SÃO PAULO Chilean
copper producer Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile
(Codelco) will invest more than $5 billion in 2013, exceeding
last years record spending of $4.16 billion, which was
short of a $4.3-billion target, the company said.
Of this years budget,
$2.89 billion will be used in structural projects, primarily to
extend the life span of its current mines.
The company also plans to invest
$1.15 billion in Ministro Hales, a 183,000-tonne-per-year mine
where Codelco wants to start producing copper in October.
"Ministro Hales has been keeping
us busy and will be the center of attention of the entire
organization this year. The launch is planned for the second
half, beginning its ramp-up production in October," Sergio
Fuentes, Codelcos vice president of projects, said at a
A new mining level at its El
Teniente mine is another of the companys priorities in
2013. Total investment is estimated at $3.47 billion, of which
$716 million is slated to have been spent by the end of
Codelco is also investing $417
million this year to build at an underground level at its
Chuquicamata mine, which is currently at the end of its
The El Teniente and Chuquicamata
expansion projects are set to be concluded in 2017 and 2018,
Expansion of Codelcos
Andina operation, which is set to be finished in 2021, will
receive $44 million this year for feasibility studies and the
beginning of the approval process.
The growth projects come at a
time when the copper producer is looking to increase its output
levels after years of declines. Codelcos copper output
last year was the lowest since 2009 as grades declined at some
of its key mines. Total production dropped 5.1 percent year on
year to 1.64 million tonnes.
Output from Chuquicamata y Radomiro Tomic, the
companys biggest single mine, fell 14.2 percent year on
year to 783,700 tonnes in 2012.
A version of this article
was first published by AMM sister publication Metal