Teck Resources said on Wednesday it is temporarily suspending construction activities at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project to ensure employee safety and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Teck currently holds an indirect 60% interest in the QB2 project, with Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation together owning a 30% indirect interest, and ENAMI, a Chilean state agency, holding the remaining 10%.
The project is expected to have an initial mine life of 28 years using only 25% of total reserves and resources, producing 316,000 tonnes of copper equivalent annually for the first five years.
In Q4 2019, Teck secured a $2.5 billion limited recourse project financing to develop the QB2 mine area, which would comprise a concentrator plant and tailings facility, utilities, and port facilities.
“The orderly suspension of construction activities is effective immediately, and the workforce will demobilize over the coming days,” the Canadian miner said, adding that the suspension will be for an initial two-week period, and will affect at least 15,000 workers on the QB2 project.
Countries around South America, including Argentina and Chile, are closing their borders to non-residents amid fears the coronavirus could take hold in the region in a similar manner as parts of Asia and Europe.
(By Arundhati Sarkar; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)