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SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean copper miner Antofagasta Plc is evaluating building a new concentrator plant at its Centinela mine that would cost around $3 billion, the chief executive of the company was quoted telling a local daily on Sunday.

Antofagasta’s copper production rose 3 percent to 725,300 tonnes last year, allowing the company to weigh potential expansion projects and upgrades, Ivan Arriagada said, according to an interview published in La Tercera.

“The best option is to build a new concentrator plant (at Centinela), and we’re in the feasibility stage of that initiative,” Arriagada was quoted saying in the paper. He added that it would cost between $2.7 billion and $3 billion.

Antofagasta has forecast its copper output will rise to 750,000 to 790,000 tonnes this year.

Antofagasta did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours.

Reporting by Marion Giraldo; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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