Xstrata eyes boost at Chilean mine

Xstrata is eyeing a potential $1.6bn investment to boost production at its Lomas Bayas mine after approving a study to examine the development of the copper sulphide deposit below the current pit at the site in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile.

The miner, which is the world's fourth-largest producer of copper, said yesterday that the study will look at potential for new investment to extend the life of the operation to 2039, while boosting copper production to 140,000 tonnes per year. Depending on the success of the study, and on government and company approvals, Xstrata added that the Lomas Bayas sulphide project could start production in 2017.