Codelco’s board recently met at the Ministro Hales division to discuss its “DMH Future Development” project and its efforts to extend the life of the Chilean deposit by 28 years.
The group, meeting for the first time in 2024, toured the Ministro Hales mine as well as its equipment maintenance garage and concentrator plant. General manager Gonzalo Lara also offered a presentation that included the complex’s 2023 divisional results and addressed the challenges of the operation for 2024.
Ministro Hales, the youngest of Codelco’s mines, was approved in 2010 by the board of directors at the time and began operating in 2013. The promise at opening was a 13-year lifespan, which was to expire in 2026.
“This site should be preparing for closure; however, we have a project to extend its life for almost 30 more years, until 2054, with all that this means for our company and for Chile,” explained board chairman Máximo Pacheco.
Executive president Rubén Alvarado added that “the challenge of building the next 50 years of Codelco does not only apply to the centennial deposits such as Chuquicamata and El Teniente, nor only to those that are already more than 50 years old, such as Andina and Salvador; also to young mines, such as Ministro Hales, which, in addition to extending their useful life”.
Specifically, its plans for the complex is to increase the treatment of ore from 57,000 to 65,000 tons per day.
Pacheco added that the current administration has the responsibility to achieve “the environmental resolutions for this division that employs almost 800 people and has the mining resources, technology, experience, motivation and desire to continue living, growing, developing and continuing to contribute to Codelco and the country.
“The Environmental Impact Study considers all the communities identified in the area, so the indigenous consultation will be one of the largest in history,” he added.
Accompanied by Alvarado and Lara, and the vice presidents of operations Mauricio Barraza; minister of supply Mauricio Acuña; and director of projects Julio Cuevas, the directors toured part of the facilities of this work center, where they spoke with workers and reaffirmed their commitment to share visions and gather information in the different operations.
The group felt that trips such as this recent one are vital.
“[It] is very valuable, not only because it generates closeness with people, but also because it helps to know what are the concerns and motivations of those who are in the operation day by day,” one said.
“In addition, we can understand on site and from those who know best, what the challenges are to properly develop our mine plans, the important work to maintain and upgrade our plants, and the improvements that process requires.”