Teck presents US$3bn Quebrada Blanca 2 upgrade

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 19, 2023
Teck presents US$3bn Quebrada Blanca 2 upgrade

Canada's Teck Resources submitted for environmental assessment a US$3bn Quebrada Blanca phase 2 upgrade, including a third processing line for the concentrator plant at the mine in northern Chile’s Tarapacá region to increase production of copper and molybdenum.

Teck aims at processing 210,000t/d on average through 2040, starting in the fourth quarter of 2026.

The plans imply a useful life reduction of the operation from 25 to 18 years, but guidance of 316,000-320,000t/y of copper in the first five years is maintained.

The environmental impact statement subsidiary Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca submitted to the environmental assessment service modifies the project approved in 2018 through its environmental impact study, involving 21.4Mt of copper concentrate and 400,000t of molybdenum concentrate.

A pipeline and desalinated water pipes are also planned to connect the QB2 concentrator and Punta Patache port, 50km from Iquique, where Teck operates a filter plant, has concentrate storage and a desalination plant that will provide 865l/s annually on average.

The changed project also considers new equipment, such as a second primary crushing plant, a third grinding and flotation line, a new pebbles crushing plant and another plant to produce molybdenum concentrate.

For mine access, Teck is seeking approval of a new route that will enable more traffic flow without exceeding flows that are already allowed through existing public routes.

In the port area, the copper concentrate storage building will be expanded and equipment incorporated into the filter and desalination plants.

In linear works, the energy dissipating stations, the concentrator valves and the desalinated water pumping stations would be improved.

Works should start in April 2024, with QB2 expected to start operations this year.

In 3Q22, the capital costs for QB2 were revised upwards to US$7.75bn and in 4Q22 the miner signed a 17-year renewable energy purchase agreement with AES Andes for 1,069GWh/y from 2025.

Teck aims to become a top 10 global copper producer.

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