Codelco halts mining projects after reporting second worker death

Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile. (Image by Codelco.)

Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, said on Wednesday it was temporarily halting construction of all mining projects after reporting the death of two workers in less than a month.

On Monday, the company announced it would keep construction of its Rajo Inca project halted after reporting the death of one worker after a truck driven by a contractor slid off a platform at a dump while the operator was outside of the control cabin.

The truck then slid 40 meters (131 feet) down a slope killing the operator. Read full story It reported another death at its Chuqui Subterranea project, an expansion of the historical Chuquicamata mining, earlier on Wednesday.

All operational activities will be suspended, the company told Reuters, adding that they would be restarted “once the correct compliance with the security controls at each site has been reviewed.”

The migration of Chuquicamata to an underground mine and the new El Teniente mine level are some of the initiatives currently being developed by the company.

The second death, with a cause still undetermined, comes as Codelco is already under pressure, including from lawmakers who hosted a session of the country’s Chamber of Deputies Mining Commission to scrutinize the first incident.

The head of Chilean mining regulator Sernageomin told parliamentarians this week that the security protocols of the vice presidency were not in line with those of the other divisions of the company.

(By Fabian Cambero and Carolina Pulice; Editing by Christian Plumb and Diane Craft)

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