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.


Operating performance

Los Pelambres had a strong 2019, meeting its production and outperforming its cost guidance for the full year despite disruptions to its mine supplies during the quarter. This again confirms its position as a stable and reliable world-class operation.

EBITDA at Los Pelambres was $1,384 million, compared with $1,428 million in 2018, reflecting slightly lower sales volumes and lower realised prices, partially offset by lower operating costs.


Copper production for the year increased by 1.6% to 363,400 tonnes due to higher copper grades.

Molybdenum production in 2019 was 11,200 tonnes, 15.8% lower than in 2018 due to lower grades.

Gold production was 59,700 ounces, 5.5% lower than the previous year.

Cash costs

Cash costs before by-product credits at $1.40/lb were 7.9% or 12c/lb lower than in 2018, reflecting strong cost performance during the year and the weaker Chilean peso.

Net cash costs for the full year were $0.91/lb, the same as in 2018, despite lower by-product credits.


Phase 1 of the Los Pelambres Expansion project started in early 2019.

The capital cost of the project is $1.3 billion, which includes an additional SAG mill, ball mill and the corresponding flotation circuit with six additional cells and a 400 l/s desalination plant and water pipeline. Throughput at the plant will increase from the current capacity of 175,000 tonnes of ore per day to an average of 190,000 tonnes of ore per day and copper production will increase by 60,000 tonnes.

At the end of 2019, the Los Pelambres Expansion project (engineering, procurement and construction) was 31% complete.

Capital expenditure during 2019 was $494 million, including $129 million on mine development and $235 million on development.


The forecast production for 2020 is 350–360,000 tonnes of copper, 10–11,000 tonnes of molybdenum and 50–60,000 ounces of gold.

Cash costs before by-product credits are forecast to be approximately $1.45/lb and net cash costs of $1.00/lb.