Copper producer Aurubis and Chilean mining company Codelco have formalised a comprehensive cooperation agreement aimed at advancing sustainable copper production.

The partnership focuses on environmental protection, health and innovation, with over 15 sub-projects designed to promote responsible production practices.

It encompasses six core areas. These include technical projects for more environmentally friendly production in Chile and an employee exchange programme to foster a sustainable supply chain.

The partners also plan to expand commercial activities to secure additional metals for Europe’s energy transition.

Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said: “We are working with our raw material partners worldwide to set new standards in sustainable copper production.

“This partnership is unique in the copper industry and an open invitation to all supply chain stakeholders to take part. The global copper industry is facing huge challenges, and we all have to work together to transform it.”

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In the short term, more than 15 projects are planned to safeguard health and environmental protection, including reducing emissions from key steps in copper production.

Aurubis will leverage its technological expertise in air and water protection, contributing fine particle filters and analysis methods.

Codelco will be responsible for project implementation.

Effective April 2024, an expert exchange programme will enhance participants’ knowledge of environmental and health issues and a sustainable supply chain.

Codelco CEO Rubén Alvarado said: “We want to ensure that the methods we use to extract minerals, essential for the global transition to clean energy sources, grow increasingly sustainable.

“We are all targeting a central objective, environmentally friendly production, and this cooperation with Aurubis is an important driver here. This also goes hand in hand with our purpose as a company: be a pillar for the sustainable development of Chile and of the world.”

Furthermore, the two companies have committed to sharing experiences related to the Copper Mark, a sustainability seal in the copper industry.

Codelco has completed the Copper Mark assurance process for its operations, and Aurubis is set to conclude certification for its large smelters in 2024.

Last year, Reuters reported that Codelco will invest a further $720m (697.64bn pesos) to overhaul the Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile.