The Peruvian miner El Brocal, controlled by Buenaventura, approached Codelco for consultation regarding the technical feasibility of treating its complex concentrates that are high in impurities such as arsenic, antimony and bismuth. Codelco’s Ministro Hales general manager, Carlos Caballero, said the metallurgists have given the go-ahead to start a test with 1,500 tons in the first quarter of next year.
Afterward, Caballero said Codelco’s marketing vice president will negotiate the terms and contracts with the Peruvians. “We can transform worthless materials into calcines that compete hand-in-hand with clean concentrates for any smelter in the world. We will charge a toll for processing that will be defined in the near future.”
Ministro Hales is the newest division of Codelco and one of the latest mine sites opened by the state-owned company in the country, along with Sierra Gorda and Caserones.
Initially, the Ministro Hales complex did not operate as expected, so the administration put Caballero in charge of the initiative to find a solution. The mine operation was made viable and now there is plenty of room to treat concentrates with impurities that are even higher than those of Ministro Hales.
“For us, it is very important to know that there are operations producing concentrates that are more complex than ours,” Caballero said.
Ministro Hales’ arsenic abatement capacity is currently underutilized, not exceeding 50% of the design capacity, so the division will always be open to explore new opportunities and is interested in capturing their design capabilities in the most convenient way for Codelco.