Freeport-McMoRan to axe 650 jobs at El Abra copper mine in Chile

3 September 2015 (Last Updated September 3rd, 2015 18:30)

US-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan is reportedly planning to lay-off 650 workers at its El Abra copper mine in Chile.

US-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan is reportedly planning to lay-off 650 workers at its El Abra copper mine in Chile.

The company also plans to suspend operations at the complex partially until mid-September as it reduces mining rates.

At its Chilean mine, which the company owns a 51% interest, it is to reduce mining, crushing and stacking operations and plans to restart them in mid-September, Reuters reported.

FCX's latest decision is not expected to affect operations at the mine's solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plants.

"The reduction in operations is to cut costs and short-term capital requirements."

According to the company, the reduction in operations is to cut costs and short-term capital requirements.

The El Abra mine located in Atacama region, represents one of the largest copper reserves in Chile has estimated reserves of 725 million tonnes of ore grading 0.44% copper.

The operation has a solution extraction / electrowinning facility with a capacity of 500 million pounds of copper cathode a year, a 125,000mt per day crushed leach circuit, in addition to a similar-sized run-of-mine leaching operation.

Last month, FCX announced a $700m reduction in its estimated mining capital expenditures for 2016, due to weak copper prices.

The actions were part of the company's review of operating plans for its mining business.

Since late-2014, the company reduced its consolidated capital expenditure budget from $7.5bn to $6.3bn.