Anglo American, Xstrata see resource estimates surge in Chile

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Diversified mining groups Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) and Xstrata (Other OTC: XSRAF - news) have highlighted the potential of their joint-owned copper mine in Chile after announcing that the project's resources estimate has been hiked by almost a fifth.

The Collahuasi mine, in which the companies own a 44% interest each, has raised its new measured, indicated and inferred resource estimate by 1.4bn tonnes, or 19%, to over 9.0bn tonnes, compared with the previous estimate published in December 2011.

The new estimates are at an average grade of 0.81% copper and 0.02% of molybdenum.

Meanwhile, total contained copper metal has increased by 23% to around 73m tonnes. Ore reserves have risen 292m tonnes to 3.2bn tonnes (up 10%) at an average grade of 0.81% copper.

"This impressive uplift in our mineral resource base at Collahuasi clearly indicates the significant potential for further expansion at Collahuasi," said Collahuasi's Chief Executive Officer Jorge Gomez.

"We continue to work on bringing increased stability to our processes through operational improvements to ensure we can capitalise on this world-class resource."

Collahuasi, located in the Región of Tarapacá, produced 284,000 tonnes of fine copper in 2012.

The remaining stake in Collahuasi is owned by a Japanese consortium headed by Mitsui.