Antofagasta to complete Centinela district prefeasibility this year

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

London-based copper miner Antofagasta plc (LSE: ANTO) expects to complete the prefeasibility study for two projects at its Centinela mining district by the end of the year, according to CEO Diego Hernández.

The Centinela district, in Chile's northern region II, includes two operating Antofagasta mines, Esperanza and El Tesoro, as well as the Esperanza Sur and Encuentro Sulphides projects.

Initial estimates put the Esperanza Sur deposit's resources at 1.6Bt of 0.39% copper and Encuentro Sulphides' at 1.1Bt of 0.40% copper.

Hernández said that as part of its long-term growth strategy, the company has decided to develop the two as a single project, "to reduce the capital intensity and maximize value," the CEO said during a webcast to discuss 2013 results.

Planned investment for the Centinela district is currently at US$2.7bn for production of 140,000t/y. After completion of the prefeasibility study, a decision to move forward could come in 2016, with production in 2019.

If the Centinela projects are completed, Antofagasta could reach annual production of 1Mt of copper, as the company is moving forward with its greenfield Antucoya project, as well as the debottlenecking at Esperanza and expansion works at its flagship Los Pelambres mine.

Antofagasta reported a net profit of US$660mn in 2013, down 36.4% from US$1.04bn the previous year. Copper output last year rose 1.6% to 721,200t.

Antofagasta in controlled by Chile's Luksic group.

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