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Codelco continues copper mine upgrade scheme

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Global Mining Review,

According to a recent Reuters report, Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, will soon break ground on a US$1.4 billion project to extend the life of its Salvador division through 2068.

The aim of the Rajo Inca project will be to convert the company’s Salvador operation from an underground mine to an open-pit format. These plans will require Codelco to first strip away rock covering the mineral deposits.

The company has told Reuters that it will begin work in the next few weeks, and that production of 90 000 t is being targeted for 1H23.

The Rajo Inca project is being launched as Codelco is in the midst of a 10-year, US$40 billion scheme to upgrade its aging mines. These mines, while sprawling, have lately taken a hit in production as a result of declining ore grades.

Having been in operation since 1959, Salvador has the lowest productivity of any of Codelco’s copper deposits – accounting for less than 3% of its total output in 2020 (50 600 t).

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