Codelco to double spending over two years
SANTIAGO – Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper mining company, expects to more than double its current spending levels over the next two years in search of copper ore deposits across the country as well as abroad. In an increase of approximately 112%, spokesmen for the company have announced that the exploration budget for 2012 and 2013 will amount to US$127 million. It’s budget for 2010-2011 totaled around US$60 million.
Exploration is currently underway in Ecuador, in a partnership with the state-owned mining company ENAMI EP, as well as in parts of Brazil. Vice President of Development Isaac Aranguiz stated that Codelco’s priority “is basically the Americas, particularly in the Andean countries of South America”.
The company is currently locked in a fierce legal battle with British-owned mining corporation Anglo American. Codelco has filed a lawsuit against the company, demanding they sell them 49% of the shares in Anglo American Sur S.A, and also asking that they pay what the state considers “damages caused by breach of contract,” including the dividends of the shares they hope to acquire.
Codelco is currently the world’s largest copper producer, formed by the 1971 nationalization of foreign-owned copper mining companies operating in Chile. The constitutional reforms enacted during the presidency of Salvador Allende passed full ownership of all copper mines and fields to Codelco, which was officially created in 1976 by decree from the Pinochet administration. Goldman Sachs valued the company’s total assets as between US$24-27 billion in 2006, and it currently holds over 10% of the entire world’s copper reserves.