Compania Minera Dona Ines de Collahuasi SCM’s board has given approval for the commencement of a prefeasibility study for the third phase of the Collahuasi copper project in Chile.

Xstrata holds a 44% stake in Collahuasi, with Anglo American holding a 44% stake and a Japanese consortium headed by Mitsui holding the remaining stake.

The expansion of the project will increase the processing capacity of the concentrator plant and will involve the construction of associated infrastructure.

The scope of the work involves the construction of one or two new grinding lines to process about 270,000-380,000t of ore a day.

Collahuasi CEO Giancarlo Bruno said the expansion project is aligned with Collahuasi’s growth plan that seeks to increase annual output to more than one million tons of copper, supported by Collahuasi’s significant mineral resource of 7.1bn tons at an average grade of 0.82%.