Latin America to receive 50% of global mining investment up to 2020 - Codelco

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latin America will receive half of the US$325bn in global mining investments between now and 2020, according to Chilean state copper producer Codelco's CEO Diego Hernández.

Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Peru will receive the bulk of these investments in the period, Hernández said at the Expomin 2012 mining convention being held in capital Santiago.

Latin America's large reserves have allowed it to grow its stake in global production of several metals such as copper, silver, molybdenum, gold and zinc over the last two decades, the CEO said.

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Currently, 45% of global copper output comes from Latin America, as well as 50% of silver, 26% of molybdenum, 21% of zinc and 20% of gold.

However, growth in the Latin American mining sector has not been reflected in the region's stake in global GDP, which has remained flat at 9% since 1990, Hernández added.

Some of the challenges the industry faces are related to decreasing ore grades, bigger projects, greater infrastructure needs and higher costs for the development of projects and the operation of mines.

Mining investments in Chile are estimated at US$78bn-US$100bn, enabling the country to maintain its position as the world's largest copper producer, according to Hernández.

However, Chile will see its gap with Peru - the world's second largest copper producer - reduced and its stake in global production fall from the current 35% to 31% by 2020, the CEO said.