Our Copper Business
In 2012, we produced a record 373,000 tonnes of copper at our five copper mines including: Quebrada Blanca and Carmen de Andacollo in Chile; Antamina in Peru; and Highland Valley Copper and Duck Pond in Canada. We have recently completed the construction of a new copper concentrator at Carmen de Andacollo and have projects underway to expand capacity and increase the working lives of several of our other copper mines.
In Chile, during the first quarter of 2013 we continued detailed design and the procurement of long-lead equipment for the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project. The feasibility study for the Relincho project, also in Chile, is progressing and expected to be complete at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. A prefeasibility study was completed in 2011 for the Galore Creek project in British Columbia.
In addition, we are actively exploring and assessing development opportunities for new copper deposits in Canada, Chile, Mexico, the United States, Namibia, Peru, Turkey and Australia.
Our business is well positioned to benefit from the expected increase in demand for copper to support the development of emerging markets, notably in China and India. Currently, approximately 70% of our copper production is sold into the Asia-Pacific region.
The increased demand for copper use is also supported by the expansion of green technology; for example, a hybrid vehicle requires 13-23 more kilograms of copper than a non-hybrid vehicle and a wind turbine requires more than three tonnes of copper.
A large potential market for copper may also arise from copper’s excellent antimicrobial properties. In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered 275 copper alloys as antimicrobial materials, having determined that the fast rate at which germs die on surfaces made from these alloys means they are superior for use in settings such as hospitals and public transport.
Last updated: April, 2013