Polish miner KGHM begins production at massive copper mine in Chile

Polish miner KGHM begins production at massive cooper mine in Chile

Sierra Gorda — the world’s 4th largest copper project —  is located in the Antofagasta region within the Atacama Desert, Chile’s largest copper producing region. Image courtesy of KGHM.

Polish miner KGHM expects to start shipping copper from its new Sierra Gorda mine in Chile, officially inaugurated Wednesday, beginning next month.

"The first shipment with approximately 6,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from the Sierra Gorda mine is expected to arrive at the Toyo Smelter and Refinery in November," Europe's second largest copper miner said in a statement.

The mine, operated by KGHM International, is a joint venture between Polish copper company KGHM (55%), Sumitomo Metal Mining (31.5%) and the Sumitomo Corporation (13.5%).

KGHM had originally planned to export concentrate from Sierra Gorda — the world’s 4th largest copper mine — via the Port of Antofagasta, but in February a local court overturned the project's government-approved environmental impact study, forcing the firm to consider alternative and costlier transport routes. The issue was finally resolved in KGHM’s favour.

Polish miner KGHM begins production at massive cooper mine in Chile

First copper concentrate will be shipped from Sierra Gorda in November of this year. Image courtesy of KGHM.

Due to an increase in project reserves, the miner also said Sierra Gorda's life has been extended by three years and is now projected at 23 years.

Production at the mine, which began operating in late July, reached a final launching cost of $4.16 billion, about a third more than what initially expected.