The idea is to have enough water supply to move forward with its four untapped iron-ore deposits in northern Chile, including El Tofo, which CAP has previously said has the potential to produce 13.5-million tonnes of iron-ore per year and will require a $3 billion investment.

The first two phases of CAP’s desalination plant cost $400 million, but guarantee supply to its the Cerro Negro Norte project,  which is expected to boost CMP's iron ore production by 4 million tons per year, as well as to the Caserones copper project, owned by Canadian junior Lumina Copper.