Teck Resources said it has received regulatory approval for its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project in the Tarapacá Region in northern Chile. The regional Environmental Committee of Tarapacá voted to approve the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Receipt of the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA) is expected in the coming weeks.
“Receiving this regulatory approval is a major step forward in advancing our QB2 project,” said Don Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck. “QB2 will be a high-quality, low-cost, long-life operation with significant expansion potential that will substantially increase Teck’s copper production and generate considerable value for many years.”
With an exceptionally low life-of-mine stripping ratio of 0.5 times, lower in the early years, QB2 is expected to provide 300,000 metric tons (mt) of copper equivalent production per year for the first five years of mine life. The operation has an initially permitted mine life of 25 years using only a quarter of reserves and resources. It is expected to be a tier-one asset in Teck’s portfolio, with low all-in sustaining costs and significant potential for further growth. The approval of the EIA is a key step toward a potential construction sanction decision, which could be considered as early as the fourth quarter.
The project will be a low-risk operation using proven technologies. The scope of the project also includes the construction of a new 140,000-mt-per-day (mt/d) concentrator, tailings storage facility, concentrate pipeline, water supply pipeline, desalination plant, concentrate filtration plant, and port to produce copper and molybdenum concentrates.
Teck owns 90% of Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca S.A. (QBSA). ENAMI, a Chilean State agency, holds a 10% preference share interest in QBSA, which does not require ENAMI to fund capital spending.