The Codelco board has approved the development of the $1.383 billion Rajo Inca structural project, part of its Salvador Division in Chile’s Atacama.
The figure is 33% less than the investment contemplated by Codelco in 2014 thanks to the use and optimisation of existing infrastructure within the division, especially in the mine areas and the tailings deposit. Ongoing maintenance of the concentrator and hydrometallurgical plants has also helped bring down this figure.
The savings were also achieved through the planned reuse of mining equipment. When it enters operations, Rajo Inca will require 25-30 300-ton capacity trucks, hydraulic shovels and large tonnage front end loaders. Most of this equipment will come from other Codelco divisions, the company says.
The structural project includes a 22-month pre-stripping period and a seven-month ramp up of the concentrator plant. Commissioning will begin in the second half of 2022, with production reaching a annualised rate of 90,000 t/y of copper in the first half of 2023.
After the favourable Environmental Qualification Resolution obtained in February 2020 and the approval of the funds by the board of directors, the structural project will mean a rebirth for Salvador, as it will become a more modern, “technologised”, sustainable and productive operation, the company said. Its development will add 47 more years of life to this camp.
The Salvador Division has operated since 1959 with underground mining and three small open pits. With the latest investment, production will increase by 50% from 60,000 t/y to 95,000 t/y of fine copper.