August 5, 2013 / 4:33 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Chile expects to see mining investments of $112 bln to 2021

SANTIAGO, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Chile's government forecast on
Monday that the world's No. 1 copper producer will attract more
mining investments of some $112 billion in the next eight years.
    The estimate, which is higher than the previous forecast in
November of $104 billion in investments, "is due to the
incorporation of nine new projects for a total of $3.6 billion
and another 20 initiatives (projects) that have updated their
investment budgets," Mining Minister Hernan de Solminihac said.
    In January, the Sonami mining association said it expected
Chile to get $100 billion in mining investment over the next 10
to 12 years, a slightly longer timeframe than previously
forecast, as regulatory uncertainty and energy woes are key
risks.
    Chile's annual production capacity will increase to 8.1
million tonnes of refined copper in 2021 considering the current
investment portfolio, from 5.9 million tonnes last year,
Solminihac said.
    But actual copper output in the coming years may be lower
than capacity due to "contingencies in the sector," he added.
    Though the Andean nation is seeking to boost output at its
giant, ageing mines, a mix of sliding grades, soaring costs,
labor unrest, energy woes and legal setbacks to mining projects
could curb its ambitious plans.
    In 2012, Chile boosted its copper production by 3 percent to
5.455 million tonnes.
    Among companies helping to boost the overall investment
estimate, state miner Codelco, the globe's biggest copper miner,
expects to boost its annual investment to an all-time high of
more than $5 billion this year, from about $4 billion in
2012. 
    Codelco is aiming to produce more than 2 million
tonnes of the red metal by 2021, a big leap from less than 1.7
million tonnes last year, and to do so it has launched an
ambitious long-term investment plan of about $28 billion.
    Mining sector dynamism helped economic activity in Chile to
beat forecasts and expand 4.2 percent in June from the same
month a year ago, data showed earlier on Monday. Copper accounts
for over half of all Chilean exports.

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