Los Pelambres is a sulphide deposit in Chile’s Coquimbo region, 240 km north-east of Santiago. It produces copper concentrate (containing gold and silver) and molybdenum concentrate through a milling and flotation process.

Start of operation 2000
Remaining Mine Life 21 years
Copper Tonnes
Gold Ounces
Molybdenum Tonnes
+54.9% $1,428m
Net Cash Costs
(3.8%) $1.02/lb
Copper Tonnes
345,000 - 355,000
Gold Ounces
60,000 - 70,000
Molybdenum Tonnes
10,000 - 11,000

Operating performance

EBITDA at Los Pelambres was $1,428 million in 2017, compared with $921 million in 2016, reflecting increased realised metal prices.


Copper production was 343,800 tonnes in 2017, which was 3.3% lower than in 2016. This decrease was primarily due to lower grades, which dropped from 0.73% to 0.68%. Molybdenum production for the year was 10,500 tonnes, 47.9% higher than in 2016, due to higher grades, recoveries and throughput. Gold production was 4.2% lower in 2017 at 55,400 ounces, compared with 57,800 ounces in 2016.

Cash costs

Cash costs before by-product credits at $1.44/lb were 5.9% higher than in 2016, as grades decreased, partially compensated by higher throughput. Net cash costs in 2017 were $1.02/lb compared with $1.06/lb in 2016, due to significantly higher credits from molybdenum sales. Total capital expenditure in 2017 was $236 million, which included $89 million on mine development. Capital expenditure is forecast at approximately $365 million in 2018, reflecting the expected start of construction of the Incremental Expansion project and higher sustaining capital expenditure compared to 2017.


The forecast production for 2018 is 345–355,000 tonnes of payable copper (slightly higher than in 2017), 10–11,000 tonnes of molybdenum and 60–70,000 ounces of gold.

Cash costs

Cash costs before by-product credits for 2018 are forecast to increase to approximately $1.50/lb and net cash costs to increase to approximately $1.10/lb.

Legal update

In November 2017, the San Juan Province accepted a plan presented by Los Pelambres to remove the Cerro Amarillo waste rock dump, and work commenced in December. The execution of the plan is subject to certain conditions and the approved time for the removal of 5.5 years can be extended by one year in certain circumstances. The Company made a provision of $50 million during 2017 for the removal of the waste rock. The removal plan does not represent any acknowledgement of responsibility by Los Pelambres nor prejudice any of its rights, since at the time the Company started construction of the waste rock dump it did so in accordance with valid permits issued by the responsible Chilean government agencies.