Chilean miner Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres expansion has been kept under care and maintenance since 90pc of the project workforce is away from the site to follow social distancing. Operations would be resume once conditions return to normal.
Los Pelambres is a sulphide deposit in Chile’s Coquimbo region, 240kms north-east of Santiago and produces copper concentrate, gold and silver. This expansion project at Los Pelambres is expected to increase annual copper production by 60,000mt between 2021 and 2036. The first phase of construction was underway at the mine.
According to the company’s forecast, copper production was expected to be in the range of 750,000-790,000mt in 2019-2020, up from 725,300mt in the prior year, driven by an increase in output from the high-grade zone in Centinela.
The mining company also stated four of their employees and contractors have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and were away from work. Despite a reduction in workforce by half, the impact on operations will be limited, Antofagasta says. Its full-year guidance is likely to be presented on April 22, when the company releases its Q1 report.
The mining company said that it has established a $6mn fund to help the communities residing near mining operations in the province of Choapa and the Antofagasta Region. These will be utilised to buy medical supplies and equipment needed by healthcare workers to fight the COVID-19 and for other essential measures.