Codelco kickstarts operations at century-old Chilean copper mine Chuquicamata

By Daniel Brightmore
Codelco, chile’s state-owned miner and the world’s number one copper producer, has begun underground operations at the century-old Chuquicamata mine...

Codelco, chile’s state-owned miner and the world’s number one copper producer, has begun underground operations at the century-old Chuquicamata mine ahead of schedule.

Ore is being initially extracted by truck before starting commercial production, in the second half of the year. By then, a conveyor belt will carry rock to the concentrator plant, 14 km away.

Chuquicamata general manager, Mauricio Barraza, said the commencement of mining underground was a “symbolic milestone” in the transformation of the mine, Codelco’s second largest.

SEE ALSO:

Chile’s Codelco prepares to sign copper deal with Ecuador’s Enami EP

Global copper demand to rise in 2019

Codelco moves forward with CEO on digital transformation plan

Read the latest issue of Mining Global here

The $5.6bn switch to underground cave mining from open pit, part of Codelco’s 10-year, $39 billion-overhaul of its core assets, is expected to extend Chuquicamata’s life by a minimum of 40 years. It will allow the copper market leader to keep production rates in the ascendancy, despite deteriorating ore grades and ramping costs at its operations.

Annual production from Chuquicamata, after it has fully transitioned to underground extraction, is projected to be 320,000 tonnes of fine copper and 15,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

Codelco holds vast copper deposits, accounting for 10% of the world's known proven and probable reserves and around 11% of the global annual copper output with 1.8 million metric tonnes of production.

Share

Featured Articles

China increases copper import pace, following price plummet

In August, China reached a 26% rise - representing a 100,000+ tonne increase - in copper imports year-on-year, largely driven by product price drops

Ford criticises “inefficient” government mining permissions

In a letter to the US Department of the Interior, the car giant Ford has asked the American government to speed up its current mining permission process

Aggreko and Labyrinth Resources’ sustainable power project

Labyrinth Resources has been working with Aggreko to complete a virtual pipeline power project, which is designed to aid the sustainable energy transition

Despite regional ban, crypto miner Canaan doubles profits

Digital Mining

The future of all-electric sustainable mining technologies

Sustainability

Anglo American first half earnings decline 28 percent

Supply Chain & Operations