HomeBase MetalsAnglo to focus on copper and nickel in South America

Anglo to focus on copper and nickel in South America

Anglo’s Minas Rio
iron ore operation
in Brazil
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 December 2010 – Mining giant Anglo American is focusing the bulk of its exploration efforts on copper and nickel in South America and the Arctic, while any further growth in iron ore will come from joint ventures or acquisitions.

“Anglo plans to maintain its exploration spending at about US$100 million (R700 million) next year, the same amount budgeted for this year, as it drills for new deposits in 12 countries,” head of exploration governance Stuart McCracken told Reuters here.

“Chile is still a very important place for us,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the Mines & Money conference in London.

“There is still a chance of finding a porphyry (a major multi-mineral deposit) in the Andes, but to find a high quality iron ore deposit is almost impossible. Most top class iron ore deposits have already been discovered and mapped out,” he added.

“If you go into the Australian Pilbara, if you go into West Africa, you’ll find those tenement maps very tight. To get access to that ground, you need do joint ventures or acquisitions,” McCracken said.

Anglo owns the world’s fourth biggest iron ore exporter, Kumba in South Africa, and one of its major growth projects is the Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil.

Reuters reports that under a restructuring programme, Anglo has zeroed in on copper and nickel among base metals, and sold its zinc operations to Vedanta earlier this year for US$1.3 billion (R9.1 billion).

Anglo is prospecting for copper in Chile, the world’s biggest producer of that metal, and seeking nickel in Brazil and the Arctic.

“That northern region “’ the Arctic in Canada, North America through to Scandinavia “’ is an important focus from a greenfields point of view. We recognise that area has very good potential for nickel,” McCracken said..

Anglo also has modest operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has some of the world’s richest copper deposits, but it is still waiting for more stability before expanding there.