Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic copper mine in Chile to use bioleaching to help extend its life to 2030

In a unanimous decision, the Antofagasta Region Environmental Assessment Commission has favourably rated an Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) that prolongs the useful life of the existing Phase I hydrometallurgical plant and sulphide mining operations of Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic Division, until 2030.

The original project considered the end of the operations associated with this stage of the project in 2022, however, thanks to the incorporation of new mining resources, it will be possible to extend it for another seven years from 2023. The exploitation of these resources requires the relocation of the current primary crushing of oxides and sulphides, which will require additional investments.

The project, together with the new resources, includes the exploitation of further mining resources via expansion phases of the north and east pits as well as implementation of bioleaching technology in Stage IV of the low grade ROM material in Dump 2. The initiative includes an investment of more than US$882 million and the generation of more than 2,000 jobs for the development of the project.

Octavio Araneda, Codelco’s Executive President, highlighted that “this is very good news for Codelco and for Chile. The continuity of Radomiro Tomic’s operations and its sustainable extension in the coming years is part of our plan to continue providing resources to the State, and thus collaborate with the development and progress of our country and of those who need it most.” For his part, the General Manager of the division, Lindor Quiroga, emphasised that the extension of the useful life of RT is good news for Calama and the Antofagasta Region in terms of economy and employment.