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SANTIAGO, April 22 (Reuters) – Chilean state-owned mining company Codelco said on Friday it had started scouting for potential partners for 34 projects across the country, its first such venture in joint exploration.
The offer of ‘non-essential’ leads was first reported by a company executive in late March, but was met with opposition from unions, who saw it as an attempt to privatize company assets. state-owned company, the largest copper producer in the world.
Codelco said the 34 projects meet “all internal and legal requirements to organize for third-party partnerships” because they are not part of the currently mined fields, intended for expansion or replacement.
“The selected portfolio is made up of projects that cover approximately 255,000 hectares under concession to Codelco, and which are at an early stage of exploration with varying degrees of advancement,” he said in a statement, adding that the Basic exploration mainly concerns copper and gold.
Eight of the projects have drilling information, 22 have geophysical information and 33 have geochemical information, according to the release.
Codelco said applicants must be able to attract capital, innovation or technology needed for projects.
The company, which already has a partnership with Freeport McMoran in the El Abra mine, added that the model will allow it to assess the possibility of “future construction and operation of new deposits”.
Chilean law stipulates that Codelco must carry out basic exploration work before it can form partnerships with third parties on prospects. Partnerships must also have the support of the board of directors and a favorable report from the Chilean Copper Commission.
Reporting by Fabián Andrés Cambero, Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Sam Holmes
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