(Adds comment from Atlas, adds details on current ownership of
By Gram Slattery
SANTIAGO May 30 Chilean mining company
Antofagasta Minerals has sold its minority stake in a
solar park in northern Chile, and will launch a power auction
for one of its copper mines, the company said on Tuesday.
The firm said in a statement it had agreed to sell its 40
percent stake in the 69.5-megawatt Javiera solar park in
north-central Chile to Atlas Renewable Energy, a Latin
America-focused solar platform launched in March by English
private equity fund Actis.
Antofagasta participated in the park through EnergiaAndina,
a joint venture with Australia's Origin Energy. Javiera
was originally constructed by now-bankrupt SunEdison, and is now
100 percent owned by Atlas.
"Atlas is pleased to conclude another important acquisition
to grow its footprint in Chile, with long-term contracted
projects with high quality offtakers," the company's chief
executive, Carlos Barrera, wrote in an email. "We're looking
forward to explore further growth opportunities in the region."
Antofagasta did not disclose a price for the sale but said
that as part of the transaction, it had renegotiated the prices
of the energy produced by the park.
Javiera signed an agreement in 2014 to provide power at a
fixed price to Antofagasta's Los Pelambres copper mine. Power
prices in the area have since dropped precipitously, meaning the
terms of energy contracts inked by large mines in previous years
are now largely unfavorable.
"This decision takes place in the context of Antofagasta
Minerals reducing costs and focusing on the business that we
best know: copper production," Antofagasta CEO Ivan Arriagada
said in a statement.
Antofagasta also said it would launch a request for tenders
in the coming days to provide energy to its Zaldivar mine in
Chile starting in 2020.
The auction is likely to draw interest from an array of
domestic and international energy companies that have flooded
into the South American nation in recent
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Peter Cooney)