SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Teck Resources Ltd said on Wednesday it had received regulatory approval for its $4.8 billion Phase 2 project at its Quebrada Blanca copper mine in northern Chile, a sprawling expansion that will boost production from the deposit to 300,000 tonnes of copper annually.
The environmental approvals will allow the Canadian miner to extend the life of the aging deposit by 25 years, the company said in a statement, using only a quarter of its existing reserves and resources.
The mine includes the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater for mining in Chile’s arid Tarapaca region, Teck said, as well as a 140,000-tonne per day concentrator.
Chile is the world’s top copper producer.
Teck said in July that it would launch a formal process seeking a development partner in the project, which could contribute some $2 billion for a 30 percent to 40 percent stake.
The company said it expected to close a deal with a partner in the fourth quarter.
Quebrada Blanca produced 23,400 tonnes of copper in 2017.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Toni Reinhold