Chile’s Codelco is planning to make an additional investment of $720m to overhaul the Chuquicamata copper mine located 1,650km north of Santiago, Chile, reported Reuters.

The move comes as the company looks to stop a production downturn by bringing late and overbudget mining projects back on track.

Chilean state-owned copper mining company has already invested $5.7bn to transform the Chuquicamata open-pit copper mine into an underground mine, reported Bloomberg News.

At the shareholders meeting in May 2023, the company stated that it was also in the process of investing $1.3bn in infrastructure related to the Chuquicamata mine.

The company is currently seeking an environmental permit for the mine’s design modifications and related works.

In the environmental impact statement submitted to the authorities, Codelco’s proposal includes operational changes at both the underground and surface levels of the mine.

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By GlobalData

This “will not alter the extraction and processing speeds originally authorised for the project”, Codelco added.

Codelco’s new CEO Ruben Alvarado is looking to increase the company’s production from around 1.3 million tonnes this year to pre-pandemic levels of about 1.7 million tonnes a year by 2030.

Meanwhile, Codelco commenced ore extraction from the Rajo Inca project, which is currently more than 60% completed, according to a Reuters report posted on Mining.com.

The project is planned to be formally commissioned in 2024.

Codelco said the processing capacity of the concentrator plant at the mine will be ramped up in seven months to reach 37,000 metric tonnes of ore per day.

Recently, Codelco and Rio Tinto formalised a joint venture (JV) after the latter closed the acquisition of a 57.74% stake in Chile’s Agua de la Falda project from PanAmerican Silver.

Codelco owns the remaining 42.26% interest in the Agua de la Falda project.