Showing posts with label Copper Mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copper Mining. Show all posts

Friday, December 28, 2012

Antofagasta suspends its Chilean Antucoya copper mine

Chilean miner Antofagasta has halted development at its $1.7-billion copper mine Antucoya, as it reviews escalating costs of the project.

Antucoya, which was forecast to produce 80 000 t of copper cathodes a year, is one of the most capital intensive projects in the industry.

The cost of the mine was estimated at $1.7-billion by the time construction work was due to finish in 2014. The cost per ton of yearly production would have been over $21 000, analysts previously estimated.

"We remain concerned about the level of capital and operating costs in the industry," said Diego Hernandez, Antofagasta's CE, in a statement on Friday.

Antofagasta shares are listed in London and the statement came out after the market had closed.

"We believe Antucoya's decision to temporarily suspend and review the project reflects an appropriate and measured approach to addressing these concerns," added Hernandez, who took the helm at Antofagasta earlier this year.

Antofagasta approved the project last year, selling a 30% stake to Japanese trading house Marubeni to help shoulder the burden of the costs.

Decisions on the suspension and review were made by the Antucoya council, with representatives from both companies.

Chile, which produces roughly a third of the world's copper, is struggling with dwindling ore grades in many of its ageing deposits.

Like many of its peers fighting over a limited pool of skilled workers and equipment, Antofagasta is also having to battle the rising cost of building projects from scratch.

Antucoya is the same size and uses the same technology as the company's existing El Tesoro mine, but will cost over $1-billion more to develop just a decade later.

The company said notices of termination for the project's construction contracts were being issued immediately.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yamana Gold insists on risky project in northern Chile

Canadian miner Yamana Gold Inc. (TSX:YRI) (NYSE: AUY) is refusing to give up on its plans to re-open the old “Agua de la Falda” gold mine in Chile’s northern Atacama region, a particularly sensitive area in terms of energy costs.

The Toronto-based company, which has a 57% stake in the project named “Jeronimo,” submitted last week a new environmental impact assessment (EIA), which increases the proposed mine total cost to $423 million, and said it expects start construction in early June next year.

The Jeronimo mine will have a projected production capacity of 5,000 tons of gold a month and an expected life of 13 years.

About eight years ago, the same area was home of a few gold mines now closed, including El Hueso (“The Bone”) and Agua de la Falda (“Water Skirt”), which old facilities have been well preserved and will be used by Yamana, according to El Diario (in Spanish).

The Jeronimo project, located about 10 kilometres from where Chile’s state-own Codelco was hoping to build its San Antonio Oxides, may face the same energy supply issues that force the biggest copper mine in the world to shelve San Antonio and the touted expansion of El Salvador copper mine.

Last month Yamana Gold reported a third-quarter profit of $60 million, down from a year ago, as the miner was hit by increased Chilean tax rates.

The gold company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said the profit amounted to eight cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $115.8 million or 16 cents per share a year ago.

Revenue grew to $611.8 million, up from $555.2 million.

Other than Chile, Yamana has mines as well as development stage and exploration properties in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Copper mine Escondida's output surges 72.4% in Q3

Output from Chile's Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, surged 72.4% in the third quarter compared with the same period of 2011, to 253 800 t, according to state copper commission, Cochilco.

The strong performance was helped by better ore grades and a low base of comparison from the year-ago quarter.

Escondida, which is 57.5% owned by global miner BHP Billiton and extracts about 7% of the world's copper, produced 787 000 t between January and September, up 31.6% from the same period of last year.

The mine's copper output plummeted 24.6% in 2011 to 819 261 t, its lowest level in nearly a decade, on sinking ore grades and a two-week strike.

Escondida Ore Access project set out to boost ore grades and a low base of comparison with the strike-hit third quarter of 2011 are seen having buoyed output in the July to September period of this year.

BHP and Rio Tinto, which owns 30% of the mine, have approved plans for a $4.5-billion expansion of Escondida to boost output.

A new 152 000 t/d concentrator plant and new mineral handling system will boost production to more than 1.3-million tons a year by June 2015.

Several mega deposits in Chile, the world's No 1 copper producer, are struggling this year, most notably world No 3 copper mine Collahuasi, amid stubbornly dwindling ore grades and operational trouble.

But the Andean country's copper output has picked up in recent months on improved ore grades and increased output at operations that started up in 2011.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Initial Aguila Copper/Molybdenum Resource Estimate of 375 Million lbs Copper & 22 Million lbs Molybdenum Indicated and 2.1 Billion lbs Copper & 166 Million lbs Molybdenum Inferred


Duran Ventures Inc. is a Canadian-based mineral exploration mining company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (ticker symbol DRV) (OTC: DUVNF) (Frankfurt: 6D7). The Company has come to our attention due, in part, to the exceptional opportunity afforded shareholders as DRV.V is advancing their 100% owned concessions located in Central Peru where geologists agree that Duran's Aguila copper-molybdenum porphyry deposit is part of a large porphyry cluster in a major mineral district actively taking shape with Peñoles and Duran Ventures holding key ground. DRV has defined a sizeable deposit at Aguila and has published a first resource estimate of 375 Million lbs Copper & 22 Million lbs Molybdenum Indicated and 2.1 Billion lbs Copper & 166 Million lbs Molybdenum Inferred.

Read more: Download Article

Source: Mining MarketWatch

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chile’s Codelco kicks off $3.5 billion copper mine expansion

Chilean state-own Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, began construction of the access tunnels to the new level of its El Teniente copper mine on Tuesday. The expansion is part of a $3.5 billion project that will allow the company to extend the mine life for another 50 years.

The 108-year-old operation, located about 130 kilometers southeast of the country’s capital Santiago, is the largest underground mine in the world, with 2,400 kilometers of tunnels and a copper production that reached 400,297 tonnes last year.

The new mine level, located 300 meters deeper than the current one, will enter production phase in 2017, said the company in a statement (available only in Spanish).

The miner added that the expansion project of El Teniente includes the construction of a mining town and the essential infrastructure Codelco needs to access the new mineral reserves – about 2,020 million tonnes with an average grade of 0.86% and important molybdenum content.

Thanks to this project, El Teniente will produce about 430,000 tons of copper a year, said the division general manager, Octavio Araneda.

The expansion of this copper mine is only one of Codelco’s five major structural projects announced recently. Together, they will require an investment of $20 billion in the next four years, but will allow the Chilean mining company to remain the world's #1 copper producer, with a current production close to 1.6 million tons of fine copper per year.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keeping low 'profile' helps Canadian miner gain approval in Peru

Hudbay Minerals has begun building its $1.5-billion Constancia copper mine in southern Peru after keeping a low profile to win crucial support from local communities, company President David Garofalo said.

The groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, in which Garofalo participated along with local leaders, came a week after Peru shelved Newmont Mining's $5-billion gold mine in the northern Cajamarca region due to intractable opposition.

"We stayed focused on the people that are affected and tried not to create too much of a profile for us across Peru," Garofalo told reporters late on Wednesday. "Because outsiders and interlopers get involved and they can disrupt our engagement with communities."

Opponents of mining projects like Newmont's say they want to protect important local water resources and prevent pollution, but mining advocates say local concerns have been hijacked by politically ambitious ideologues who polarise negotiations.

Production at Constancia is slated to start in 2014, with full production seen by the second quarter of 2015. Hudbay plans to roughly triple the size of its copper output over the next four years to 125 000 t/y, largely on the back of production from Constancia.

Peru faces more than 200 pending social conflicts, many related to mining projects, and President Ollanta Humala has replaced two prime ministers during his one-year administration after protests against mining turned violent.

"Even as issues were flaring up in Cajamarca, we got our beneficiation concession," he said, referring to a construction permit granted in June. "The regulatory process in Peru still works."

In July, five people died in demonstrations against Newmont's proposed mine in Cajamarca, and in May two were killed in clashes with police in the southern province of Espinar, some 70 km from Hudbay's Constancia project.

Garofalo said this neighboring protest movement at Xstrata's copper mine, Tintaya, has left Hudbay's development "largely untouched."

"We've had - knock on wood - harmonious relationships."

Hudbay agreed to labor guarantees and has already employed 1,000 locals from the 2,500 who live in the two nearby communities in the district of Chumbivilcas, Garofalo said.

The company is also paying for the relocation of 36 families that live within the 22,500 hectare concession to new homes, and has agreed to invest in roads, sewage systems, schools and health clinics.

Silver Wheaton will fund $750-million of the Constancia project in Peru in exchange for a share of the precious metals produced there and at another Hudbay mine.

Hudbay announced a second-quarter loss earlier this month, due to an impairment charge and decreased sales.

Garofalo said Hudbay hopes Constancia will replicate the successes of its mining complex in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Hudbay's Lalor mine in Manitoba pulled up its first ore two weeks ago, and the nearby Reed project will begin production next year.

He said Hudbay will probably focus future investments in coming years in Canada and Peru.

"Ninety-nine percent of mining goes on quietly and unfettered in Peru," he said.

Source: Reuters

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mitsui to market large share of output from Anglo Chile unit

Mitsui's direct ownership amounts to roughly 5%, but it will have the right to market the entire output share from its JV with Codelco, totaling 120,000 t/y of copper

Japanese trader Mitsui & Co said it would get the right to market a larger-than-expected share of production from Anglo American's Chilean mining unit after it backed Chile's Codelco in a battle for a stake.

Anglo and Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, reached an out-of-court deal on Thursday that ended a 10-month row over the stake in Anglo American Sur.

Codelco and Mitsui, who financed Codelco with a $1.9 billion loan, together now have 29.5 percent, while Anglo's share falls to 50.1 percent.

Mitsui's direct ownership amounts to roughly 5 percent, but it will have the right to market the Codelco-Mitsui venture's entire output share, 120,000 tonnes of copper per year, from the unit's south-central Chilean assets, which include the Los Bronces copper mine, slated to become the world's fifth biggest.

The mining industry worldwide has watched the prolonged dispute over Anglo's Chilean mines as avid Chinese demand for metals pressures miners to scramble for the few promising copper deposits left to exploit.

"There are few locations around the world where copper output is increasing, and at the same time demand from developing countries including China is very strong," said Yasushi Takahashi, chief operating officer of Mitsui's Mineral & Metal Resources Business Unit, said on Friday.

"The bottom line is we expect the tight copper market to continue," Takahashi said at a press briefing in Tokyo.

Mitsui said it would sell most of the concentrate to Japanese smelters.

Copper prices have fallen 13 percent from this year's peak of $8,765 per tonne in February, as global economic growth including in China has slowed, but miners and analysts say tight supply is likely to support the price.

Under the deal over Anglo American Sur, the business's profit will be distributed among the partners and all will now have a pro-rata share of production to market, or offtake. Mitsui will also get Codelco's share of offtake.

The Japanese company will also receive 30,000 tonnes per year of copper from other Codelco assets, which it secured in return for agreeing to provide the Chilean company with a loan to buy the Sur stake.

That brings its offtake to 150,000 tonnes per year, as much as 10 percent of Japan's annual imports of 1.4 million to 1.5 million tonnes, Mitsui officials said.

Japan's cash-rich trading houses have been taking advantage of a strong yen to scoop up commodities and minerals assets around the world.

Mitsui will pay $1.1 billion for its direct 5 percent stake in Anglo American Sur, which could rise to 9.5 percent at a later date should Codelco decide to repay part of the loan with more shares in their joint venture.

Codelco and Mitsui may explore further mining opportunities together in Chile or internationally, Codelco said in a statement to Chile's regulator on Thursday.

"If there's a chance to develop new copper mines in Chile or abroad, we would seriously consider accepting proposals to help Codelco do that," Takahashi said.

Source: Reuters

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Southern Copper says Peru investments to rise 15-20 percent

Southern Copper (SCCO.N) expects rising costs to drive up total investment in all its Peru projects by between 15 and 20 percent, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Delays from social conflicts in Peru, the No. 2 copper producer, have not deterred Southern Copper, and the company is moving ahead with its $1.2 billion Tia Maria project despite higher costs, Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez said.

"Everything has gone up, not just equipment, I mean trucks, drills, tractors ... also projects, engineering and the cost of supplying the plants," he told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.

Gonzalez said sales have not been affected by economic turmoil in Europe, where it sends around 20 percent of its copper. The company does not have a contingency plan in case debt woes in the European Union grow worse, he said.

"We haven't been affected because we have annual contracts with small (European) clients that keep producing," he said, adding the company plans to renew those contracts in October.

Despite uncertainty in Europe, global copper prices should rise in the second half of the year due to low inventories of the red metal and sustained demand from China, he said.

"We don't see what other contingency measures we can take beyond producing at the lowest cost possible and producing the highest volume we can," he said.

As it tries to boost output, Southern Copper, a top global supplier, hopes to begin exploration in Ecuador and Argentina and has concessions in Chile, the world's No. 1 producer.

The company has signed an agreement to take 70 percent participation in a project with miner Dos Rios to explore near Guayaquil, Ecuador, and has opened an office in Neuquen, Argentina, a province Gonzalez described as pro mining.


In Peru, Southern Copper, a unit of Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX), expects to finish a feasibility study for its $1.6 billion Los Chancas project later this year.

"We're going a bit slower than we thought. Here the problem is infrastructure because it's in a topographically difficult zone at the foot of an important river," Gonzalez said.

A new environmental impact study for the stalled $1.2 billion Tia Maria mine should be complete in five months, he said. Tia Maria is expected to produce 120,000 tonnes of copper per year but has faced steep opposition from local farmers.

"We have the support of the ministry of energy and mines and of the very president of the republic, what he wants is for the project to be completed," Gonzalez said.

President Ollanta Humala, a one-time leftist radical, has supported private investment in Peru's vast mining sector since taking office in July, even when local community groups have protested against new projects.

Southern Copper has also faced opposition to a $960 million expansion to its Toquepala mine from local authorities who want to cancel the company's water license. The expansion will probably open in early 2015 rather than 2013, Gonzalez said.

The company has previously said it would participate in negotiations with townspeople in the southern city of Tacna hosted by the central government, but insists the expansion will not increase Toquepala's water use.

"We haven't asked for a new public audience. The audience we had planned followed all the existing regulations but it was canceled due to pressure from the regional government," he said.

Once such expansions and new mines open, Southern Copper's total output could rise to 1.25 million tonnes from 587,491 tonnes of copper produced last year, counting its operations in Mexico, Gonzalez said.

As it plans to double output, Southern Copper is researching potential sales to Asia via Japan's Mitsui (8031.T).

"Once we have our expansions at Toquepala and Cuajone and our new Tia Maria mine, we will look to Asian markets to sell additional volume," Gonzalez said.

Codelco, Anglo American in talks on AAS dispute

Chilean copper producer Codelco has started start talks with London-based Anglo American (LSE: AAL) to negotiate an agreement to a dispute about the former's central Chile assets, known as Anglo American Sur (AAS), the state company said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Codelco CFO Thomas Keller, who is scheduled to take over as CEO on June 1, traveled to London to initiate talks with the multinational firm's representatives.

"Negotiations are taking place today and there's a confidentiality contract, so we can't comment any more," current CEO Diego Hernández said.

Legal proceedings concerning the dispute were suspended until June 22 at the request of the companies.

Codelco filed a lawsuit against Anglo American in January to force the latter to comply with an option contract for a 49% share in AAS.

Codelco has recognized that it is open to acquiring a lower stake in AAS, if properly compensated, according to local press.

The original option was granted to state minerals company Enami when the assets, then known as Disputada de Las Condes, were privatized in 1978 and bought by Exxon (NYSE: XOM), which sold Disputada to Anglo in 2002.

Last October, Codelco announced its intention to exercise the option. However, one month later Anglo American sold a 24.5% stake in the assets to Japan's Mitsubishi for US$5.39bn, a proportionately higher value than Codelco would pay under the option terms. The move was interpreted by Codelco as an attempt to block its option.

AAS's assets include the Los Bronces and El Soldado copper mines and Chagres smelter.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Iran to Become World's 7th Copper Producer

A senior Iranian official says the country is set to improve its global ranking in the copper production industry to the world’s 7th in the current Iranian year (started March 20).

“This year, with the expansion of exploration activities, re-opening of mines and the outlook for discovering 21 million tons of pure copper reserves in the country, Iran's copper industry will improve by two notches to stand as the world’s number 7 in the field,” said Ali Akbar Mehrabian, a special assistant to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Saturday.

Iran's last standing was the world’s 9th with 18 million tons of pure copper, Mehrabian added.
The Iranian official praised Iran's position in the field of extraction of copper minerals and production of cathode copper and called for the rapid exploitation of the industry’s full potentials.

Iran is among the world’s 10 leading mineral-rich countries and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 nations, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Afghanistan.

The Islamic Republic holds 68 types of minerals, including chrome, lead, zinc, copper, coal, gold, tin and iron. It has 37 billion tons of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tons of potential reserves of minerals.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Copper output inches up 0.9% to 1.28Mt in Q1

Chile churned out 1.28Mt of copper in Q1, up 0.9% year-on-year, according to state copper commission Cochilco's monthly report.

Production in March alone fell to 440,300t from 446,600t year-on-year, Cochilco said.

The accumulated increase in production in the first quarter was mainly due to output soaring 86.4% at Anglo American Sur, the central Chilean operations of London-based Anglo American (LSE: AAL), to 105,500t.

Production jumped 72.2% at US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold's (NYSE: FCX) 51%-controlled El Abra mine to 37,200t.

Production at Antofagasta Minerals' El Tesoro and BHP Billiton's (NYSE: BHP) Spence increased 38.9% and 14.7% to 28,200t and 47,500t, respectively.

BHP's 57.5%-controlled Escondida - the world's largest red metal mine - saw production rise 2.8% to 240,200t.

Teck's (TSX, NYSE: TCK) Quebrada Blanca saw a 7% increase to 16,900t, while output at Antofagasta Minerals' Los Pelambres grew 5.1% to 99,200t.

The increases were partially offset by Antofagasta Minerals' Michilla, where output fell 25.5% to 8,200t, FCX's Candelaria, with a 26.2% decline to 26,700t, and Collahuasi, with production dropping 30% to 76,700t.

Output also fell 17.3% at BHP's Cerro Colorado to 18,700t and 17.2% at Anglo American Norte to 26,900t.

State copper producer Codelco's output saw a decline of 10.1% to 372,500t.

Multinational resource group Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) owns 30% of Escondida while two JVs led by Mitsubishi hold the remainder.

Collahuasi is controlled by multinational resource groups Xstrata (LSE: XTA) and Anglo American, each with a 44% stake, while the remainder belongs to a group of Japanese companies led by Mitsui.

Codelco owns the remainder of El Abra.