As part of the regulatory process, Teck Resources has submitted the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) for its Quebrada Blanca phase 2 project (QB Phase 2) in northern Chile to the Region of Tarapacá Environmental Authority.
The proposed QB Phase 2 project would extend the life of the existing mine as a large-scale concentrate producing operation. The updated feasibility study including capital and operating cost estimates for the project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017. A decision to proceed with development, according to the company, would be contingent upon regulatory approvals and market conditions, among other considerations. Given the timeline of the regulatory process, such a decision is not expected before mid-2018.
Project optimization work currently under way targets capital costs in the range of $4.5 to $5 billion with an initial mine life of 25 years, consistent with the capacity of the revised tailings facility, which is located closer to the mine. This compares to the 2012 feasibility study estimate of $5.6 billion. The new capital cost estimate will include a 140,000-metric-ton-per-day (mt/d) concentrator and related facilities; a new port facility and desalination plant; and concentrate and desalinated water pipelines. QB Phase 2 is expected to have an annual production capacity of more than 250,000 mt of copper and 8,000 mt of molybdenum in concentrate for the first 10 years of mine life.
“Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 is a long-life asset that will operate through multiple price cycles and generate significant value for many years,” said Don Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck Resources. “Our regulatory submission outlines the significant economic and social benefits that this project would generate for the region, as well as extensive proposed environmental mitigation measures, including the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater for mining in Chile’s Tarapacá Region.”