SMM12 13-Chile's Codelco will close two of its four copper smelters from December 13 because it is eager to bring them into line with stricter emissions regulations in South American countries. In an email on Tuesday answering questions, a spokesman for the state mining company said the Chuquicamata and Potrerillos smelters would be shut down for weeks at the start of work.
Earlier this month, the supreme decree, which came into effect on the 28th, required metallurgical plants to capture 95% of sulfur dioxide and arsenic emissions, forcing mining companies to invest more than $2 billion in upgrades. Most of Chile's seven copper smelters already meet stricter requirements, including subsidiaries owned by Anglo American (Anglo American) and Glencore (Glencore), as well as Codelco's Ventanas. Codelco said its Caletones smelter at its El Teniente mine should be able to go into production this month. But the Codelco found that the inclusion of other departments was stricter than expected, especially at Chuquicamata, which caused delays. This is not easy at all, and it is fraught with difficulties. But now the problem is either completely solved or almost completely solved.
Codelco said the shutdown would not affect copper production, but would affect the mix of copper products because the copper it sells is more concentrate than refined metal. To minimize the impact, the company advanced maintenance work scheduled for next year and 2020.
The Chuquicamata smelter has the capacity to process 1.4 million tons of concentrate per year, while Potrerillos can handle 650000 tons per year.
Codelco is investing $1 billion in upgrading the Chuquicamata smelter and upgrading the flash furnace to replace the Teniente converter as well as the new acid plant, concentration and drying system and natural gas treatment plant.
The closure is expected to continue until the end of February.
Work at the Potrerillos smelter at the Codelco El Salvador branch is expected to continue until the end of January.
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