SHOWCASE COPPER MINE OF THE WEEK - LOS BRONCES MINE
Los Bronces copper mine is situated 65km north-east of Santiago in the Andean Mountains of Chile and is the ninth largest copper mine in the world. The open-cut mine was estimated to contain 11.13Mt of copper as of December 2012. It produced 365,300t of copper in 2012. Anglo American, holding a 50.1% interest, is the operator of Los Bronces. Mitsubishi owns 20.4% of the mine while a joint venture of Codelco and Mitsui holds the remaining 29.5% stake. The mine has been in operation for more than 150 years. The remaining mine life is extendable beyond 30 years. Los Bronces ramped up to full production in 2012 following the completion of a major expansion project in 2011. The mine produces both copper concentrates and cathodes. Higher grade ore is milled onsite and sent in slurry form via a 52km pipeline to the Las Tórtolas flotation plant. Low grade ore is processed at the solvent extraction and electrowinning (SXEW) facility for the production of cathodes - Mining Technology.