Macquarie Capital, the corporate advisory, capital markets and principal investment arm of Macquarie Group, announced today that it has led a consortium that has been awarded a contract for the improvement and operation of the Ruta Minera (Build, Operate, Transform), a private industrial road in Chile. The 137km road connects the Minera Escondida, the highest producing copper mine in the world, to Ruta 5 highway, a key north-south axis in Chile. It is Macquarie Capital’s first principal investment in Chile.
Macquarie Capital was joined in the investment by local contractors Besalco S.A. and Arrigoni S.A., which will lead a series of capital improvements, maintain and operate the road in a multiyear agreement. Macquarie Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor for the project structuring and debt financing with local banks.
Constructed in 1980 in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, Minera Escondida produced 1,185 kt of copper in 2020. It is majority owned and operated by BHP, along with Rio Tinto and Japan-based JECO.
“We see tremendous growth potential in Chile, and are pleased to be able to support BHP, a longstanding and important client of Macquarie Group globally,” said Mark Bradshaw Global Head of Infrastructure and Energy Capital at Macquarie Capital. “Minera Escondida is of tremendous importance to both the Chilean and world economies and we look forward to working on additional build-operate-transfer projects in the mining sector.”
Macquarie Capital and the consortium have agreed to make several improvements to the road, including widening sections of it, adding third lanes for more than 20 km of road and adding hard shoulders to parts of the road. It will also introduce updated horizontal and vertical signage, surveillance cameras and security signage. In addition, various accesses will be regularized to control vehicle flow and speed. It is anticipated that the improvements will generate about 200 jobs during the construction phase and an additional 80 jobs for ongoing road operations.
Macquarie Capital is a leading developer, investor and financial advisor with extensive experience spanning a broad spectrum of infrastructure and energy assets. It has deep experience in investing and project development across the Americas and has expanded its dedicated teams focused on Latin America. The Ruta Minera transaction is being led by staff in its newest office in the region in Santiago. Macquarie Capital opened an office in Mexico City in 2019 and in 2020 acquired a majority ownership interest in the Briceño-Tunja-Sogamoso (“BTS”) toll road in Colombia.
“Macquarie Capital has built a strong network of relationships in Latin America over the course of the last several years,” said Hector Morales, Chairman of Macquarie Capital in Latin America. “This asset, combined with Macquarie Capital’s renowned expertise in infrastructure, resulted this year in landmark transactions in Colombia and Chile. We have a broad strategy and strong commitment to the region and look forward to expanding our investments in Latin America.”