Barrick Gold completed sale of a 50% interest in its Zaldívar copper mine in northern Chile to Antofagasta Plc on December 1. Plans for the transaction were initially announced in late July. Under the new ownership structure, Zaldívar will have a joint Barrick-Antofagasta board of directors consisting of three Barrick nominees and three Antofagasta nominees. Antofagasta will act as the operator of the mine and will be subject to oversight and direction by the board.
Zaldívar is an open-pit, heap-leach copper mine located approximately 1,400 km north of Santiago and 175 km southeast of the port city of Antofagasta. The mine produced 222 million lb of copper in 2014 at C1 cash costs of $1.79/lb and 167 million lb in the nine months ended September 30, 2015, at C1 cash costs of $1.67/lb.
As of December 31, 2014, Zaldívar had 2.5 million metric tons (mt) of contained copper in proven and probable reserves, for a current reserve life of approximately 14 years, with further upside potential through exploration.
Total consideration payable by Antofagasta for the transaction was $1.0 billion in cash, including $980 million upon closing and five annual payments of $5 million per year starting in 2016.