An important milestone was marked by Minera Candelaria after it began to be supplied with electricity from renewable sources on January 1, a fact that materialised when the agreement with AES Andes entered into force. The contract signed with the generating company is valid until December 2035 and establishes that at least 80% of the energy consumed by Candelaria will be through Non-Conventional Renewable Energies (ERNC), if the total electricity consumption of the mining company is 915 GWh /year or more.
Regarding the agreement, the President of Minera Candelaria, Luis Sánchez, stated: “This contract enables the supply of long-term renewable energy for our company, allowing the continuous optimisation of operating processes. This strategic alliance with AES is highly relevant to the future of our operations and demonstrates our commitment to sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and innovation.”
The agreement also considers that AES Andes will work with Minera Candelaria in optimising the electricity consumption of operations, energy efficiency, energy storage, electromobility, self-generation and backup projects. Likewise, it considers the possibility of building a renewable energy generating plant to inject up to 20 MW of power into the system. Minera Candelaria’s commitment to the efficient use and consumption of energy is also reflected in other specific actions on the matter such as an Energy Policy, an Energy Management System (SGE) certified under the international standard ISO 50.001-2018 and the use of electric buses to transport workers.
The Candelaria copper mining complex comprises two adjacent copper mining operations, Candelaria and Ojos del Salado, that produce copper concentrates from an open pit and underground mines. The complex is indirectly owned by Lundin Mining (80%) and Sumitomo (20%), with Lundin Mining having acquired its ownership from Freeport-McMoRan in 2014.
In 2022, Candelaria copper production of 152,042 t was modestly below guidance, while gold production of 86,000 oz achieved the top end of the guidance range. Annual fluctuations in copper and gold production forecasts for the next three years are mainly due to sequencing of the Candelaria open pit. Ore mining from the open pit is to be primarily from the upper benches of Phase 11 in 2023, mining towards lower benches in 2024. Mining of Phase 10 is to complete and initial ore from Phase 12 is to commence in 2024.