SANTIAGO – Canada's Teck said on Monday it would reinitiate work on its Quebrada Blanca phase 2 copper project in Chile after shutting it down in March because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Teck vice president Amparo Cornejo said in a Chilean mining forum that the company was working closely with local authorities and hoped to reach full staffing levels at the project within three months.
"Obviously we will do this only if the health conditions in the country permit it," Cornejo said.
Vancouver-based Teck shut down the $4.7-billion Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) expansion in mid-March as the first cases appeared in Chile. The project remained closed through the August as the virus overtook much of Chile.
Many of the region´s miners, including the state-run Codelco, put the brakes on mine expansion projects over the past several months to help control the spread of the virus. But Chile, the world's top copper producer, nonetheless managed to maintain output from its active mines amid the crisis.
Teck has said previously it expects its Quebrada Phase 2 project to begin production in 2021 and ramp up to 316 000 t at full capacity.