El Teniente (The Lieutenant) copper mine, the world’s sixth biggest copper mine by reserve, is located 80km south of Santiago in the Andes mountain range in Chile. El Teniente was estimated to contain 15.2Mt of fine copper (1,538Mt of ore grading 0.99% copper) at the beginning of 2013. Mining activities at El Teniente started in 1904. Codelco owns and operates the mine. Kennecott Copper Corporation was the operator before Codelco came into being in 1976. The copper products of El Teniente include fire refined lingots (RAF) and copper cathodes. The mine has its own smelter near the site and produces more than 400,000t of fine copper a year. The production in 2012 included 417,244t of fine copper and molybdenum. An expansion project called the New Mine Level project is under development to access the ore located deeper down at El Teniente. The project is hoped to extend the mine life by 50 years.

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