Anglo to more than double output from Chile copper mine

23rd November 2011 By: Brindaveni Naidoo

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) − Global mining giant Anglo American expects the output from its expanded Los Bronces copper mine to more than double in the first three years of full production from its existing output of 221 000 t/y.

Announcing the delivery of first copper production from the Los Bronces expansion project, CEO Cynthia Carroll said in a statement that the opencut copper and molybdenum mine would be the world’s fifth-largest copper mine at peak production levels.

Los Bronces has reserves and resources that support a mine life of over 30 years and with further expansion potential.

The miner expects to produce 233 400 t of copper this year, up from 2010’s 221 000 t.

John Mackenzie, CEO of Anglo American’s copper business, said there was a 12-month ramp-up period ahead until full production was reached.

During this time, he explained, the company would increase processing plant throughput from 61 000 t/d to 148 000 t/d of ore.

"We have delivered this major expansion of Los Bronces on schedule owing to the hard work and dedication of 16 000 people who have been working on the project over the last three years,” Mackenzie said.

Further, Carroll said apart from the existing copper operations in Chile, Peru and the US, exploration activities were under way in several other geographies.

Earlier this month, Anglo American sold a 24.5% stake in its subsidiary Anglo American Sur, which includes the flagship Los Bronces mine, to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation for $5.39-billion.

State-owned copper miner Codelco is gearing up for a legal battle as it planned to exercise its option to buy a 49% interest in the Sur mining complex in January 2012.

Anglo maintained that the transaction was fully compliant with the option agreement between Anglo American, certain of its affiliates and Codelco.