March/April 2007

Chile maintains position as world leader in copper

Maintaining its position as the leading copper producer, Chile has a number of new projects on the go promising increased production rates. Highlights include:


A progressive company committed to growing its copper production, Codelco has a number of ongoing development projects, including:

• The Gaby 150,000 tpa copper oxide heap leach/SX/EW joint venture.

• Expansion of the Andina Division, 80 kilometres northeast of Santiago, to increase production by enlarging the open pit and underground mines and constructing infrastructure to increase processing throughput.

• A development plan aimed to allow the processing of 5,500 kty of concentrates by 2012 will use synergies of the four Codelco smelters, replacing the traditional batch-type converting process by a continuous available converting technology.

BHP Billiton

One of the world’s largest copper producers, BHP Billiton is strong in Chile, with new projects on the go such as:

• The Escondida sulphide bio-heap leach, a 180,000 tpa copper project, which ramped up last July

• The recent startup of the Spence project, a 200,000 tpa oxide and secondary sulphide heap leach operation near Antofagasta.

Xstrata Copper

Xstrata Copper enjoys a strong presence in Chile, with all operations focused on growth plans for the future, including:

• Expansion of the smelter at Altonorte, a custom copper smelting operation near Antofagasta in northern Chile with a current capacity to process 820,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year.

• Development of the Fortuna de Cobre deposit to feed the existing Lomas Bayas heap leach/SX/EW plant in the Atacama Desert, to increase mine life by 10 years to 2023.

• Recent approval of the next phase of development of the El Morro joint venture with Metallica Resources Ltd. The project consists of two porphyry systems—the El Morro system and the La Fortuna deposit. Feasibility work will be advanced this year on La Fortuna.

Anglo American

With two major operations in Chile, including Collahuasi and Minera Sur Andes, Anglo American will be ensuring its high production levels with the expansion of Los Bronces mine, part of Minera Sur Andes, near Santiago.

Antofagasta Minerals

With very promising projects, Antofagasta Minerals faces progressive growth in Chile, with projects including:

• Expansion of the Los Pelambres mine, one of the largest open pit mines in Chile located 200 kilometres northeast of Santiago, with an estimated life of at least 30 years.

• Developing the new Esperanza heap leach/SX/EW plant, having completed its feasibility study.

Aur Resources

Growth is a strategy Aur Resources is making reality in Chile, with last summer’s announcement that development of the Andacollo hypogene copper-gold deposit is a go-ahead. At a pre-production capital cost of $336 million, the developed deposit will produce 157 million pounds of copper and 59,200 ounces of gold annually over 21 years. The open pit mine and processing plant is to ramp up by late 2009.

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