SANTIAGO, July 5 Chilean energy company E-CL
is postponing a 750 megawatt coal-fired thermoelectric
plant in the world No.1 copper producer's mineral-rich north due
to lack of demand from troubled mines, a local newspaper
reported on Friday.
E-CL, which is majority owned by utility GDF Suez,
said it has been unable to clinch a supply contract because
miners are pushing back investments due to falling copper prices
and higher costs.
The Chilean power company said it has been fruitlessly
seeking a client for its $1.5 billion Infraestructura Energetica
project in Mejillones for over a year.
"Most clients aren't in a position where they can make an
investment decision," chief executive officer Lodewijk Verdeyen
told daily El Mercurio. "If clients don't make an investment
decision, they're not in any condition to sign a long-term
energy contract either."
Mining projects in Chile, home to roughly a third of the
world's red metal, have been delayed due to regulatory setbacks
or more cautious investment decisions.
Steep power prices and delays to big, controversial energy
projects have also frazzled miners in copper powerhouse Chile.
Verdeyen didn't name any of the projects or give a new
timeframe estimate for the Infraestructura Energetica project,
which consists of two 375 megawatt generation units.
Copper prices tumbled to three-year lows in late June,
pushed down by worries over economic growth prospects in top
metals consumer China and in Europe.