Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca, a company in which Canada’s Teck, Vancouver, holds 76.5%; Chilean Inversiones Mineras S.A. (13.5%); and government company ENAMI (10%), plan on investing approximately US$ 5.6 billion over the course of 58 months, in the construction of the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 copper project, one of the largest projects built in Chile to date.
Quebrada Blanca, a deposit located 165 km east of the Port of Iquique, in northern Chile, is currently an oxide operation, which began in 1994. It has produced approximately 85,000 tons of copper cathodes. It useful life should end in 2016.
The Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project seeks to continue operations, exploding around 1,511 Mt of sulfides with 0.5%Cu and 0.018%Mo average grades, sheltering deeper than the oxides section, during its 39-year useful life.
Last May, the company filed for approval the project‟s Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA, which it expects to have approval for, in July 2013.
The project includes building a new conventional technology concentrating plant designed to process about 135,000 tpd of ore, with an average production of 240,000 tpa of fine copper concentrate in the first ten years of operations, as well as 6,700 tpa of molybdenum concentrate.
In addition to the plant, the project also includes further exploitation of the current pit, a new power and desalinated water supply plant, port facilities in Puerto Patache and a tailings dam in the Choja Sur area, which is located 35 km west of the mine.
The start of operations of the project‟s first milling line is scheduled for July 2016, while the second line is scheduled for October 2016, with full production expected to take place one year later – that is to say – in October 2017.