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Codelco board approves US$1.24 billion for Diamante and Andesita

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Global Mining Review,

A key step in its construction process was taken by the Diamante and Andesita projects of the El Teniente Division, after the Codelco board approved resources for US$1.243 million for the investment phase of both initiatives.

The information was valued by the Bi-minister of Energy and Mining, and member of the shareholders' meeting of the state company, Juan Carlos Jobet, who toured the operations of the deposit located in the O'Higgins Region, accompanied by the Chairman of the Board, Juan Benavides, and the Executive President, Octavio Araneda.

Together with the Andes Norte project, Diamante and Andesita make up the project portfolio of El Teniente (formerly New Level Mine), an initiative that will allow to replace sectors of the deposit that are in the process of depletion and extend their productive life by 50 years, maintaining production levels around 460 000 tpy of fine copper.

Jobet said: "The commitment that Codelco has acquired to execute its portfolio of investment projects is confirmed, which contributes to the well-being of Chileans and the development of the country."

"When a project begins to be executed there is a whole productive chain behind that promotes the development of the region where this initiative is located," added Jobet.

Benavides commented: "The projects under construction will allow the workplace with the highest production and most resources to increase the current ranges of surpluses, which are around US$1.1 million/y, because our commitment is to increase the contributions to the State of Chile and return more than every peso invested in our projects."

Araneda, meanwhile, said that the effort of the state company is focused "on doing better projects, in shorter deadlines and with fewer resources."

Also participating in the tour of the El Teniente Division were the Undersecretary of Mining, Edgar Blanco; the Vice President of South Central Operations, Mauricio Barraza; the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Renato Fernández, and the General Manager El Teniente, Andrés Music.

Araneda also referred to the situation of the divisions regarding the pandemic, explaining "that the company is currently reinforcing preventive plans in all its work centres, because taking care of the health of workers is our main value."

The El Teniente portfolio, which is 64% complete in its global construction and which began in 2015, considers the Diamante, Andesita and Andes Norte projects, with a strategy of gradual deepening of the reservoir (300 m below current levels) and a total investment of US$3.2 billion. It has reserves of approximately 2000 million t, with an average copper grade of 0.86% and 220 ppm of molybdenum.

Diamante and Andesita, after approval by Codelco's board of directors, began the investment phase last November, which includes US$730 million and US$513 million, respectively. Andes Norte, meanwhile, has approved US$1.931 million and presents 28% progress.

It is estimated that, in total, the three projects will generate approximately 10 000 jobs in the stage of greatest construction activity, scheduled for 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, their operation will be carried out with the endowment that El Teniente already has, who currently work in sectors of the deposit that will gradually deplete. At the local level, the portfolio will allow mining to maintain a contribution to regional GDP close to 20%.

The projects present a high geotechnical complexity, which has made it necessary to use cutting-edge technology and adapt constructive solutions to the reality of the deposit: hydrofracturing, 100% mechanised fortification of the main tunnels and mechanised shielding of vertical shafts.

Diamond Project

  • US$730 million of total investment. Estimated entry into operations in October 2022.
  • 700 jobs during construction.
  • 40 km of tunnels, with 102 extraction points.
  • The new bidirectional access tunnel to El Teniente (similar to the El Melón tunnel) will be 2.5 km long.

Andesite Project

  • US$513 million of total investment. Estimated entry into operations in October 2023.
  • 1300 jobs during construction.
  • 25 km of tunnels, with 85 extraction points.
  • It will have autonomous load, haul, dump equipment operated from the Rancagua Integrated Operations Center.

North Andes Project

  • US$1.931 million investment. Estimated start of production in December 2023.
  • It is the project located in the deepest level of the deposit.
  • 140 000 tpd contemplates the Minerals Management System that will replace the current Teniente 8 Railroad.

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