Codelco to invest US$ 244 million in Quetena copper deposit

Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, will invest US$ 244 million to speed up the development of its Quetena copper deposit in northern Chile, an open pit operation that will produce 62,000 tons of fine copper per year.

The state-owned company said that Quetena, scheduled to start operations in early 2015, is being subjected to an environmental assessment since yesterday, as the mine’s extraction capacity will exceed 5,000 tons per month. In addition, the project is located close to water reservoirs that supply towns such as Calama and Yalquincha.

“Quetena is a new step in the quest to strengthen Codelco Norte business opportunities, which in turn will mitigate Chuquicamata’s decline in production in the years to come, as it transit from the present open pit mine to an underground operation,” said Aranis July, general manager of the Chuquicamata Division, as reported by local news site Lo Actual.

Quetena deposit will also replace output from the Mina Sur which is slated to close in 2013. This mine currently produces about 150,000 metric tons of copper a year and, as part of the company’s Norte division, contributes about 8% of annual output.

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