Australia’s METS companies turn to Chile

Australian mining services companies are increasingly looking abroad for fresh opportunities, with South America’s copper-rich Chile on the agenda this year.

Austmine –  the industry body for the country’s  mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector – is taking a delegation of Australian METS companies to prospective overseas mining markets.

Between 27 and 31 May 2024, interested companies will be spending a week in northern Chile’s port city of Antofagasta participating in site visits, meetings, networking events, and briefings with mining companies, local suppliers, associations, and government bodies. 

The trip is happening ahead of the EXPONOR conference taking place in Antofagasta from 3 to 6 June. 

Austmine says there is an opportunity for METS companies to introduce new capabilities and solutions to the market, alongside helping mining operations solve complex issues. 

Chile is considered the top copper producer in the world, currently accounting for 25% of global copper production. 

Antofagasta, in particular, is one of the main service hubs for Chile’s major mining jurisdictions. 

S&P Global reports that Chile’s copper production is set to reach record levels by 2025, with a new Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) report predicting production will rise 5.7% this year to 5.6 million tonnes and 6.4% in 2025 to reach close to 6 million tonnes. 

Teck Resources’ (NYSE:TECK) reports its QB2 mine will be largely contributing to this rise in production. The company’s open pit operation will produce 285,000 to 315,000 tonnes per annum between 2024 and 2026. 

During 2023, Chile’s copper production fell to its lowest levels in 15 years, according to Cochilco. 

The commission reports state-owned copper producer Codelco’s production fell 8.2%, while Anglo American’s (LON:AAL) mine production slipped 13.3%. 

Austmine says delegates will have the opportunity to pitch their capabilities and solutions to executives and management of copper mining organisations – including mining giants BHP (ASX:BHP), Glencore (LON:GLEN), and Anglo American –  as well as learn about challenges within the Chilean copper sector. 

BHP has several copper operations in Chile, including Escondida — which is reportedly the largest copper producer in the world — and the Spence and Cerro copper mines. 

Glencore owns the Collahuasi and Lomas Bayas copper mines and the Altonorte smelter and refinery. 

Meanwhile, Anglo American operates the Los Bronces and Collahuasi copper mines. 

METS companies will also be able to leverage networks between Australia and Chile to meet potential customers, partners, and representatives, as well as visit some of the world’s “largest and most impressive” mining operations and explore the potential to provide their capabilities. 

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.