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Los Andes copper weighs funding options for Chile project including sale

3rd July 2023

By: Bloomberg

  

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Los Andes Copper, a mining exploration company, is considering options to finance development of a deposit it owns in Chile, including a potential sale of the asset or the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Vancouver-based firm is working with advisors to study strategic options as it prepares for the next stage of the Vizcachitas project in Chile, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Los Andes Copper isn’t currently running a formal sale process, but may start gauging interest from potential buyers, the people said.

Los Andes Copper declined to comment.

Vizcachitas is expected to become a 180 000-metric-ton-per-year mine, roughly the size of Andina owned by Chile’s state miner Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer. Development costs for a project of that size are likely out of reach for Los Andes Copper, which has a market value of $380-million. The company’s stock has jumped about 30% in 2023.

Supplies of copper, the metal used in everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines, are expected to tighten significantly as the transition away from fossil fuels drives a surge in demand. That outlook has led large producers to step up their interest in beefing up reserves both through acquisitions and exploration. Newmont recently secured a A$28.8-billion deal to buy Australian rival Newcrest Mining in a move that will help boost its resources of copper.

Los Andes Copper was recently authorized to restart drilling at Vizcachitas after fulfilling conditions laid out by an environmental court.

Chile accounts for a quarter of the world’s mined copper and has the most reserves. Companies are weighing investment decisions in the nation as regulatory risk subsides. An initial constitutional process that threatened radical changes has given way to a more conservative format, and the government agreed to limit tax hikes.

Edited by Bloomberg

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