LIMA, May 23 (Reuters) - Anglo American (AAL.L), the world’s third largest mining company, said on Wednesday it will decide in the first half of 2008 whether to develop its Quellaveco copper project in southern Peru.
The Anglo-South African company, which has an 80 percent stake in the project, said it expects to complete a feasibility study around then.
“The idea is to finish it in the first half of next year and take a decision,” Anglo American’s explorations manager in Peru Timothy Beale told a conference of prospectors and explorers in the Peruvian capital Lima.
Beale said the project had resources of 1.3 billion tonnes of mineral with an average copper grade of 0.62 percent.
Included in that were 226 million tonnes of mineral with an average grade of 0.93 percent which, according to Beale, “could be mined within the first years of development”.
According to a previous feasibility study published in 2000, Quellaveco, in the region of Moquegua 1,145 km south of Lima, could produce up to to 200,000 tonnes of refined copper a year.
The name Quellaveco comes from the Aymara language and means “halfmoon”.
Anglo American has controlled Quellaveco for 15 years but said it could not take a decision on development earlier due to problems over water supply in the area and uncertainty over the price of copper.
Peru is the world’s third biggest producer of copper behind Chile and the United States.
Anglo American operates in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia as well as Peru.