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Anglo American flags 100-year life potential for Quellaveco copper project

Anglo American PLC expects the mine life of its US$5 billion Quellaveco copper project in Peru to reach nearly 100 years, the Financial Times reported Oct. 15, citing Tom McCulley, head of the company's Peruvian division.

Anglo American owns 60% of the project, while Mitsubishi Corp. holds 40% following a US$600 million investment in 2018.

"This is not going to be a 30-year mine. My personal opinion is that it is going to be closer to 100 years," McCulley reportedly said in a briefing. "It will be a license to print money for a long period of time."

Citing a company presentation, the report said drill samples suggest that mineralization at Quellaveco may extend to a depth of 1,000 meters from the currently defined 400 meters. In addition, McCulley said recent drilling showed the potential of another major deposit being discovered near the main project area.

He highlighted a 95-kilometer water pipeline and community relations as two of the biggest risks to Quellaveco. In August, the company accelerated about US$30 million in community project investments amid protests that threatened to disrupt operations.

Quellaveco is scheduled to start production in 2022 and is forecast to produce an average of 300,000 tonnes per annum of copper equivalent in the first 10 years of operation.

The property is estimated to contain 1.3 billion tonnes of ore reserves grading 0.57% total copper for 7.5 million tonnes of copper, according to the company's website.