Chile presidential candidate studying mining policy changes

August 14, 2013

Presidential frontrunner Michelle Bachelet said she is studying potential changes to mining policy in world No.1 copper producer Chile, including to royalties and funding mechanisms for state company Codelco, Reuters reported.

"We can talk about (changes to mining policy) after August, when we'll receive various proposals, and I'm going to look through various options to select the best one," Bachelet said during a press conference with foreign correspondents in response to a question on mining royalties and funding for Codelco.

Bachelet governed the Andean country from 2006 to 2010 and is expected by many to win a November election or potential December run-off against a weakened right-wing.

Chile increased royalties on mining firms to help pay for rebuilding after 2010's devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake.

Major global miners BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore Xstrata, as well as state-owned Codelco, own some of Chile's massive deposits. BHP operates Escondida, the world's biggest copper mine, in Chile's mineral-rich north.

Chile's government this year returned less capital to Codelco than the miner had hoped for, leading some in the industry to suggest a new, steadier mechanism to fund the state copper producer.

Bachelet has unveiled an ambitious policy program, including plans to "work toward" free education, hike corporate taxes and draft a new constitution to replace the one implemented under former dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1980, Reuters reported.



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