Codelco, the Chilean state-backed copper miner, reported that it’s commenced preparations to restart most of its mining and construction activities in the country.
In a release dated August 6, the company revealed that it’s developed a plan to resume activities, and that it will be implemented in stages.
The pandemic has considerably affected the world’s largest copper-producing country, with 376,616 positive cases this year. Most of Codelco’s facilities were shut down either in late June or early July, and the firm will test all of its employees for the virus before they return to work.
The miner said that its first step will be to restart operations at Chuquicamata Subterránea, its flagship copper mine in Calama, Antofagasta, which produces 366,000mt of fine copper a year. It will use the Calama airport to bring in its workforce and use sealed buses to transport them to the site.
The Chuquicamata smelter’s furnaces were also primed during the first weekend of August and are ready to begin production.
The company also plans to resume construction to expand its El Teniente project, which includes the Andes Norte, Andesita and Diamante mines that Codelco brought to a halt on July 4. This vast mine is the largest known copper deposit in the world and produced 459,744mt of fine copper last year.
However, Codelco has not yet disclosed a date operations to restart.