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Power Shortage Hurts Chile’s $100 Billion Copper Push

03:34 Apr 25 2012 Chile

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The biggest-ever pipeline of copper projects is under threat as Chile, the world’s top producer, struggles to contain rising opposition to new power plants.

At least 5,000 megawatts of capacity, including a $5 billion coal-fired plant proposed by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, are facing delays or have been shelved as companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Anglo American Plc spend as much as $100 billion on copper and metals projects in Chile.

Diego Hernandez, chief executive officer of Codelco, said Codelco needs to spend more than $20 billion to boost output to 2.1 million metric tons by 2020 from about 1.7 million now. Photographer: Morten Andersen/Bloomberg

The country, struck by a power blackout as recently as this week, needs to boost capacity by 47 percent within 8 years to keep pace with consumption. Protesters from fishermen to university students oppose the plants, prompting miners to consider their own projects to help meet China’s copper demand.
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