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Quebrada Blanca: Teck unveils its largest mining project in Chile

InvestChile - October,27,2023

The operation includes a mine area featuring a concentrator plant with a 140,000-ton daily production capacity, extensive utility infrastructure, coastal port facilities and a water desalination plant.


At a top-tier event attended by the President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, cabinet members and representatives from local communities in the Tarapacá region, Teck Resources Limited (Teck) officially inaugurated its recently expanded Quebrada Blanca (QB) mine, one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable copper operations.

“QB’s expansion was made possible by a host of talented, dedicated people who worked to build one of the world’s most innovative, sustainable copper mines here in northern Chile,” noted Teck CEO Jonathan Price.

QB is now the cornerstone of Teck’s growth strategy, giving Chile a crucial role in the company’s future development as a leading copper producer.

This expansion, which follows the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 construction project, makes QB a long-term operation with significant potential for future expansion and state-of-the-art environmental practices.

Highlights include:

  • Copper production: QB aims to produce 320,000 tons of copper annually for the first five full years of operation.
  • Sustainable lifetime: The 27-year initial mine life will use only 18% of the available mineral resources at QB.
  • Use of desalinated seawater: QB is a pioneer in the Tarapacá Region for large-scale use of desalinated seawater instead of freshwater. Major mining companies know that seawater will be key to the future of copper in Chile, which boasts over 4,000 kilometers of coastline. 
  • Green power: The mining company has committed to running its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

The operation includes a mine area featuring a concentrator plant with a 140,000-ton daily production capacity, extensive utility infrastructure, coastal port facilities and a water desalination plant.

It also has a state-of-the-art remote Integrated Operations Center located in Santiago.

Economic and Community Benefits

The construction of QB generated more than 30,000 jobs, representing a significant economic impact on the region.

Over the course of operations, QB is expected to employ over 3,000 local workers and increase the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by an impressive 17%.

Notably, approximately 30% of the workforce are women, which exceeds the global average for the mining sector, and 42% of employees come from the Tarapacá Region.

Since 2012, Teck has been committed to collaborating with local communities in the QB project zone. It has signed agreements with 17 local indigenous communities and five fishermen’s unions and has established participatory monitoring programs.

During port construction, Teck teams discovered mummified human remains dating back to approximately 1100 BC. The company worked with the authorities to thoroughly document the recovery and preserve the area’s cultural heritage.

Teck has also pioneered working with indigenous women in northern Chile.

Teck holds 60% indirect interest in Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca SA (QBSA), which owns QB2, along with Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation, which collectively hold 30% indirect interest in QBSA. ENAMI holds a 10% non-financial interest in QBSA.

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Topics: Mining- Canadian investment



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