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Codelco to sign Llurimagua deal with Enami; US$40M smelter delay loss flagged

Chile's Codelco and Ecuador's Enami EP will shortly sign a deal to jointly develop the Llurimagua copper project in Ecuador, Reuters reported March 19, citing Chilean mining minister Baldo Prokurica.

Already in its advanced exploration stage, the Llurimagua project may be the first mine Codelco will operate outside Chile following years of attempts at international expansion, the report said.

"We are in the final stages and we hope that with the visit of the Ecuadorian president to Chile, he will be part of the signing of the agreements," Prokurica said.

Meanwhile, Prokurica said in a separate Reuters report March 19 that Codelco stands to lose more than US$40 million due to a delay of a planned smelter restart, stemming from issues related to construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. The construction firm is facing Canadian allegations of bribing Libyan officials for contracts from 2001 to 2011.

Halted in December 2018, the smelter is being upgraded in order to meet new emissions standards.

A Codelco representative reiterated a previous statement made in February to the news wire, saying it should be able to resume the smelter's reactivation at the start of April, and that it has adequate stocks to deliver on its contracts for the year.