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Copper miner Antofagasta opens exploration office in Peru
Copper miner Antofagasta Plc. plans to open a mining exploration office in Peru before the end of the year, expanding this way the presence its owner, the Luksic group, already has in the Andean country through a stake in a major spirits manufacturer acquired in June.
Helped by a sharp recovery in copper prices, the miner has been considering for months to grow its business beyond Chile, where it has majority stakes in four copper mines — Los Pelambres (60%), El Tesoro (70%), Michilla (74.2%) and Esperanza (74.2%).
Chief executive Ivan Arriagada told mining news outlet Dipromin (in Spanish) the firm would remain focused in the Americas, particularly in Chile, where Antofagasta — one of the oldest companies listed in London — was born.
Arriagada, however, said the group decide to expand beyond Chile and chose Peru as a first destination because the Andean country has “more favourable conditions to new foreign investment” that its southern neighbour.
“Obtaining permits for a mining project in Chile today takes at least four years, and there are about 500 different licences you need to gain for any initiative,” Arriagada told Dipromin. In contrast, he noted, the licencing process in Peru takes about 18 months.