Lundin Mining, a Toronto-based mining company, has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in the company that operates the Caserones copper-molybdenum mine in Chile, the world’s largest producer of the metal.
The acquisition gives Lundin Mining a 51% ownership stake in Caserones, with plans to acquire an additional 19% in the future. To finance the purchase, the company has secured commitments for a three-year, $800 million loan.
The deal, which was signed in March, involved acquiring up to a 70% stake in Lumina Copper, a subsidiary of JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp., which operates the Caserones mine.
Lundin Mining’s CEO, Peter Rockandel, expressed his satisfaction with the acquisition, stating that it adds another significant long-life copper mine to their portfolio with substantial growth potential. Including Caserones, Lundin Mining’s operations produced over 191,000 tonnes of copper in the first half of the current year on a pro-forma basis.
Located in Chile’s Atacama desert at an altitude of 4,200m to 4,600m above sea level, the Caserones mine has faced delays and cost overruns since it started production in May 2014. Currently, it produces approximately 100,000 tonnes of copper annually, falling short of the originally intended 150,000 tonnes.
Lundin Mining sees potential to improve the mine’s life-of-mine plan, as indicated in a technical report filed recently. Its proximity to Lundin’s Candelaria mine (160km away) and the Josemaría project in Argentina (only 20km away) offers synergies and potential savings in supply, logistics, and management strategies not yet reflected in the mine’s existing plan.
With a total land package of over 58,500 hectares, Lundin believes there is significant exploration potential at Caserones.
In the first half of 2023, Caserones produced 69,704 tonnes of copper and 2,393 tonnes of molybdenum. Copper production consisted of 61,333 tonnes of concentrate and 8,371 tonnes of cathodes. For the second half of 2023, Lundin Mining anticipates producing 60,000 to 65,000 tonnes of copper and 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes of molybdenum from the mine.
May also be interesting: “Mining for innovation: the R&D structures of steel companies at work.”