World’s top copper miner Antofagasta to move towards renewables

Chilean mining giant Antofagasta is renegotiating its long-term energy contracts in the hope that sources of renewable energy will supply power to its various mining facilities in the country.

Speaking ahead of the London Metal Exchange Week, the company’s CEO Ivan Arriagada said that as prices in the renewables sector continue to drop, it will look to replicate the implementation of renewables-based power at its Los Pelambres mine.

Los Pelambres in Northern Chile is Antofagasta’s top producing mine, and is powered by non-conventional renewable sources for nearly 45% of its energy.

“Going forward, we will prefer non-conventional renewable sources, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we surpassed 50%, though we don’t have a specific goal,” said Arriagada.

The company’s remaining mines in Northern Chile, namely Centinela, Antucoya and Zaldivar, use energy from coal-fired plants. However, the CEO confirmed a move towards renewables is being negotiated for these facilities.

In recent years, a series of wind and solar energy projects have been established in Chile, which is driving down prices in the renewables industry and could contribute to significant cost savings in the South American nation’s bustling mining sector.