Codelco to fix mine equipment to boost capacity to 90 percent

jueves 6 de noviembre de 2014 11:31 GYT

SANTIAGO Nov 6 (Reuters) - A key piece of equipment that has had a troubled start-up at Codelco's Ministro Hales mine will undergo repair work this month to improve its capacity from 70 percent currently to at least 90 percent, the Chilean state copper miner said Thursday.

The roaster, designed to reduce levels of arsenic in the mine's ore to make copper concentrate saleable for the global market, has had technical issues that prompted the world no.1 copper producer Codelco to cancel some sales to China earlier this year.

Running now at 70 percent capacity, the roaster will undergo a programmed maintenance in November, involving some repairs and some changing of equipment, that will allow capacity to jump to at least 90 percent, Codelco said.

The roaster was made by Finland's Outotec, which will - under contractual obligations - cover any costs relating to fixing the equipment, Codelco told Reuters last month.

Both state-run Codelco and Chile rely on new mines like Ministro Hales to keep copper supply growing, but face significant issues, including poor ore grades and high energy costs.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Bernadette Baum)