UPDATE 1-Chile's Bachelet needs to get $40 bln mine projects back on track-group

Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:27am EST
 
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* Chile copper output seen at record high this year

* Investment pace seen slowing in mining powerhouse

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Chile's incoming center-left government must find solutions for the roughly $40 billion in mining projects which have been put on ice or delayed in the world's top copper producer, the SONAMI mining association urged on Wednesday.

President-elect Michelle Bachelet will take the reins of the country, a mining powerhouse, on March 11 with a strong mandate for reform.

Awaiting her are a number of mining and energy projects which have been delayed due to unclear regulations and increasing opposition from local communities and environmental groups.

Other projects and expansions have been put under revision or pushed back as metal prices slip and production costs increase.

Despite the $40 billion in delayed or blocked investments, SONAMI's overall forecast for $100 billion investment in the Chilean mining industry is still intact, said Alberto Salas, president of the organization.

That amount was forecast to be funneled into the Andean country within the next 10 to 12 years, according to an estimate in January of last year. However, the delays mean it could now take longer to materialize than previously forecast.   Continued...