OZ Minerals, Southern Copper shopping for South American mines

US-based Southern Copper and Australia's Oz Minerals are both looking to acquire assets in South America, according to media reports Wednesday.

Southern Copper, which trades on the New York (SCCO) and Peru exchanges and is part of Grupo Mexico owned by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, is considering a $1 billion investment for a gold and silver project in northern Chile, reported Dow Jones News Service, quoting a local media source.

The company plans to explore for gold and silver in Chile's Parinacota region through its Catanave project- which requires a $1 billion investment, said Dow Jones.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) is embarking on its first foray into South America by acquiring copper and gold mines in Chile and Peru.

CEO Terry Burgess told the news outlet that uncertainty over copper demand and prices this year has opened up opportunities:

"I think that now, due to uncertainty in the market, there will be more opportunities to buy," Burgess said.

"I have seen more opportunities recently than I have ever seen in the last couple of years. Maybe people are taking some note of the uncertainty and think if they are going to sell their assets now it's the right time to do so."

OZ Minerals owns the Prominent Hill copper mine in Australia and recently purchased the Carrapateena copper project in South Australia.

Prominent Hill is expected to produce 100-110,000 tonnes of copper and 130-150,000 ounces of gold this year according to the company's website.