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Japan-based Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) has signed an agreement to acquire a 30% interest in Mantos Copper’s Mantoverde copper mine and associated projects in Chile for $263m from Mantos Copper.

The Mantoverde copper mine is located in the Atacama region of northern Chile. It has 2.1 million tonnes (Mt) of copper reserves and 5.7Mt of copper resources.

In 2015, Mantos Copper, owned by a consortium led by Audley Capital and Orion Mine Finance, acquired Mantoverde and Mantos Blancos mines from Anglo American for $300m.

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has actively been seeking to participate in high-quality copper projects to secure concentrate for its copper smelters as demand for the industrial metal is expected to rise in the coming years.

As a long-term partner to co-invest in the Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP), Mantoverdem plans to spend $731m to expand facilities and build a concentrator to extract and process sulphide ore.

With a mine life of until 2041, total copper production from the Mantoverde mine is expected to be 1,700 kilotonnes (Kt) throughout its life.

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By GlobalData

The open-pit mine is expected to become operational in 2023.

Mantos board chairman John MacKenzie was quoted by Reuters as saying: “This transaction is a step forward in Mantos Copper’s strategy to expand and extend the life of our high-quality copper assets while lowering its position in the cost curve.”

Under the deal, MMC will also receive offtake rights for 30% (equivalent to its ownership stake) of copper concentrate produced from the mine.

Chile is one of the world’s largest copper producers, which meets more than 30% of the global demand for the metal.