Chilean government sees $74 billion dollars in mining investments over a decade

SANTIAGO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Chile expects $74 billion in mining investment in the next decade, driven mainly by the copper industry, the country´s top exporter, state copper agency Cochilco, said on Wednesday.

The roster of investments includes sprawling projects from such top global miners as Antofagasta Plc, Lundin Mining Corp, Teck Resources Ltd and Kinross Gold Corp. But the agency noted that 23 projects valued at $44 billion have been delayed because of coronavirus.

Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica said that the copper industry represents 89.4% of the country´s total investments, and said he was nonetheless optimistic about the big investments soon to come.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has strongly impacted the economy, employment and future projections, the mining sector has continued to be a (driver),” Prokurica told reporters.

Cochilco said the lithium industry is also poised to expand as demand increases for the white metal, a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric vehicles. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)