Teck wins approval for Chilean copper mine desalination project

Canadian mining firm Teck Resources has won environmental approval for a proposed desalination plant at Quebrada Blanca copper mine in northern Chile.

The project, Quebrada Blanca phase two (QB2), is in development by Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca (QBSA) to support an increase in production at the open pit copper mine, located 1,500 kilometres north of Santiago. QBSA is 90 per cent owned by Teck, and the Chilean state owns 10 per cent.

The regional Environmental Committee of Tarapacá voted to approve the Environmental Impact Assessment for the facility, and will issue an Environmental Qualification Resolution in September 2018.

The approval is a milestone in the permissions process, allowing for a decision on construction potentially to be considered during Q4 2018.

“This is a major step forward. QB2 will be a high quality, low cost, long life operation with significant expansion potential that will substantially increase Teck’s copper production,” said Teck president and chief executive Don Lindsay.

The entire project includes construction of a new 140,000 tonnes a day copper concentrator, tailings storage, concentrate pipeline, water supply pipeline, desalination plant, and a concentrate filtration plant and port to produce copper and molybdenum concentrates.

Quebrada Blanca is an open pit copper mine which leaches ore, to produce copper cathodes at a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plant.