SANTIAGO, April 9 (Reuters) - Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc will retain its dividend policy of paying out at least 35 percent of underlying net earnings but will pay out excess funds from the proceeds of sales to shareholders, its chief executive said.
"If you look at the last three or four years, we have been distributing close to around 50 percent of net earnings. We are not going to change the policy; we think it has served us well through the cycle," Chief Executive Iván Arriagada said on the sidelines of a copper conference in Santiago.
Many mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP Group, Glencore Plc and others have been handing more money back to investors through dividends and buybacks following a recovery from the mining and commodity crash of 2015-16.
Arriagada also said the company would decide on whether to expand its Centinela mine in Chile for about $3 billion after studies are complete at the end of 2020 or in 2021. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; editing by Jonathan Oatis)