Anglo American Rejects Latest BHP Bid for Copper Supremacy

Chile's Los Bronces copper mine is one of four Anglo American copper mines BHP wants to control.
As Anglo American rebuffs BHP Group's $42bn takeover bid we profile the huge Anglo-owned copper mines that BHP has in its sights

Anglo American has rebuffed BHP Group’s latest takeover bid of US$42.7bn, branding it “highly unattractive” for shareholders.

This follows Anglo American’s rejection in late April of an initial $38.8bn bid from Australian multinational mining and metals giant BHP. Anglo rejected that offer, calling it “opportunistic”, and saying it significantly undervalued the company. 

With 80,000 employees and contractors globally, BHP is the world's largest listed miner, and is best-known for mining iron ore, copper, coking coal, potash and nickel.

“We’re disappointed this second proposal has been rejected,” BHP Chief Executive Mike Henry said in a statement. “We believe a combination of the two businesses would deliver significant value for all shareholders.”

London-based British multinational Anglo American is the largest producer of platinum, accounting for 40% of global output but it is the company’s copper output that BHP prizes most highly.

If a deal were to go through, BHP would account for as estimated 10% of global copper production, and it would make Australia a top-tier copper-producing nation, alongside Chile and Peru.

A merger would see BHP assume control of some of the world’s largest copper mines. Here we profile the Anglo American copper mines that BHP prizes so highly.

Collahuasi copper mine.

Collahuasi copper mine 

Collahuasi is in northern Chile's Tarapacá Region. It is an open-pit operation sitting at 4,400 metres above sea level. In 2022, it produced an estimated 535,000 metric tons of copper concentrates. 

Copper concentrate generally contains 25-30% copper, and is produced by crushing, milling and processing copper ore.

Collahuasi is jointly owned by Anglo American and Glencore, with each holding a 44% stake. A Japanese consortium led by Mitsui owns the remaining 12%. 

The mine first opened in 1999, and current reserve estimates suggest it can sustain production until around 2055. The mine uses water recycling systems due to its location in the Atacama Desert.

Los Bronces Mine

Los Bronces is located in Chile's Valparaíso Region, 65 kilometres northeast of Santiago. It is majority-owned by Anglo, who has a 50.1% stake. It consists of two open-pit mines and four concentrator plants. Its average annual production over the past three years is 365,000 metric tons of copper concentrate.

The mine uses conventional truck-and-shovel methods for ore extraction that is widely used in open-pit mines. Los Bronces has estimated mineral resources of over 7 billion metric tons, and the mine  has a workforce running into the thousands.

Quellaveco Mine

Quellaveco Mine

Quellaveco is a large-scale, open-pit copper mine in Peru's Moquegua Region, approximately 330 kilometres southeast of Lima. Anglo American has a 60% stake, and has sunk over $5 billion of capital investment into operations, which began in 2022. Quellaveco's output is expected to average 300,000 metric tons of copper a year over its first decade of operation. 

El Soldad Mine

El Soldad Mine

El Soldado sits in Chile's Atacama Region, 145 kilometres north of Copiapo. Anglo American has a 50.1% majority stake. With production averaging around 52,000 metric tons annually, El Soldado is a relatively modest contributor to global copper production compared to some of the larger mines in Chile and elsewhere.