Chile’s Codelco raises $2bn for debt refinancing and mine expansions

8 January 2020 (Last Updated January 8th, 2020 12:01)

Chile’s copper producer Codelco has raised $2bn bonds to secure financing for its multibillion-dollar upgrade projects, as well as to refinance debt and maintain a significant cash position.

Chile’s Codelco raises $2bn for debt refinancing and mine expansions
Chuquiacamata copper mine in Chile. Credit: Diego Delso.

Chile’s copper producer Codelco has raised $2bn bonds to secure financing for its multibillion-dollar upgrade projects, as well as to refinance debt and maintain a significant cash position.

The state-owned company has sold $1bn in ten-year bonds and obtained a further $1bn in 30-year bonds issued in September 2019, yielding 3.175% and 3,958% respectively.

Codelco has secured the funds under a new financing strategy that includes loans and the sale of non-structural assets.

The latest move comes a day after the Chilean Government decided to rule out a capital injection for the copper company.

Codelco administration and finance vice-president Alejandro Rivera said: “A favourable debt market, with base rates at historically low levels, makes pre-financing the cash needs of 2021 appealing.

“On the other hand, the conditions obtained in this process confirm that investors maintain their trust in Codelco and the development of their project portfolio.”

Through the issuance of these bonds, Codelco maintains its strategy of matching its debt amortisation profile with structural projects, including Underground Chuquicamata, Nuevo Mina Level, Rajo Inca and Andean Transfer, which operate at full capacity.

Chile’s Minister of Finance Ignacio Briones said: “We aren’t talking about a new capitalisation, but the government has always supported Codelco to get access to financing through capitalisation and international markets.”

In November 2019, Codelco said it is investing $5.6bn into its Chuquiacamata mine to convert the century-old operation from an open-pit mine to an underground project.

The mine stretches nearly 3,000ft below the Earth’s surface.