Will Codelco spin-off silver assets?

The largest copper miner in the world, Chilean state-owned Codelco, denies it’s planning to spin-off its silver assets into a new company to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

On Monday the Globe and Mail reported that representatives of Codelco spoke with investment bankers in New York regarding the possibility of doing an initial public offering (IPO) later this year. The Toronto-based newspapes said the IPO would be in the neighbourhood of US$1 billion.

While Codelco spokesman Ivan Badilla flat out denied the story as reported by the paper, when asked by Reuters if silver assets would be spun into a separate company without issuing shares Badilla offered only a, “no comment.”

Codelco produces silver as a by-product of its copper production. Experts estimate such by-product produciton is significant enough to place it in the world’s top twenty silver producers, although it doesn’t officially release numbers on its silver production.

The Puren mine in Chile, is slated to be Codelco’s first mainly silver mine.

Puren will go into production later this year and is a joint venture with Placer Dome (PDG-T, PDG-N) and Kinross Gold (K-T, KGC-N).

It is expected to produce roughly 12.9 oz. of silver this year.


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