Inspenet, November 13, 2023.
Last Thursday marked the conclusion of the last production of fine copper cathodes at the Cerro Colorado mine, a deposit located in the Pampa Norte district, in Chile and operated by the Anglo-Australian company BHP . At the beginning of this year, the company began the gradual process of ceasing operations at the mine located in the Tarapacá region and the last mineral extraction took place last July.
With this milestone, a history that spans almost three decades of productive activities was concluded. The open pit copper mine began operations in 1994 and during that time accumulated production in excess of 2.4 million tons of fine copper. The closing ceremony was led by Cristian Sandoval, president of Activos Pampa Norte at BHP, who has been linked to the mine for the last 21 years.
Future reactivation of the Cerro Colorado mine
The conclusion of operations at the site will take place in December, coinciding with the expiration of the current environmental permits for its operation. Despite this fact, the decommissioning plan approved by Sernageomin provides a period of two years, with the possibility of an extension of up to three additional years. However, the company has acknowledged that it is evaluating the option of extending the useful life of the field to resume operations in 2030.
According to the company’s most recent annual report, various alternatives have been considered to extend the operational life of Cerro Colorado, such as the application of leaching technologies and the use of desalinated water.
“We intend to continue developing technical studies to inform potential mine life extension in the future, as well as technical studies for permanent closure if mine life extension is not feasible. We are working with affected indigenous peoples to include their opinions in the study phases of both scenarios.”, the company detailed in its latest report.
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