The South American country is the world’s principal copper producer and accounts for 54% of global lithium reserves.
The Mining Minister, Baldo Prokurica, and the Executive Vice-President of the Chilean Copper Commission (COCHILCO), Sergio Hernández, presented the report “Investment in the Chilean Mining Industry – Portfolio of Projects 2018 -2027”, looking ahead to the mining projects that may be materialized over the next ten years.
“We want to announce some extraordinarily important information for the Chilean mining industry and for the country, COCHILCO’s forecast for investment over the next decade. One of the concerns of Chileans is development and job creation and this good news we are announcing means opportunities for Chilean families. The mining industry is undoubtedly an important contribution to the achievement of these objectives,” said the Mining Minister.
The Executive Vice-President of COCHILCO indicated that the new survey envisages an investment of US$65,747 million over the next decade and involves 44 mining projects. He added that the copper projects in this new portfolio represent an output of 3.5 million tonnes, the highest of the last three years, after the sharp drop in investment seen since 2014.
He explained that six new mining projects – two in lithium, three in copper and one in gold – totaling US$5,902 million have been incorporated into the portfolio. The new initiatives are Maricunga Production of Salts, SIMCO; expansion of lithium carbonate to 180 ktpy, SQM Salar; complementary facilities for 170 ktpd, Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi; Zaldívar Operational Continuity, Antofagasta Minerals; Salares Norte, Gold Fields; and Nueva Unión Phases II and III which, at US$3,700 million, is the largest single investment and is in addition to Phase I already considered in the portfolio last year.
“The projects most likely to be implemented in the next ten years increase to 55%, up from 50% in the previous report, and total 25 projects worth US$36,257 million. This increase is mainly due to the greater likelihood of the materialization of Teck’s Quebrada Blanca projects for US$4,700 million, Mantos Copper’s Mantoverde Development for US$832 million and BHP’s Spence Growth Option for US$3,300 million, following approval of their Environmental Impact Study (EIA) or the start of construction,” added the Executive Vice-President of COCHILCO.
He also indicated that seven projects, worth US$2,286 million, which began their start-up in 2017, have been taken out of the portfolio. Two other initiatives, totaling US$776 million, were not included since their owners decided to restructure them, pending better market conditions. In addition, a significant number of initiatives reduced their investment capital without modifying their production targets.