Polish copper miner KGHM reported that its Sierra Gorda mine in Chile has achieved two historic milestones with the start of commercial copper production and the first shipment of molybdenum. Located approximately 60 km southwest of Calama in northern Chile, Sierra Gorda is expected to be one of the largest copper mines and a significant molybdenum producer with annual production capacity of 220,000 metric tons (mt) of copper, 11,000 mt of molybdenum and 2 mt of gold.

The copper plant has been operating for more than 60 days at 65% of its designed capacity. With the opening earlier this month of the new port facility, which meets top environmental standards, concentrate is now being transported via rail to the port of Antofagasta.

“The Sierra Gorda project has been developed according to the schedule and in the manner that was originally specified. This is important for KGHM shareholders, who appreciate the company’s growth of value, which is driven by the commercial success of Sierra Gorda, as well as our business partners, employees and local communities. We are going to continue along this path so that the sales from Sierra Gorda, which we declared for this year, are realized,” said Herbert Wirth, CEO, KGHM.

KGHM also said the molybdenum plant at Sierra Gorda is producing concentrate with at least 40% metals content. Under a strategic partnership with Molymet, Sierra Gorda began delivering molybdenum concentrates.