Major surface mining contractor Thiess has booked a US$105 million copper mine contract in Chile, providing little meaningful detail on the work at the Llano project with UK-listed Antofagasta Minerals.
Thiess said mining and asset management services would start at the greenfields site this month.
Llano will feed ore to Centinela, one of Antofagasta’s largest Chile copper operations. It owns 70% of Centinela in a joint venture with Japan’s Marubeni Corporation.
The pair are weighing a $3.7 billion expansion, adding a second concentrator, amid ongoing mining royalty and tax reform uncertainty in Chile.
Antofagasta reported 2022 production of 247,500t of copper at a cash cost of $2.44/lb ($1.75/lb after molybdenum and gold by-product credits) and is forecasting output this year of 235-250,000t at $2.55/lb ($1.70/lb after credits).
Centinela has estimated reserves of 2 billion tonnes grading 0.40% copper for 43 years of remaining mine life.
Thiess is jointly owned by Spanish-controlled construction company CIMIC and the US hedge fund Elliott Management.