Mining & Metals: The week in 10 stories

By
Friday, February 9, 2018

CHILE

Chilean copper production was down 0.9% in 2017, according to the latest figures published by state copper commission Cochilco. The domestic mining industry produced a total 5.50Mt of copper, down from 5.55Mt reported in 2016.

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The country's environmental evaluation service (SEA) approved 30 mining-related projects involving investments of US$6.07bn in 2017, according to information compiled by BNamericas.

Barrick Gold expects to record a pre-tax impairment of US$429mn at Pascua-Lama in its upcoming results for 4Q17, the company said in a statement published on its website.

PERU

Peru's production of copper, zinc, iron ore and molybdenum all rose to record levels 2017. Copper output climbed 3.9% to 206,328t in 2017. Zinc production increased 10.2% to 1.47Mt, while molybdenum output gained 9.3% to 28,141t and iron ore production was up 15% to 8.8Mt.

Freeport-McMoran's Cerro Verde unit nearly doubled its fourth quarter profit, as surging copper prices offset lower output. Cerro Verde posted a US$218mn profit compared with a US$115mn profit in 4Q16. Sales rose to US$911mn from US$761mn in the last three months of 2016, which was partly offset by higher sales costs.

PERU AND MEXICO

Southern Copper, which has operations in Peru and Mexico, posted a US$777mn profit for full-year 2017. Sales rose 23.7% to US$6.65bn from US$5.38bn a year ago, the Phoenix-based company said in a statement.

Southern Copper is looking to start work on the El Arco and Los Chancas projects in 2021, a senior official said. The company has set capex at US$2.9bn for each project. El Arco in Mexico (245,000t/y) and Los Chancas in Peru (180,000t/y) are both expected to start producing by 2025.

ECUADOR

About 69% Ecuadorians voted against allowing mining activity in protected natural areas and in urban zones, while over 67% said there should be limits on oil industry activity in the ITT fields within Yasuni National Park. President Lenin Moreno secured backing for a seven-question referendum.

Moreno appointed Rebeca Illescas to head the country's mining ministry after her predecessor Javier Córdova resigned days before a key referendum. Environmental groups had been calling for Córdova's resignation on accusations that he awarded mining exploration concessions within protected natural areas.

BRAZIL

Eurasian Resources Group's (ERG) Brazilian subsidiary, Bahia Mineração (Bamin), inked a deal on Tuesday with a consortium of Chinese companies to form a JV to develop a US$2.4bn integrated mining and logistics project in Brazil.