Teck has taken another broad step forward toward commissioning and full production at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project (QB2) in northern Chile – production of the mine’s first bulk copper concentrate.
CEO Jonathan Price said, at full production, QB2 will double Teck’s copper production on a consolidated basis, as it is one of the world’s largest undeveloped resources of copper.
“This achievement is made possible by the dedicated and skilled teams who have worked diligently to progress this transformative operation, which is the cornerstone of our copper growth strategy,” he added.
QB2 has an initial mine life of 27 years, and that is using only approximately 18% of the 2022 reserves and resource tonnage with significant potential for future growth. The operation is targeted to achieve 285,000-315,000 tonnes of annual copper production in 2024 through 2026.
It will also include sustainability practices, including the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater for mining in Chile’s Tarapacá region, and an agreement is in place to source 100% renewable power from AES Andes for the operation beginning in 2025.
“Teck has also been engaging with local communities in the QB2 project area since 2012 including working collaboratively to create tangible benefits in the region, which will continue throughout the life of the operation,” the company said.
The supergene orebody (near-surface deposit) was mined during the initial phase of Quebrada Blanca. QB2 will develop the deeper sulphide resource underlying the existing operation. As a result, QB2 is effectively pre-stripped, which greatly reduces project costs.
Teck owns an indirect 60% interest in Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca SA (QBSA), the owner of QB2. The remainder is held by Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corporation, which have a collective indirect 30% interest. ENAMI has a 10% non-funding interest in QBSA.