SANTIAGO, Aug 01, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Chilean state copper giant Corporacion Nacional del Cobre will explore several copper prospects in Ecuador, Chief Executive Diego Hernandez said Monday.
Codelco, as the world's largest copper-mining company is known, in recent years favored domestic exploration aimed at increasing local production over international ventures.
"Ecuador has vast experience in oil exploration, but not in metals mining, so we feel Codelco can contribute greatly, given its mining knowledge," Hernandez said in a statement.
Codelco said it is obtaining the environmental permits to explore several sites, some of them owned by private companies.
The state miner could develop a joint venture with Ecuador's Empresa Nacional de Mineria, or Enami EP, to develop the prospects if they are deemed viable, Codelco said.
Last year, Codelco produced about 1.7 million metric tons of copper from its mines in Chile. It doesn't produce copper outside of the country.