Zaldívar

50% OWNED Joint Venture

Zaldívar is an open-pit, heap-leach copper mine which produces copper cathodes using the solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) process. It is located at an elevation of 3,000 metres above sea level, approximately 1,400 km north of Santiago and 175 km south-east of the city of Antofagasta.

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Operating performance

Zaldívar had a challenging 2020 due to lower recoveries compared to 2019.

Attributable EBITDA was $96 million compared with $113 million in 2019.

Production

Attributable copper production was 48,200 tonnes, mainly due to lower recoveries. Ore throughput and grades were slightly lower than in 2019.

Cash costs

Cash costs were $1.80/lb, 2.9% higher than in 2019, as lower production was offset by the weaker exchange rate and lower input prices.

Capital expenditure

Attributable capital expenditure in 2020 was $74 million, including approximately $18 million of mine development.

Attributable copper production is forecast to be 45–50,000 tonnes at a cash cost of approximately $1.75/lb.

Other matters

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been submitted to extend the mine’s life to 2031. The application process was delayed during 2020 due to COVID-19 and approval is now expected in early 2022. This EIA includes the extension of the water permit from 2025 to 2031 and remediation.

Zaldívar’s final pit phase, which represents approximately 20% of current ore reserves, impacts a portion of Minera Escondida’s mine property, as well as infrastructure owned by third parties (road, railway, powerline and pipelines). Mining of the final pit phase is subject to agreements or easements to access these areas and relocate this infrastructure.