CHILE – Swiss mining conglomerate XSTRATA has plans to expand its Altonorte smelter near Antofagasta by one-third to approximately 380,000 t/y of copper anode from 290,000 t/y. Sulphuric acid production will also rise to 1.1 million t/y from 800,000 t/y. The work is expected to cost US$58 million.
Xstrata Copper will spend an additional US$14 million to install double contacts in the new sulphuric acid plant. This will increase emissions capture to 95.5% from 93%. Over the next two years, the smelter will also voluntarily implement various other projects to upgrade its environmental performance, at a cost of an additional US$28 million. These projects include further measures to capture fugitive emissions and a smelter dust treatment plant.
Construction will start immediately, providing an additional 800 jobs during the construction phase and further permanent employment opportunities for 80 people once complete. The expansion will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2009. Once complete, the Altonorte smelter will be one of the worlds largest smelters with operating costs in the lowest quartile.
More information about Xstrata Copper is available at www.Xstrata.com.