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Codelco, Chile, started early underground mining at Chuquicamata Copper Mine
Release time:2019-05-10Browse times:54

ABSTRACT: Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, has started underground mining at the Chuquicamata mine, which has a history of more than 100 years, and has mined more than 8,000 tons of ore since early April.


Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, has started underground mining at the Chuquicamata mine, which has a history of more than 100 years, and has mined more than 8,000 tons of ore since early April, according to Mining.com.




Codelco said in a statement that underground mining was originally scheduled to start in May, but in fact started at the end of March. The ore will initially be trucked out before commercial production begins in the second half of this year. By the time of commercial production, the rock will be transported by a conveyor belt to a concentrator 14 kilometers away.




Mauricio Barraza, general manager of Chuquicamata Mine, said that the beginning of underground mining was a "symbolic milestone" in the transformation of Codelco's second largest copper mine.




Last November, Codelco blasted the bottom of the open pit for the last time, but mining activities continued. The company said it planned to gradually reduce activity in the mine before the last blasting in 2020.




The Chuquicamata mine's transition from open-pit to underground mining is expected to cost $5.6 billion as part of the company's overall investment of $39 billion in a 10-year renovation plan for core assets, which is expected to extend the mine's life for at least another 40 years, and enable Codelco to maintain high production while ore grade declines and operating costs rise.




The Chuquicamata mine is expected to produce 320,000 tons of refined copper and 15,000 tons of molybdenum annually after its complete conversion to underground mining.




Codelco has a large number of copper deposits, accounting for 10% of the world's proven and basic proven reserves. Its annual output is as high as 1.8 million tons, accounting for about 11% of the world's total production. Chuquicamata and the nearby Radomiro Tomic mine produced 653,000 tons of copper last year.




Declining production, sluggish copper prices and rising costs led to a third consecutive year of declining profits to $2 billion last year, excluding the nearly $400 Million Book loss from write-downs, including Ventanas Refinery and Salvador Open Pit.



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