June 8, 2017 / 1:24 PM / a year ago

Codelco mines in Chile begin operation restart after rains

SANTIAGO, June 8 (Reuters) - Chilean copper company Codelco has begun to restart operations at mines in the northern part of the country after a rain storm caused a series of precautionary closures, the state-owned firm said late on Wednesday.

In a statement, Codelco said it had begun gradually restarting operations at its Radomiro Tomic mine, while its Ministro Hales mine was operating normally.

The company was also “evaluating” restarting operations at its flagship Chuquicamata mine, while its concentrator was operating at a fourth of its normal capacity.

Earlier on Wednesday, Codelco said mining activities at Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic, and Ministro Hales had been suspended. Other mines in the area, owned by Antofagasta , BHP Billiton, and Poland’s KGHM , also reported disruptions.

Heavy rains in Chile’s Antofagasta region, as well as snow at higher altitudes, led the country’s emergency services to trigger its highest ‘red alert’ warning on Tuesday, though damage appears to have been limited.

The three Codelco mines in question produced 857,000 tonnes of copper in 2016. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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