Australian miner and producer BHP is planning to ramp up the construction work for the expansion of its Spence Copper Mine in Chile in December and the first production is expected in the first half of 2021 (H1 FY21), according to media reports.
The expansion is expected to add 185,000mt of payable copper in concentrates to the company’s output in the first 10 years of production. The work at the mine was delayed in April due to measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The expansion includes the construction of a concentrator plant to increase production and extend the life of the deposit by about 50 years, apart from building a facility to treat 1,000 liters of seawater per second.
The company also said that it plans to run the mine on renewable power by 2022 and aims to eliminate the use of water from aquifers in Chile by 2030.
The Spence copper mine is located in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile and is the company’s second-largest copper deposit project after Escondida.