On December 12, Antofagasta Minerals received approval from environmental regulators of a proposed expansion of its Centinela mine in northern Chile. The project will cost around US$4.35 billion and will be done in two stages to increase copper production and extend the life of the mine until 2056.

The expansion could include building a second concentrator plant, two new pits and a deposit for additional thickened tailings, among other things, the company said.

The initiative will also double its copper production, increasing it to more than 400,000 metric tons of copper per year over the next decade.

“With environmental approval, we will be completing the engineering studies in the coming months,” Antofagasta Chief Executive Ivan Arriagada said in a statement. "We hope to submit this project to the board of Antofagasta in 2018 once these studies are done.”

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