Anglo Lines Up Prospective Buyers of North Chile Copper Mines

Anglo American Plc said it’s speaking to several prospective buyers of copper mines in Chile as the metal is more favored than other commodities by investors.

“We’ve got a broad spectrum of potential buyers,” of the Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde mines in northern Chile, Hennie Faul, who runs Anglo’s copper business, said in an interview in Santiago Wednesday. “We’ve had good interest and the banks that we’ve engaged are now in that process with us.”

Asian investors and private equity firms are among would-be buyers, Faul said. Anglo is looking to divest assets including three copper mines and a smelter in Chile as it focuses on expansions at its “world-class” Collahuasi and Los Bronces mines and a project in Peru. Discussions are taking place as copper heads toward a market shortfall in 2017 as the world’s aging mines struggle to keep pace with demand growth.

For now, Anglo is focused on reaching optimum operational efficiency at Collahuasi and Los Bronces, Faul said.

The London-based company is on track to achieve its copper production target of between 720,000 tons and 750,000 tons as it overcomes restricted water supply at Los Bronces and disruptions to operations in Chile’s northern desert caused by downpours last month.

Anglo has “no intention” of lowering its stake in Anglo Sur, through which it owns Los Bronces and the Los Sulfatos copper deposit, one of the world’s largest, Faul said.

Talks on the sale of Anglo’s El Soldado mine and Chagres smelter have progressed at a slower rate than its northern operations because the company needs to negotiate off-take terms with partners Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp. and Codelco.

Anglo is open to developing the Quellaveco copper project in Peru as a joint venture including with current partner Mitsubishi and is not currently in talks with Southern Copper Corp., which has expressed interest in the assets, Faul said.

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