Teck Seeking Environmental Approval for Chile Copper Expansion

  • Decision on proceeding probably wouldn’t made before mid-2018
  • Project optimization work targets costs of about $4.5b to $5b

Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest diversified miner, requested environmental approval for a revised expansion project at its Quebrada Blanca copper mine in northern Chile.

An updated feasibility study, including capital and operating cost estimates, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017, while a decision on whether to proceed probably wouldn’t made before mid-2018, Vancouver-based Teck said Monday in a statement.

That’s about the time that some copper watchers including Antofagasta Plc expect the metal to start swinging back into deficit amid a lack of new projects and as Chinese demand continues to grow.

Project optimization work targets costs of $4.5 billion to $5 billion, compared with a 2012 feasibility study estimate of $5.6 billion. The new capital cost estimate will include a 140,000-metric-ton-per-day concentrator, a port facility and desalination plant. Annual production capacity would exceed 250,000 tons of copper and 8,000 tons of molybdenum in concentrate for the first 10 years of mine life.

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