(OFFICIAL)-Antofagasta set to clinch $650 mln in loans for Antucoya

Reuters

(Corrects headline and first paragraph, adds line to 4thparagraph, to show Antofagasta is set to clinch, not "hasclinched"; company corrects its statement)

SANTIAGO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc is poised to sign a deal for $650 million in loans froma group of international banks to help finance its pricey,recently reactivated Antucoya copper project, the company saidon Tuesday.

"The end of the financing process ... allows us to make thisproject viable," Alfredo Atucha, the company's vice-presidentfor finance, said in a statement.

The resumption of one of the industry's most capital-intensive projects has pushed up Antofagasta's expected 2013investment to roughly $1.5 billion, Chief Executive DiegoHernandez told Reuters in April. He said theminer was seeking between $400 million and $500 million thisyear for Antucoya, located in northern Chile.

Financing will be provided by institutions including theJapan Bank for International Cooperation, ExportDevelopment Canada, KfW IPEX-Bank GMBH, Mizuho Bank,Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Natixis, ING Capital LLC andChilean banks Corpbanca and Banco del Estado, the company said on Tuesday. The deal will be firmedup later on Tuesday, it said.

With an annual production cost of around $22,000 per tonne,Antucoya has sparked investor and analyst concern about itsprofitability and its potential effect on the London-listedminer's coffers.

Antofagasta, controlled by Chile's affluent Luksic family,approved the project in 2011, selling a 30 percent stake toJapanese trading house Marubeni Corp to help withcosts.

Antucoya will produce 80,000 tonnes of copper cathodes peryear. It is slated to start production in 2015. (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by John Wallace)

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