Codelco seeks ‘friendly talks’ with Ecuador on Llurimagua copper project

The Llurimagua copper deposit is located about 80 km northeast of Ecuador’s capital, Quito. (Image courtesy of Chilean copper engineers)

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper miner, said on Monday it was seeking talks with its counterpart in Ecuador after it failed to deliver on a bargain struck in 2019 to jointly develop the Llurimagua project in the tropical South American nation.

Llurimagua is in the advanced exploration stage and could become the first mine Codelco operates abroad following years of scattershot efforts to expand internationally.

Chile’s state-run miner said in a statement it had written a letter to Ecuador’s Attorney General seeking to begin “friendly talks” with the country’s National Mining Company (Enami EP) over the deal.

“Enami EP has not complied with the agreements to form the company for the development of the project or ratified the shareholders’ agreement that was agreed a year ago,” Codelco said in a statement.

Enami EP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Codelco said in the statement it had complied with the agreement and had made “relevant investments” towards advancing the project.

The project, about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Ecuador’s capital of Quito, has faced resistance from a nearby community over environmental concerns.

(By Dave Sherwood; Editing by Barbara Lewis)

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