Chile’s State mining company Codelco, still the biggest copper producer in the world, yesterday approved and signed into effect its biggest ever investment. The Chuquicamata mine is going to become an underground operation and it’s going to cost U$3.3Bn to do the job. Some of the stats are pretty darned impressive about the job in hand such as the 180km of underground tunnels it’ll start with and how they’ll end up at over a thousand about 40 years down the line when the resource is depleted. But the one that really boggles the mind is the ventilation shaft they’re going to build, which is 11m wide and a 918m deep, i.e. seven times the height of the Eiffel Tower (modern society’s standard unit of measurement). Not a hole you’d want to fall into. More here for those with the necessary Castilian knowledge.
It’s notable the way the big players are still spending big on long-term copper infrastructure in Chile. Add in the $7Bn+ that BHP is ploughing into La Escondida (world single bigger copper mine), via site investment plus $3.5Bn or so on a desal plant that means it gets to run on seawater in the future. All at the same time as BHP warning that 2016 (a year out) will be one of the low production years for the mine…these dudes are looking to the serious future and don’t share the marketwatcher’s neuroses of every up or downtick.
Anyway, the Codelco news this week gives me the excuse to stick this one up here. Great tune.