Chile state copper producer Codelco has approved a $1.38 billion project at its Salvador Division in the northern Atacama region. This new project, the Inca Pit (Rajo Inca), will increase production from 60,000 tons to 90,000 tons of fine copper from the first half of 2023. The project requires a 22-month pre-stripping period and a seven-month ramp up of the concentrator plant. Commissioning is expected to begin in the second half of 2022, to reach an overall production of 90,000 tons in the first half of 2023.

The investment is 33% lower than previously contemplated by Codelco in 2014, thanks to the maximization and optimization of the existing infrastructure, especially in the mine and tailings deposit areas, and the overhaul of the processes of concentrator and hydrometallurgical plants, according to the company. Savings were also achieved through the reuse of mining equipment. Once in operation, Rajo Inca will require between 25 and 30 300-ton capacity trucks, hydraulic shovels and large capacity wheel loaders. Most of the equipment will be coming from other Codelco divisions.