Glencore mulls $500M expansion of PH copper plant

Reuters

Posted at Aug 13 2012 06:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2012 02:48 AM

PASAR plant restarts after a fire shut operations in January

LONDON - The PASAR copper smelter and refinery in the Philippines has restarted after a fire shut operations in January and is considering a $500-$600 million expansion plan, a source close to majority owner Glencore International said.

"It is in the ramp-up phase and the refinery started producing grade A cathodes earlier this month," the European-based source, who declined to be named, said on Monday.

The smelter at PASAR, or Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp, has annual processing capacity of 720,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and the refinery has an annual capacity of 215,000 tonnes of cathodes.

The source said while Glencore, the world's largest diversified commodities trader, was considering expanding PASAR, a firm decision had not been taken.

Reports in the Philippines said Glencore officials agreed to spend $500-$600 million to expand smelting capacity and build a power plant.

"It is a potential expansion. There are a number of things that need to be done, including studies, before there is a sign-off on the plan," said the source close to Glencore, who confirmed the $500-$600 million figure if an expansion were approved.

The southeast Asian country wants its mining industry to shift to more value-added output by setting up processing plants, instead of direct shipments of ores, to raise more revenue from its largely untapped $1 trillion mineral resources.

PASAR, 78 percent-owned by Glencore, operates the Philippines' only copper smelter and refinery in the central Leyte province.

Acquired in 1999 by Glencore from the government, PASAR buys and refines copper concentrates from mines in Australia, Canada, southeast Asia including Papua New Guinea, and South America.