Codelco submits Chuquicamata mineral recovery project

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, April 14, 2016
Codelco submits Chuquicamata mineral recovery project

Chile's state copper miner Codelco has submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to exploit new resources recovered from dump sites at its century-old Chuquicamata mine (pictured).

Planned investment in the project is US$118mn, according to documents filed with Antofagasta region's (II) environmental evaluation service (SEA).

Codelco wants to exploit 145Mt of resources from the dump sites of the Chuquicamata and neighboring Sur mines which have been previously irrigated with sulfuric acid. The dump site material has an average ore grade of 0.34%, with a 70% recovery rate.

Once the material has been mixed, it will be retreated at a leaching pad facility, at a rate of 45,000t/d.

The project also involves establishing a site to treat 16Mt of resources from a separate Chuquicamata dump site which have not been previously treated and, as a result, have a higher ore grade.

The solution obtained from both of the leaching pads will then be processed at the Chuquicamata SX-EW plant.

If the application is approved, Codelco expects the leaching pad from the Chuquicamata-Sur mix to be operational for nine years, while in the case of the untreated Chuquicamata material, the pad will be operational for two years.

Codelco is the world's largest copper producer.




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