Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine is talking to Canada’s Teck Resources Ltd about resource-sharing as the two companies embark on ambitious expansion projects, its Chief Executive Jorge Gomez said on Wednesday.
Collahuasi – owned by Glencore and Anglo American – is seeking “synergies” with companies with operations close to its own mine in the Tarapaca area on the border with Bolivia, Gomez said, principal among them Teck.
These include sharing pipe and power lines and maritime facilities, as well as potentially sharing desalinated water in an area where water shortages are increasingly becoming an issue, he added.
“We have many things in common that we have been talking about over time and which is helping both them and us in terms of construction and future developments,” Gómez told reporters at an event in Santiago.
“It does not make much sense that two companies so close together should double-up on these things.”
Collahuasi is considering constructing an aqueduct to transport desalinated water left over from operations from Teck’s Quebrada Blanca to its own mine as a back-up resource.
“Eventually they will have a surplus which we can use,” he said.
Chile’s copper industry will triple its use of sea water for industrial processes in the next decade, state copper agency Cochilco said on Tuesday, as global miners in the world’s top producer of the red metal seek alternatives amid growing water shortages.
At the end of December Collahuasi, one of Chile’s largest mines in terms of output, submitted a $3.2 billion expansion plan to local authorities, which would take its production to 710,000 tons per year.
Last month, Teck teamed up with the Japanese Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp to boost the production of its ageing Quebrada Blanca deposit to 300,000 tonnes of copper annually from 23,400 tonnes in 2017.