Reuters reported that Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc expects the anticipated global copper deficit to hit between 100,000 and 300,000 tonnes this year as consumption growth remains positive, but production increases are minimal. Releasing the company’s annual results, chief executive Iván Arriagada also revealed that the first phase of a planned expansion at its flagship Los Pelambres copper mine had been approved, as widely anticipated. Construction has begun and first production is expected around mid-2021, with capex forecast to be USD 1.3 billion, which includes $500 million for a 400-litre per second desalination plant and water pipeline that will supply the water requirements of the expansion and, potentially, future ones, Antofagasta said. The first phase of a planned expansion at Antofagasta’s flagship Los Pelambres copper mine has been approved, with first production expected around mid-2021. Ohase 1 of the expansion, the miner added, will increase annual copper production by 40,000 tonnes in the first, reaching 70,000 tonnes towards the end of the first 15 years. The company, majority-owned by Chile’s Luksic family, said it is planning to expand its Centinela mine by building a new concentrator at an estimated cost of USD 2.7 billion.