Mitsui & Co. boosts stake in Collahuasi copper mine

Collahuasi open-pit. (Image courtesy of Minera Collahuasi.)

Japan’s Mitsui Mining and Smelting is selling its 0.97% stake in the Collahuasi copper mine in Chile to its parent company, trading house Mitsui & Co., as part of a portfolio reshuffle.

The deal leaves Mitsui & Co. with a 12% interest in the world’s second-largest copper mine, located in northern Chile. Anglo American and Glencore each hold a 44% stake in the operation.

“Collahuasi is one of the world’s top copper mines in terms of production and reserves,” the Tokyo-based trader said in a statement. “Rising environmental awareness on a global scale over the recent years is reflected in the increase of EVs and development in renewable energy infrastructures. These trends are expected to drive increased demand for copper.”

Mitsui Mining said the company had decided to use its resources for other growing areas such as engineered materials and the development of new products. It also noted it would keep its stake in zinc mines in Peru.

Mitsui Mining will use its resources for other growing areas such as engineered materials and the development of new products

The sale of the Collahuasi stake comes about four months after Mitsui Mining and Mitsui & Co. agreed to sell their stakes in the Caserones copper mine, also in Chile, to Japan’s JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp.

Mitsui & Co. said its medium-term corporate strategy called for an evolution of its portfolio, with emphasis on boosting profitability in the core business.

“Increasing our interest in Collahuasi forms part of the business portfolio restructuring under our Management Plan 2023,” it said.

Mitsui’s investments in Chile’s copper industry date back to the 1990s and it now has minority interests in a number of the country’s leading mines, including Los Bronces and smaller El Soldado.

It is also involved in other copper-related projects in the South American country, the world’s largest producer of the red metal.