Scaling back

Once upon a time, size mattered in mining. With metals prices in the clouds and Chinese demand seemingly insatiable, engineers looked at each deposit through the lens of producing as much and quickly as possible. Those days have gone.

It is not just that the economics no longer work. Investors have grown tired of seeing gigantic projects suffer gigantic overruns in time and money. At Pan Pacific Copper’s Caserones project in Region III, capital expenditure more than doubled from US$2B to US$4.2B, while commissioning was delayed by bad weather and strikes by almost a year.

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