Antofagasta Minerals’ Los Pelambres copper-molybdenum mine in Chile’s Region IV is now drawing about 20% of its electric power requirements from the new El Arrayán Wind facility located on the Chilean coast about 400 km north of Santiago. The El Arrayán facility is 70% owned and operated by Pattern Energy, a San Francisco-based, U.S., company. Antofagasta holds the remaining 30%.
Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres mine produced 405,300 metric tons (mt) of copper and 56,700 oz of gold in copper concentrates and 9,000 mt of molybdenum in molybdenum concentrates in 2013.
The El Arrayán project was constructed by Skanska Chile SA, a subsidiary of Skanska AB. Construction was completed in June. The project is generating clean, renewable power equal to the annual needs of about 200,000 Chilean homes. The facility utilizes 50 Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbines.
The El Arrayán project sells approximately 70% of its output to Minera Los Pelambres through a long-term fixed-for-floating hedge. Its remaining output is sold into the Chilean spot market at the prevailing market price at the timeof sale.
Chile President Michelle Bachelet, Antofagasta Minerals Chairman Jean-Paul Luksic, and Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland officiated the grand opening ceremony for the El Arrayán Wind facility on August 26. Bachelet said, “This project is important for Chile’s present and future energy needs. El Arrayán is the biggest wind farm in Chile, and we are pleased at what we can achieve when we use the natural resources the earth has to offer. This project is another step toward meeting our energy agenda objectives. We want to have 45% of the new power generation capacity to be installed in Chile between 2014 and 2025 to come from clean energy resources.”
Luksic added, “Through this partnership, we have combined our financial and management skills to be part of the solution to one of the major challenges facing Chile and the mining industry, which is the generation of power from clean energy sources.”
Garland said, “Chile is a great market because of President Bachelet’s strong support for renewable energy policies, the country’s strong, stable economy, and excellent natural wind resources, which can supply domestic energy to the country. We are also especially pleased to be here with our strong partner Antofagasta Minerals, which is demonstrating to the world that a global mining company can be a leader in clean, domestic energy.”