Rio confirms Chile copper buy

1st August 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Diversified miner Rio Tinto has confirmed its $45-million deal with NYSE-listed PanAmerican Silver to acquire that company’s stake in the Agua de la Falda (ADLF) project in Chile.

PanAmerican Silver on Monday announced the sale of three non-core assets for $539-million, including a $475-million deal with major Glencore and a $25-million deal with Peruvian company Alpayana.

Rio said in a statement on Tuesday that under its own agreement with the North American company, Rio will acquire PanAmerican Silver’s 57.74% operating stake in the Agua de la Falda holding company for $45-million and the grant of new smelter returns royalties. Rio Tinto will also acquire 100% of nearby concessions known as the Meridian Property for $550 000 and the grant of new smelter returns royalties.

Chilean copper producer Codelco holds the remaining 42.26% of ADLF.

“Copper is critical for the global energy transition, which is at the heart of Rio Tinto’s strategy, and Chile is one of the most important sources of world supply as demand for copper in renewables and electrification grows,” Rio CEO Jakob Stausholm said.

“Partnerships are essential to find better ways to provide materials the world needs, and we are pleased we can bring our global exploration capability to a joint venture that will be able to access Codelco’s strong local presence and industry expertise.

“Although this is an early-stage exploration project, we are very excited to be actively exploring in Chile in partnership with Codelco.”

Codelco chairperson Maximo Pacheco welcomed Rio’s investment in ADLF.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to put two leading mining companies to work together, leveraging the combined experiences, strengths and capabilities of each organisation. By joining forces, we can enhance our exploration and development efforts for a highly promising asset.

“Public-private partnerships have proven to be successful for Codelco and Chile for many years, and we are convinced that this is a compelling alternative to move a project forward and to complement the significant exploration and project portfolio being developed exclusively by Codelco.”

The joint venture builds on an underground mining collaboration agreement between Rio Tinto and Codelco signed in October 2022, aimed at encouraging innovations and technology to improve safety, productivity and environmental, social and governance outcomes.