The Chilean mining group Antofagasta Plc. has secured funding to expand its flagship project, the Los Pelambres copper mine, in Chile's Coquimbo region, about 200 km north of Santiago, informs the online publication MINING.com.
The mine, one of the largest copper reserves in the world, accounts for approximately half of the company’s copper production, forecasted at 750,000 to 790,000 tonnes in 2019.
The expansion at Los Pelambres mine will entail producing an additional 60,000 tonnes per year on average for the first 15 years, starting with 40,000 tonnes in 2021, when the expansion project is expected to be completed.
According to Ivan Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta, the expansion project has been financed on favourable terms with the support of a strong group of lenders.
Financing amounts to $1.3 billion, including $500 million for a second desalination plant and pipeline to meet the project’s water requirements with a production of 400 litres per second.
According to a press release by the mining group, the debt financing comprises a first $425 million tranche with a 10 year term from Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and a second tranche worth $875 million with a 7 year term, borrowed from a consortium of international banks. That second tranche obtained a Green Evaluation from S&P Global Ratings: Los Pelambres thus became the first mining company in the world to receive this type of evaluation.