Dec 29 (Reuters) - Chile's giant Collahuasi mine said on Wednesday it has started to seek permits to use alternative routes and resume copper exports after a port accident halted shipments over a week ago.
Collahuasi -- the world No. 3 copper mine -- has scrambled to find alternative ports since a Dec. 18 shiploader accident shut down its key Patache port terminal. The sea terminal could remain closed for two months, a senior executive with mine owner Anglo American (AAL.L) said last week.
Anglo and Xstrata (XTA.L) are joint owners of the deposit, which declared force majeure on copper concentrate sales on Dec. 20 -- a clause that frees the mine of liability with clients for delays in deliveries.
The export stoppage has fanned global supply fears and helped copper CMCU3 hit new records.
"The company has analyzed the alternatives of land and maritime transport found for the commercialization of its copper concentrate, through diverse ports of the XV, I and II regions in Chile, and commenced the process to obtain the necessary permits and authorizations," the mine said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear how long it would take for Collahuasi to resume shipments or when it could lift force majeure on concentrate copper sales.
Executives from several northern ports have told Reuters Collahuasi has started talks to use their facilities, although environmental permits and transport logistics pose a challenge.
Many of the ports with the needed infrastructure are hundreds of miles away, meaning Collahuasi will need to hire fleets of trucks to transport the concentrate to the terminals. Experts say Collahuasi may need environmental permits to haul the material via land.