Chile's Codelco requests second arbitration against Ecuador over copper project

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, is seen at their headquarter in downtown Santiago, Chile, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s state-controlled Codelco, the world’s top copper mining company, said on Friday it had requested a second international arbitration process with Ecuador and its National Mining Company (Enami EP) over the Llurimagua copper project.

The request was filed with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the miner said. In April, Codelco had also requested an arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“The request came after over a year in which (Codelco) formally asked to begin a process of friendly and confidential conversations about its investments in the Llurimagua project,” the firm said in a statement.

The project has been the subject of commercial tensions since November 2020, when Codelco said its Ecuadorian counterpart had not fulfilled an agreement reached a year earlier to jointly develop the project, which at that point was in the exploration phase.

Llurimagua could become the first mine Codelco operates abroad following years of scattershot efforts to expand internationally. The project, about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Ecuador’s capital of Quito, has faced resistance from a nearby community over environmental concerns.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Sandra Maler