There was a time when one nation was indisputably the powerhouse for copper production: Chile.
The South American nation has some unique things going for it. Excellent geology–and good geography. With many Chilean copper projects located in unpopulated desert. A place where there’s little flora or fauna to be impacted by mining activity.
News last week suggests those advantages are now being reenforced by new infrastructure development. Helping alleviate doubts that have arisen of late about Chile’s status as a place for mine development.
Particularly when it comes to electric power.
Chilean electric firm E-CL announced on January 29 it has begun construction on one of the most important power projects in the country. A new electric line that will link Chile’s southern and northern power grids.
This could be a critical boost for miners in Chile’s northern copper-producing regions. Who have of late been faced with power shortages and rising electricity prices due to insufficient feed in this part of the country.
E-CL’s new development should help address these issues. By allowing more-abundant power supply from the south to flow northward to where miners need it most.
This shoring up of the power grid will go a long way in cementing Chile’s place as the best place on Earth to produce copper. There had been some doubts lately over the future of mining here–with concerns over power and water supply being some of the chief sticking points.
But if the power situation gets addressed, the nation will ensure an industry-leading environment for development. Big deposits, low population, and manageable infrastructure costs. You simply don’t find those three things together in many places on Earth.
To be sure, there are still a few kinks to be worked out. Including concerns about water supply, and legal permitting in the country.
But the re-vamped grid should mean at least one big box ticked. The global copper industry is certainly paying attention.