(Adds CEO comment, details)
SANTIAGO Dec 12 Antofagasta Minerals
said on Monday that environmental regulators approved a proposed
expansion of its Centinela mine in northern Chile, opening the
door for a $4.35 billion investment by the Chilean copper mining
The expansion project, which is set to be rolled out in two
stages, would double Centinela's copper output to over 400,000
tonnes a year.
"With environmental approval, we will be completing the
engineering studies in the coming months," Antofagasta Chief
Executive Ivan Arriagada said in a statement.
"We hope to submit this project to the board of Antofagasta
in 2018 once these studies are done. The final authorization to
bring this project about will depend on the required investment
... and the possibility of securing financing for its
construction, aspects which we are currently working on."
The expansion would extend the life of the mine to 2056.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and