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

UK Coal Mine Legal Battle puts Sustainability in Spotlight

UK’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years faces legal challenge, putting the world's complicated relationship with this fossil fuel into the spotlight

Rio Tinto Brings Simandou Guinea Iron Ore Saga to End

Rio Tinto ready to resume construction at Simandou mine in Guinea, which be world's largest iron ore operation and Africa's biggest infrastructure project

Focus on: Uranium, the World's Most Powerful Metal

As China builds biggest ever uranium mine, we profile this extraordinary metal, looking at how it is mined, who by & how uranium operations are regulated

Why Nickel Price Slump has hit BHP so Hard

Supply Chain & Operations

Worley: Tech Key for Copper Ramp-up to be Sustainable

Operations

Focus on: Gypsum, a Building Block for World Construction

Operations