(Corrects headline and first paragraph, adds line to 4th
paragraph, to show Antofagasta is set to clinch, not "has
clinched"; company corrects its statement)
SANTIAGO Nov 5 Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc
is poised to sign a deal for $650 million in loans from
a group of international banks to help finance its pricey,
recently reactivated Antucoya copper project, the company said
"The end of the financing process ... allows us to make this
project viable," Alfredo Atucha, the company's vice-president
for finance, said in a statement.
The resumption of one of the industry's most capital-
intensive projects has pushed up Antofagasta's expected 2013
investment to roughly $1.5 billion, Chief Executive Diego
Hernandez told Reuters in April. He said the
miner was seeking between $400 million and $500 million this
year for Antucoya, located in northern Chile.
Financing will be provided by institutions including the
Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Export
Development Canada, KfW IPEX-Bank GMBH, Mizuho Bank,
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Natixis, ING Capital LLC and
Chilean banks Corpbanca and Banco del Estado
, the company said on Tuesday. The deal will be firmed
up later on Tuesday, it said.
With an annual production cost of around $22,000 per tonne,
Antucoya has sparked investor and analyst concern about its
profitability and its potential effect on the London-listed
Antofagasta, controlled by Chile's affluent Luksic family,
approved the project in 2011, selling a 30 percent stake to
Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp to help with
Antucoya will produce 80,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per
year. It is slated to start production in 2015.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by John Wallace)