BHP looks for ‘legal certainty’ before it invests $10 billion in Chile
BHP Group, which operates Chile’s Escondida Mine, the largest copper mine in the world, said it is willing to invest more than $10 billion in Chile but only if certain regulatory and fiscal situations are guaranteed.
The provisions come following the election a new, leftist government that is redrafting its constitution and considering raising its mining royalty to fund expanded social programs. Chile produces nearly a quarter of the world’s copper. Reuters reported that several copper miners have paused investment decisions in the country while the political negotiations play out.
"We love Chile. We would like to stay here. We would like to grow in this country. But in order to do that, it will require fiscal stability, legal certainty and a clear pathway to permit," Ragnar Udd, BHP's president of minerals, Americas, told the CRU-CESCO World Copper Conference in Santiago.
Udd spoke at the conference not long after Marcela Hernando Pérez, the new Chilean mining minister, who said that Santiago does not plan to nationalize the country's mining sector. Perez had left by the time Udd spoke.
Udd said that the investments from BHP would fund a new concentrator and leach processing facilities, new mining areas and projects to help reduce the company's carbon emissions.
"I hope that I've convinced you today that under the right investment conditions, we can deliver copper to support the world of the future in a way that is sustainable and create social value for the communities and societies in which we operate," Udd said.