Anglo American has had trouble getting approval from regulatory authorities on its plan to redesign the small El Soldado copper mine in Chile, which could lead to the suspension of operations at the site. 

The company wants to remodel El Soldado, which produced around 36,000 tons of copper in 2015, due to complex engineering problems. In the country, the Chilean National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) must give their permission for the redesign.

Sernageomin has announced it is not satisfied with the scheme and wants Anglo American to do the sketches again, according to local sources in the mine. One of the sources said an official notification could be dispatched very soon.

“We are still waiting for approval of the permit for the mine redesign plan and we have not received a resolution from Sernageomin,” said a senior source at Anglo American.

Although El Soldado is a small mine by Chilean mining standards, its eventual stoppage could make a difference in the market, especially now when the two largest copper deposits in the world, Escondida in Chile and Grasberg in Indonesia, are facing tough challenges.