Escondida copper mine conveyer belt faces pause after fire

Image of Escondida courtesy of BHP.

A conveyer belt at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, the largest copper deposit in the world, will face a partial 100-hour pause due to a fire, an Escondida union source told Reuters on Thursday.

Australian mining group BHP in a statement earlier on Thursday said it had activated its emergency protocol after a fire broke out in the mine early Wednesday morning.

The union source, who was not authorized to officially talk about the incident, did not specify when the pause started, but said Laguna Seca Line 1 would remain partially offline for 100 hours due to the incident.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on the 100-hour pause.

“No workers were exposed to the event,” BHP said in a statement to Reuters. “The company notified the corresponding authorities and started an investigation to determine the causes.”

In a video seen by Reuters, flames were seen on a conveyer belt in the mine’s operations.

(By Fabian Cambero and Kylie Madry; Editing by Alexander VIllegas and Leslie Adler)

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