The Chilean state Codelcothe world’s largest copper producer, announced the start of an unprecedented process to seek exploration partnerships with third parties in 34 projects located in different regions of the country.
The offer of the “no-core” prospects had already been announced by a company executive at the end of March, which was not well received by union groups that interpreted it as an intention to privatize the state company’s assets.
The firm said in a statement that the operation “meets all the internal and legal requirements to be arranged for associations with third parties” since they are not part of the deposits currently being exploited or destined for expansion or replacement plans.
“The selected portfolio is made up of projects that cover approximately 255,000 hectares under concession to Codelco, and that are in an early stage of exploration with different degrees of progress: eight of the projects have drilling information; 22, with geophysical information and 33, with geochemical information,” he added.
Basic exploration is mainly for copper and gold.
According to information previously provided by the Vice President of Mining Resources and Development, Patricio Vergara, the prospects would not meet the company’s development profile due to their size or quality.
Codelco said that the applicants must have the capacity to attract capital, innovation or the necessary technologies for the exploration and future development of these projects.
“This model will make it possible to evaluate the possibility of an upcoming construction and operation of new deposits, which will allow the corporation to capture value and generate additional surpluses for Chile,” he said.
The legislation establishes that in order to have mining properties for an association with third parties, the firm must have carried out basic exploration work and have the agreement of the board of directors and a previous report, also favorable, by the company. Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco).
Codelco already has a partnership with Freeport McMoran in El Abra.