(Bloomberg) -- Vale SA has been looking for copper deposits in Peru as demand for the battery metal is set to surge in the world’s epic shift to clean energy.

The mining giant has at least two very early-stage projects ongoing in the exploration stage after abandoning a third one in a copper-rich corner of southern Peru, the world’s second-largest producer. The two greenfield copper projects require a combined investment of $7 million, Peru’s Energy and Mines Ministry mineral exploration portfolio showed.

The move comes as the Brazilian iron ore giant is set to separate its base metal assets to unlock value from the nickel and copper business as demand for the battery metals picks up. Fellow commodity heavyweights such as BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group and Glencore Plc have also become bullish on copper, expecting soaring consumption as the global economy decarbonizes.  

Read more: Vale is set to break out base metals business and sell stake in 2023

The two projects that are in initial survey phase are known as Umami and Chaska. Vale abandoned the third one known as Project S in 2022 after a survey indicated that the area didn’t have the expected potential, the company said in response to Bloomberg.  

The iron ore giant has held copper concessions in 17 of Peru’s 24 states, according to Peru’s Ingemmet state agency, which regulates mining rights. It has bought as many as 1,200 separate mining rights, with half of those active totaling 450,000 hectares (1.1 million acres), according to the agency. That’s about three times the size of the city of Sao Paulo.


©2023 Bloomberg L.P.