Codelco and Antofagasta agree exploration deal

SANTIAGO, Aug 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s giant state copper
miner Codelco [CODEL.UL] said on Tuesday it had signed a
four-year joint exploration deal with major producer
Antofagasta Minerals (ANTO.L: ) in the country’s far north.

Codelco said Antofagasta agreed to invest $2.5 million to
explore the Cumbres prospect. If exploration is successful,
Codelco said, Antofagasta would fund a feasibility study and
would form a joint venture project with Codelco subsidiary
Minera Picacho.

State-run Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, has
limited funding to explore its vast mining holdings in Chile,
which could help replace older resources that are increasingly
more difficult and expensive to mine.

Antofagasta, owned by Chile’s Luksic family, is moving
aggressively to expand its mining assets and currently has
operations in the United States and Asia.

Critics say large companies such as Codelco and global
giant BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: ) (BLT.L: ) hold most of the mining
concessions in No. 1 copper producer Chile, making it
increasingly difficult for junior companies to get a piece of
the action and find new giant deposits.
(Reporting by Santiago Newsroom; Editing by Walter Bagley)

Codelco and Antofagasta agree exploration deal