SANTIAGO, March 16 (Reuters) - A Chilean court has ordered port operator Antofagasta Terminal Internacional to temporarily suspend operations at a second copper stockpiling warehouse after high levels of heavy metals were found nearby, a move that could impact copper exports from the world’s No. 1 producer.
The environmental court already had asked the port operator last week to suspend activities at another stockpiling warehouse for 30 days because of health risks from the nearby particles.
“We received authorization to suspend (the warehouse) Friday evening, and today (Monday) we will notify the company,” Chile’s environmental regulatory agency told Reuters.
The environmental court ordered both warehouses shut for an initial 30 days after the high levels of heavy metals were discovered in the city.
The court and regulator did not specify which companies could see copper exports impacted by the suspension of the second warehouse, though large copper miners such as state-run Codelco and Escondida, controlled by BHP Billiton , use different ports for their shipments.
Suspension of operations at the first warehouse was not expected to impact copper exports from Chile, though it will affect the stockpiling of material used by a Glencore smelter. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Paul Simao)