Chile’s Codelco to release some ‘non-core’ assets in rare privatisation move

Chile’s state-run copper giant Codelco is preparing to offer the market some ‘non-core’ exploration assets, according to its vice president of mining resources and development, Patricio Vergara.

Speaking at the CRU-CESCO World Copper Conference in Santiago yesterday, Vergara said the privatised assets could become eventual partnerships, which would mark a new model for the firm in Chile.

“We could make some kind of association with those companies that are interested in investing in joint development,” he said without providing any further technical details of the projects or a timeframe for the divestments.

Codelco has also been exploring desalination solutions to Chile’s continued water scarcity issue along with partners Anglo American, Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and a local water utility.

Anglo’s Chile manager Aaaron Puna yesterday revealed plans to build a coastal plant in the Valparaiso region that would produce drinking water for residents in exchange for access to waste water that could be used at Anglo’s nearby mines.

In addition to the proposed desalination plant, Anglo plans to invest US$6.5 billion across two producing copper mines in Chile. The multinational remains ‘committed to Chile’, though it’s keeping close tabs on a process to write a new constitution along with government plans to raise taxes, Puna said.