SANTIAGO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - World No. 1 copper producer Codelco said on Thursday it had halted construction work at its Ministro Hales copper mine project after a mechanic died in a tunnel.
State miner Codelco said the cause of Jaime Orlando Illanes Herrera's death at around 11 AM (2PM GMT) on Thursday was being investigated.
"When informed of this unfortunate accident, Codelco proceeded to immediate suspend works in the area," the company said in a statement.
The $2.3 billion mine is scheduled to come on line at the end of this year and is seen producing roughly 170,000 tonnes of copper.
Codelco expects its output of the red metal in 2013 to top last year's thanks in part to output from the new Ministro Hales mine.
The company produced about 1.65 million tonnes of copper in 2012, according to Chile's state copper commission Cochilco.