Defying the original plan to wrap operations at the open pit Rajo mine at Chuquicamata, Codelco has decided to extend the mine’s life by a year, thanks to strong production rates. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Chile, the miner has raised production by 4pc this year, thanks to rotational shifts and better operational efficiency.
The miner has decided to continue operating the section of the mine, expecting it to add more than 30,000mt of fine copper to the company’s production for 2020. The plan to cease mining activities and use ore stockpiles from the pit has been pushed forward to December 2021.
However, Codelco will switch to underground mining at this location after this, since it has invested about $5.6bn in the project, allowing the company to utilize the mine for the next 40 years. This will also enable the company to maintain its yearly output from the region despite falling ore grades.