Anglo American has announced the start of commercial copper operations at its Quellaveco project in Peru, following the successful testing of operations and final regulatory clearance.
Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 t/y of copper-equivalent volume on average over its first ten years.
The milestone follows unloading of first ore to the primary crusher in June and the production of first copper in July.
Duncan Wanblad, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Our delivery of Quellaveco, a major new world-class copper mine, is testament to the incredible efforts of our workforce and our commitment to our stakeholders in Peru over many years. Quellaveco, alone, is expected to lift our total global output by 10% in copper-equivalent terms and take our total copper production close to 1 Mt/y. At a highly competitive operating cost, Quellaveco exemplifies the asset and return profile that is central to our portfolio quality and our ability to provide customers with a reliable and sustainable supply of future-enabling metals.”
Ruben Fernandes, CEO of Anglo American’s Base Metals business, added: “We designed Quellaveco as one of Anglo American’s and South America’s most technologically advanced mines, incorporating autonomous drilling and haulage fleets – a first in Peru – a remote operations centre, as well as a number of Anglo American’s digital and advanced processing technologies. Drawing its electricity supply entirely from renewables, Quellaveco is setting an example of a low emission mine producing a critical metal for decarbonising the global economy – copper. In Quellaveco, we can see FutureSmart Mining™ in action.”
Anglo American expects that Quellaveco will ramp up fully over the next 9-12 months. Following a thorough commissioning and testing period, and receipt of final regulatory clearance, production guidance for Quellaveco in 2022 is revised to 80,000-100,000 t of copper (previously 100,000-150,000 t) at a C1 unit cost of $1.50/lb, previously $1.35/Ib. Production guidance for Quellaveco in 2023 and 2024 is unchanged at 320,000-370,000 t of copper.