TOKYO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Japan’s JX Holdings Inc said on Wednesday its Caserones copper mine in Chile aims to run at a full utilisation throughout the month in November after reaching full operation intermittently in late September.
“The issues of the waste disposal site and an automated operation program had been fixed and the mine has reached full operation at times in late September,” Executive Officer Katsuyuki Ota told a news conference on its first-half earnings.
“The mine is trying to mend minor glitches and making fine adjustment. We hope to see a full operation on a monthly basis in November,” he said. The mine run at a utilisation of around 60 percent on average in October, he added.
Chile, which produces a third of the world’s copper, was hit by heavy rain this year that flooded towns, wiped out roads and cut electricity.
A spokesman at JX Nippon Mining & Metals, JX’s metal unit and Japan’s biggest copper smelter, said it now expects Caserones to produce 64,000 tonnes of copper concentrate this calendar year, below its earlier estimate of 80,000 tonnes due to the bad weather and delayed ramp-up.
Caserones, which began commercial operation in May 2014, supplied 19,000 tonnes of copper concentrate last year and produced 28,000 tonnes in the January-September this year.
“We hope to see the mine operating at a full utilisation next year, producing 150,000 tonnes of copper concentrate annually,” the spokesman said.
Output on the project has been behind schedule since it started producing in May last year in the arid mountains of northern Chile, and its problems highlight the challenges facing miners in the country as they scrabble through far-flung locations after more accessible deposits have largely been tapped out. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Anand Basu)