Chile expects sharp increase in mine investment over 10 years

SANTIAGO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Mining companies are planning to invest about $65 billion in Chile over the next 10 years, almost one-third more than previously estimated, the government of the world’s top copper producer said on Monday.

More than 90 percent of the projects are in copper, Chilean Mining Minister Aurora Williams said in a presentation.

Among the larger projects are the reactivation of the El Abra Mill, a joint venture of Chilean state copper company Codelco and Freeport-McMoRan, and Sierra Gorda 2030 ktpd, which is controlled by Polish miner KGHM .

The government also forecast several investments in production of lithium, which is currently experiencing a boom due in part to its use in electric car batteries.

Copper, which is largely the motor of Chile’s economy, has experienced a price rally in the last several months, due to solid demand in China, a key export market, and tightened supply amid major work stoppages. (Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Paul Simao)