Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) said on Monday it would reinitiate work on the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in Chile after shutting it down because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Teck vice president Amparo Cornejo said in a Chilean mining forum that the company was working closely with local authorities and hoped to reach full staffing levels at the project within three months.
“Obviously we will do this only if the health conditions in the country permit it,” Cornejo said.
The $4.7 billion expansion project was suspended in mid-March when the first cases of covid-19 appeared in the South American nation. The miner originally expected the work halt to last for two weeks, but as the pandemic overtook much of Chile, it was forced to delay the project through August.
Many of the region’s miners, including the state-run Codelco, put the brakes on mine expansion projects over the past several months to help control the spread of the virus. However, Chile has nonetheless managed to maintain output from its active mines amid the crisis.
Teck previously said it expects the QB2 project to begin production in Q4 2021 and ramp up to 316,000 tonnes at full capacity. This delay could now push its completion date back by five to six months a cost of $260-$290 million (excluding interest).
(With files from Reuters)