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Antofagasta to resume work on Antucoya copper project

Keywords: Tags  Antofagasta, Antucoya, copper, Marubeni, Diego Hernandez, Claire Hack

LONDON — Antofagasta Plc will resume the development of its Antucoya copper project in northern Chile, it said late March 27.

The development restart follows the conclusion of a full project review, which included renegotiation of the main construction contracts, additional engineering, and the updating of the resource model after further drilling.

The review provided greater certainty about the development costs, Antofagasta said, and enabled the mine plan to be strengthened.

Total development costs are now estimated at $1.9 billion, including a $500-million impairment charge incurred when the project was suspended for the review at the end of last year. Antucoya is now likely to be funded partly via project finance at the asset level, the company said.

Operations are expected to begin in 2015, with average copper cathode production of about 85,000 tonnes per year in the first 10 years of the mine’s life.

"We believe that the Antucoya project will be a valuable addition to the group’s portfolio of operations when it comes into production, with a robust mine plan, which may further benefit in the future from a number of factors, which include additional resource potential and cost efficiencies," Antofagasta chief executive officer Diego Hernández said in a statement.

Antucoya is owned 70 percent by Antofagasta and 30 percent by Marubeni Corp.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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