Panam Sports President Neven Illic, left, said the agreement "fills me with pride" ©Panam Sports

Antofagasta Minerals has signed up as a sponsor of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and will supply copper to be used in medals.

A copper base, made from material extracted by Antofagasta Minerals in the Antofagasta and Coquimbo regions will be used as the base for more than 5,000 medals, with gold, silver and bronze plating added.

"We are very happy with this alliance," Antofagasta Minerals Executive President Ivan Arriagada said.

"Our company shares the principles of inclusion and sustainability that are behind these Games. 

"In addition, an important part of this sponsorship will go to the financing of infrastructure for practicing sports."

Chile is the world's largest copper producer.

As a company, Antofagasta Minerals is a top-10 producer of copper and claims to use processes which are environmentally responsible - although the Chilean state began suing mines it operates over alleged environmental damage in April.

Antofagasta's sustainability drive also includes being title sponsor of the Extreme E off-road race in the Atacama Desert.

Chile produces more copper annually than any other nation ©Getty Images
Chile produces more copper annually than any other nation ©Getty Images

"The fact that a company with the prestige and importance in the world like Antofagasta Minerals has been interested in being an Official Sponsor of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games fills me with pride," Panam Sports President Neven Illic added.

"In addition to this important agreement, the athletes who stand on the podium will take home a souvenir of our land, since the medals will be made with Chilean copper from the north of our country and that makes us very happy."

The next edition of the Pan American Games is set to take place from October 20 to November 5, marking the first time the multi-sport event has been held in Chile.

Thirty-nine sports are on the programme.

The Parapan American Games should follow from November 17 to 25.

"Just as the medals are a symbol of the values of the Olympics, this copper also represents the strength and decision of our people to open our lands and move forward," added Santiago 2023 executive director, Gianna Cunazza.