Chilean firm is targeting 1 million tons of copper in 10 years.
A Chilean startup backed by BHP Group is opening a US office as it develops new extraction technology to squeeze out more copper from some of the world’s biggest deposits.
Ceibo, which is testing its chemical leaching technique at mines in Chile, is looking to expand to US mines amid the government’s push for more local supplies of materials needed for the energy transition, Chief Executive Officer Cristobal Undurraga said in an interview. It’s also looking at Mexico and Peru.
“Our goal as a company is to support a million tons of production in 10 years,” he said in an interview. The company aims to have its first prototype plant ready this year and begin producing copper on site in 2025.
Ceibo, Jetti Resources and Rio Tinto Group’s Nuton venture are among firms looking to roll out catalysts for liberating copper from low-grade ore that was often deemed unprofitable. Such techniques can increase and extend production at a time when the industry is grappling to meet an expected surge in demand for the wiring metal as the world electrifies.