CHILE – OUTOKUMPU TECHNOLOGY of Finland has been awarded a contract from CODELCO, the world’s major copper producer, to carry out comprehensive conceptual engineering for the expansion of the Chuquicamata copper smelter and refinery in northern Chile.
The Chuquicamata copper complex is located 1,650 km north of Santiago. Commercial mining began in 1910. Today it is the focus of a US$76-million concentrator expansion to raise capacity to 182,000 tonnes of ore per day, and increase both copper and molybdenum recoveries. Codelco is spending US$127 million to reduce sulphur and arsenic emissions from the smelter. The throughput of the refinery will increase to 885,000 tonnes of copper per year; during the $143-million project technological changes will also be made to reduce costs. An additional US$82 million is earmarked to move the crushing plant into the open pit.
In the conceptual engineering Outokumpu will study several technological alternatives to expand and upgrade the Chuquicamata plant for processing of complex concentrates with high arsenic content. A specific target of the project is to improve arsenic capture to fulfil the future environmental requirements as well as to improve the overall productivity of the Chuquicamata plant. The conceptual engineering will be carried out in two phases and it will be completed by the end of August 2005. Information about other work undertaken by Outokumpu Technology is available at www.Outokumpu.com.