Anglo American plc announced the start of commercial copper operations at its Quellaveco project in Peru, following the successful testing of operations and final regulatory clearance. Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of copper equivalent volume on average over its first 10 years.

“Our delivery of Quellaveco, a major new world class copper mine, is testament to the incredible efforts of our workforce and our commitment to our stakeholders in Peru over many years,” Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad said. “Quellaveco alone is expected to lift our total global output by 10% in copper equivalent terms and take our total copper production close to 1 million mt/y. At a highly competitive operating cost, Quellaveco exemplifies the asset and return profile that is central to our portfolio quality and our ability to provide customers with a reliable and sustainable supply of future-enabling metals.”

“We designed Quellaveco as one of Anglo American’s and South America’s most technologically advanced mines, incorporating autonomous drilling and haulage fleets – a first in Peru – a remote operations center, as well as a number of Anglo American’s digital and advanced processing technologies,” Anglo American’s Base Metals CEO Ruben Fernandes said. “Drawing its electricity supply entirely from renewables, Quellaveco is setting an example of a low emission mine producing a critical metal for decarbonizing the global economy – copper. In Quellaveco, we can see FutureSmart Mining in action.”

Anglo American expects that Quellaveco will ramp up fully over the next nine to 12 months. Following a thorough commissioning and testing period, and receipt of final regulatory clearance, production guidance for Quellaveco in 2022 is revised to 80,000-100,000 mt of copper (previously 100,000-150,000 mt) at a C1 unit cost of $1.50/lb, previously $1.35/lb. Production guidance for Quellaveco in 2023 and 2024 is unchanged at 320,000-370,000 mt of copper.