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Codelco to shut two copper smelters for upgrades – Report

Metal News - Published on Wed, 12 Dec 2018

Image Source: mining-journal.com
SP Global reported that Chile's Codelco is to shut down two of its four copper smelters from December 13 as it rushes to bring the plants into line with tighter emission rules of the South American country. In an emailed answer Tuesday to questions, a spokeswoman for the state mining company said that the Chuquicamata and Potrerillos smelters would be halted for several weeks while the work is carried out.

Supreme Decree 28, which requires metallurgical plants to capture 95% of their emissions of sulfur dioxide and arsenic, came into force earlier this month, forcing mining companies to invest more than $2 billion in upgrades.

Most of Chile's seven copper smelters are already compliant with the tighter requirements, including units owned by Anglo American and Glencore, and Codelco's Ventanas complex. The Caletones smelter at its El Teniente mine should fall into line this month, Codelco said. But Codelco has found bringing other units into line with the regulation tougher than expected, especially at Chuquicamata, causing delays.

Codelco said that the shutdowns will not affect copper production but that would affect the mix of products as it sells more copper as concentrate rather than refined metal. To minimize the impact, the company has brought forward maintenance work that was originally planned for next year and 2020.

The Chuquicamata smelter has capacity to treat 1.4 million mt/year of concentrate, while Potrerillos can treat 650,000 mt/year.

Codelco is investing $1 billion to upgrade the Chuquicamata smelter, upgrading the flash furnace to replace the Teniente convertor as well as new acid plants, concentrates drying system and gas treatment plant.

The shutdown is expected to continue until the end of February.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 12 Dec 2018
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