SANTIAGO, May 12 (Reuters) - Chile's state-owned Codelco,
the world's largest copper producer, announced on Wednesday it
would soon break ground on a $1.4 billion project to extend the
life of its aging Salvador division thru 2068.
The Rajo Inca project aims to convert Salvador from an
underground mine to an open-pit, and requires the company first
strips away rock covering the mineral deposits, Codelco said in
"We will begin work in the next few weeks, in order to reach
production of 90,000 tons in the first half of 2023," the firm
said in a statement.
Codelco is in the midst of a 10-year, $40 billion initiative
to upgrade its sprawling but aging mines, which have suffered in
recent years from sharply falling ore grades.
Salvador has been in operation since 1959 and has the lowest
productivity of any of the copper miner's deposits, producing
just 50,600 tonnes, just under 3% of Codelco's total output,
The company's board of directors in January approved the
plan and its financing.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero
Writing by Dave Sherwood;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)