Xstrata Copper’s Lomas Bayas operation, located in northern Chile, has completed construction and commenced commissioning on schedule of its C$300 million Lomas II project to extend the mine life by 16 years, until at least 2028, at existing production levels of 75,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of copper cathodes. The Lomas II project involved the development of the Fortuna de Cobre open-pit, located 3 km from the operation’s original mine and infrastructure, and the construction of a new primary crusher, conveyor transport system and new heap and run-of-mine (ROM) leach pads. Copper cathodes are produced using the existing Lomas Bayas SX-EW plant.

During the project’s construction, the operation employed more than 4,500 people and delivered more than 100,000 hours of technical and safety training. In operation, Lomas II will add around 50 permanent positions to Lomas Bayas’ existing workforce of approximately 1,850 people including employees and contractors. The Lomas II project team achieved this with a commendable safety performance, recording only one lost time injury in more than 3.7 million man hours and a Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate of 1.07 per million hours worked.  

“This is a great achievement by the Lomas Bayas team and wraps up a remarkable year for Xstrata Copper in which we have commissioned four major projects on schedule and in line with budget, establishing a solid platform for strong long term production and significant production growth from our operations in 2013,” said Xstrata Copper Chief Executive Charlie Sartain.