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Japanese banks lend US$355 million for Chile copper mine
Nittetsu Mining owns all offtake rights to the Arqueros copper concentrates
Michael Marray 8 May 2024

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a US$248 million loan agreement with Chilean copper mining firm Compania Minera Arqueros (CMAQ) to develop the Arqueros copper mine in the Coquimbo Region of Chile.

The ten-year loan is co-financed with Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and MUFG Bank, bringing the total financing amount to US$355 million.   

Nittetsu Mining and Chilean company Fondo de Inversion Privado Talcuna are co-investors in the project.

Demand for copper is expected to increase globally amid the current trend of decarbonization as the metal is indispensable in making electric vehicles, renewable energy facilities, and related equipment, JBIC says.

Since Japan relies solely on imports for copper concentrates, it is essential to secure a long-term, stable supply of the resource. Under its Strategic Energy Plan, approved by the cabinet in October 2021, Japan aims to achieve at least 80% self-sufficiency in base metals, including copper, by 2030.

The country has also introduced policies strengthening support for domestic refineries by reducing procurement risks for ores and establishing resilient supply chains.

Nittetsu Mining intends to develop and operate the CMAQ project, leveraging its experience in mining and mineral processing from operating the Atacama copper mine project in Chile. The Japanese company owns all of the offtake rights to the copper concentrates the Arqueros mine will produce.

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