SANTIAGO, Jul 28, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Chilean copper mine Dona Ines de Collahuasi has seen a 40% increase in the total amount of its mineral resource, in light of new drilling results, the company said Wednesday.
It estimates that it has mineral resources of 7.09 billion metric tons at an average grade of 0.82% copper, which means it would have 50 million tons of copper, according to a company statement.
The new mineral-resource estimate marks a 40% increase over its December 2009 estimates, the company said.
Collahuasi mined 47 million tons of copper-containing material during the first half of 2010.
In addition, Collahuasi's mining reserves increased by 315 million tons to 2.45 billion tons, compared to reserves in December 2009.
Collahuasi is owned by diversified mining companies Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN), Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN, AAUKY) and a consortium led by Mitsui & Co. (MITSY, 8031.TO).
"The impressive uplift in the mineral resource base at Collahuasi provides a clear indication of the further expansion potential at Collahuasi," said Chief Executive Jon Evans.
He added that the firm is studying alternatives in order to expand operations for the mine to increase output to one million tons of copper annually.
Collahuasi produces about 500,000 metric tons of the red metal a year, which represents around 10% of Chile's annual output. Chile is the world's leading copper producer, accounting for about 35% of global output.