Japanese firm JX Nippon Mining & Metals has signed an agreement to buy out the stake in the Caserones copper mine owned by its partners Mitsui & Co and Mitsui Mining and Smelting for an undisclosed consideration.
The mine is located in northern Chile, close to the border with Argentina.
JX Nippon aims to maintain and expand production volume as well as extend the life of the mine by investing in automation using Internet of things (IoT) technology.
In a press statement, JX Nippon stated: “The copper concentrate from the Caserones Copper Mine is a valuable resource for the JX Nippon Mining & Metals Group smelting and refining facilities. As the copper grade of ores worldwide declines and impurities are on the increase, the value of the high-quality and clean Caserones ores is rising.
“Obtaining such excellent copper concentrate is seen as of key importance for the Company’s copper smelting and refining business, the core of the metal supply chain from upstream raw material ores to the downstream advanced materials, and including recycling.”
JX Nippon Mining & Metals is the metals unit of Eneos Holdings.
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According to Reuters, the annual output of the mine’s copper concentrates has stabilised at over 100,000t after a series of ramp-up delays and cost-increases forced the three companies – JX Nippon Mining & Metals, Mitsui & Co and Mitsui Mining and Smelting – to register JPY445.7bn ($4.3bn) of impairment losses in total.