JX, Mitsui Mining halt Caserones mine, to take a $421M write down

JX, Mitsui Mining halt Caserones mine, to take a $421M write down

Caserones mine.

Japan's JX Nippon Mining & Metals, a subsidiary of JX Holdings Inc, said Thursday it will write down by 50 billion yen ($421 million) the value of its investment in its Caserones copper mine, in northern Chile.

The company, which has also momentarily halted operations at the mine due to torrential rain, said the charge was caused by a delay in expanding production to full capacity, as it needed more time to develop a waste disposal system.

Last week the mine was slapped with an $11.9 million fine, the second highest penalty Chile’s watchdog has ever imposed to a mining operation for breaching environmental rules.

Caserones, located 62km south-east of Copiapo in the Atacama desert region, is 77%-owned by Pan Pacific Copper, a firm controlled by JX Nippon Mining & Metals under JX Holdings Inc. Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd holds the remainder.

The mine began commercial operations last year and produced 19,000 tonnes of concentrate in terms of copper content, far below an earlier target of 70,000 tonnes.