Diversified major Anglo American on Monday announced the start of commercial operations at its 300 000 t/y copper-equivalent Quellaveco project, in Peru, following the successful testing of operations and final regulatory clearance.
The new mine would lift Anglo’s total global output by 10% in copper equivalent terms and take its total copper production close to one-million tonnes a year, said CEO Duncan Wanblad.
“Our delivery of Quellaveco, a major new world-class copper mine, is testament to the incredible efforts of our workforce and our commitment to our stakeholders in Peru over many years,” he commented in a statement.
“At a highly competitive operating cost, Quellaveco exemplifies the asset and return profile that is central to our portfolio quality and our ability to provide customers with a reliable and sustainable supply of future enabling metals.”
Quellaveco would ramp up fully over the next 9 to 12 months.
Following a commissioning and testing period, and receipt of final regulatory clearance, Anglo revised its 2022 production guidance for Quellaveco to between 80 000 t and 100 000 t of copper, compared with the previous target of 100 000 t to 150 000 t, at a C1 unit cost of c.150c/lb, previously c.135c/lb.
The production guidance for Quellaveco in 2023 and 2024 remained unchanged at 320 000 t to 370 000 t of copper.
Anglo also tightened its copper production guidance for Chile to between 560 000 t and 580 000 t, compared with the previous guidance of 560 000 t to 600 000 t, citing lower throughput at Los Bronces caused by a combination of water restrictions and a change in ore characteristics.
The 2022 C1 unit cost guidance has been revised upwards to c.160c/lb, from c.150c/lb, reflecting the impact of lower volumes and inflation.
Quellaveco has been designed as one of Anglo and South America’s most technologically advanced mines, incorporating autonomous drilling and haulage fleets – a first in Peru – a remote operations centre, as well as a number of digital and advanced processing technologies, the mining group’s head of base metals, Ruben Fernandes, noted.
“Drawing its electricity supply entirely from renewables, Quellaveco is setting an example of a low emission mine producing a critical metal for decarbonising the global economy – copper. In Quellaveco, we can see FutureSmart Mining in action.”