Job cuts coming to Antofagasta’s freshly combined copper operations

Job cuts coming to Antofagasta’s freshly combined copper operations

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

London-based copper mining firm Antofagasta PLC (LON: ANTO), which is merging two of its key copper operations in Chile’s north under a new company, said Tuesday that as many as 35 management positions will be removed beginning next week.

In an interview with Bloomberg, one of the miner’s directors said El Tesoro and Esperanza mines will begin coming under one management next week and that job cuts will be inevitable.

Andrew Lindsay added the company will need about $2.7 billion to produce an additional 140,000 metric tons of copper a year from the jointed projects, which will be fully integrated by October.

Antofagasta, property of Chile’s billionaire Luksic family, 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%).

The copper miner reaffirmed in May 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.