Water transportation supply plan for Centinela Second Concentrator transferred to consortium

Antofagasta PLC recently announced that, following the company’s earlier announcement dated 19 March 2024, the process to enter into a water transportation agreement by Minera Centinela, involving its existing water supply and future water supply to the Centinela Second Concentrator Project, has now been completed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Centinela’s existing water transportation assets and rights have been transferred to an international consortium formed of experienced partners, Transelec and Almar Water Solutions, with Centinela set to receive cash proceeds of US$600 million during 2024.

In addition, the planned expansion of the water transportation system will now be undertaken by the acquiring consortium, resulting in a reduction in the overall capital cost of the Centinela Second Concentrator Project by approximately US$380 million, with this reduction to be realised over the course of the project’s construction period. Following completion, the acquiring consortium will operate Centinela’s existing water infrastructure.

The company has assessed that the terms of the agreement are value accretive, as previously referenced in the company’s announcement in March. The acquiring consortium has a track record of building and operating infrastructure in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, including existing projects in Chile.

Antofagasta’s CEO, Iván Arriagada said: “Following today’s news and the recently announced Centinela Second Concentrator Financing, we are in a good position to advance our growth ambitions in producing responsible copper for the global energy transition at a time when the global supply of copper has a limited ability to meet the expected medium-term rise in demand.”

Antofagasta’s CFO, Mauricio Ortiz said: “The agreement announced today is underpinned by our long-life resource base at Centinela and our capital allocation framework. By entering into this value accretive agreement, we have been able to reduce the capital intensity of the Centinela Second Concentrator Project, whilst protecting Centinela’s competitiveness.”

The Centinela Second Concentrator Project will add 170,000 t of annual copper-equivalent production, comprising 144,000 t of copper production and associated gold and molybdenum by-products. Through this expansion, it is expected that Centinela will improve its cost competitiveness through an increased focus on concentrator capacity that incorporates modern technologies, increased by-products and greater economies of scale. First copper production from the project is expected in 2027.

Antofagasta says it is focused on responsible water use as part of its purpose of delivering mining for a better future. The Second Concentrator Project is an opportunity to provide additional copper from the company’s existing resource base using 100% renewable electricity and raw sea water.

Transelec is the leading provider of high voltage systems in Chile, with over 11,000 km of transmission lines and more than 80 substations in Chile, powering 98% of Chile’s population. Transelec is also present in Peru, through its fully owned subsidiary Conelsur, and in the water infrastructure industry, through its 40% stake in Aguas Horizonte.

Almar Water Solutions, part of Jameel Environmental Services, is a leading company in the development of unconventional water infrastructure and production, distribution, and treatment services for both the municipal and industrial sectors. The company specialises in the development, design, management, financing, and operation of infrastructure, covering a wide range of solutions such as purification, desalination, treatment, and reuse.