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Mining News July 05, 2019 09:30:38 AM

Codelco Anticipates Delay in Full Restart of Chuquicamata Smelter

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The entire smelter facility is expected to be up and running only by Q3 this year.

Codelco Anticipates Delay in Full Restart of Chuquicamata Smelter

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The latest update provided by Codelco suggests that it may take more time for its Chuquicamata smelter to return to normal operations.

The entire smelter facility is expected to be up and running only by Q3 this year, as against the earlier forecast of a possible restart by mid-2019. As of now, only some parts of the smelter are operating normally. This includes the flash oven and one acid plant. The ramp up of the second acid plant is scheduled for this week. The tougher environmental standards set by Chilean administration in December last year have led to upgrade works at the plant for nearly six months now.

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According to Rolando Milla, president of Chuquicamata Union No. 3, the facility is likely to return to normal capacity only by August this year. The flash oven currently processes 70-80 tons of concentrates per hour, much lower than its maximum processing capacity of 180 tons per hour. Also, the other parts of the plant too are not fully operational.

Nearly 3,200 unionized workers at the Chuquicamata mine had downed tools for a period of two weeks demanding improved healthcare and retirement benefits. The mine worked at limited capacity during the strike. Before the strike action, the company had announced cancellation of contract with the engineering firm SNC Lavalin Group, Inc. All these contributed to delays over the last few months.

Meantime, the delay is likely to boost concentrate shipments from Codelco.

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