SANTIAGO – Teck Resources said on Wednesday it had received regulatory approval for its $4.8-billion Phase 2 project at its Quebrada Blanca copper mine in northern Chile, a sprawling expansion that will boost production from the deposit to 300 000 t/y of copper.
The environmental approvals will allow the Canadian miner to extend the life of the aging deposit by 25 years, the company said in a statement, using only a quarter of its existing reserves and resources.
The mine includes the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater for mining in Chile's arid Tarapaca region, Teck said, as well as a 140 000-t/d concentrator.
Chile is the world's top copper producer.
Teck said in July that it would launch a formal process seeking a development partner in the project, which could contribute some $2-billion for a 30% to 40% stake.
The company said it expected to close a deal with a partner in the fourth quarter.
Quebrada Blanca produced 23 400 t of copper in 2017.