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Codelco cuts investment budget by further US$2.25B

A declining copper price has prompted Chile’s Codelco to shelve US$2.25 billion worth of planned investment, Reuters reported Oct. 5, citing an internal newsletter.

The copper heavyweight said it now plans to spend US$18 billion over the five years to 2020, which will allow “better sustainability of the project portfolio.”

Instead of developing several projects simultaneously, the company will now undertake them sequentially.

As part of the amended strategy, the Radomiro Tomic sulfur project will be delayed until 2024, while a project to build a new level at the El Teniente underground mine will now not be operational until 2023, three years later than planned.

However, the expansion of the Chuquicamata mine, which is already underway, will continue as planned in order to meet its anticipated completion deadline of 2019.

Codelco signaled last year that it required an investment of US$25 billion between 2015 and 2020 to dig deeper at existing mining sites to maintain the flow of production.

However, a falling copper price and a decision by the Chilean government to cut funding to the state-owned company has prompted Codelco to revise its planned investment budget a number of times since September last year.

Codelco was quoted by Reuters as saying that production in September is in line with expectations, despite falling ore grades and work stoppages.