Quebrada Blanca (QB) is located in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile at an elevation of 4,400 metres, approximately 240 kilometres southeast of the city of Iquique and 1,500 kilometres from Santiago.
Teck holds an indirect 60% interest in the mine. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation together have a collective 30% indirect interest in the mine. ENAMI, a Chilean state agency, has a 10% non-funding interest.
The new, expanded QB operation represents the next phase of the original Quebrada Blanca mine following the completion of the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project and is expected to ramp up to full production by the end of 2023.
At full production, the new QB will double Teck’s copper production on a consolidated basis.
The operation comprises an open pit mine area, concentrator plant and tailings facility, utilities and port facilities. Copper concentrate processed at the site is transported by pipeline some 165 kilometres to the port facility for loading onto ship for transport to market. For a more detailed look, click here.
The new QB incorporates leading sustainability practices. It is the first mining operation in the Tarapacá Region in Chile to use 100% desalinated seawater for all its production processes—desalinated seawater is transported by pipeline from the port area and is used in the mining operation in place of freshwater— and an agreement is in place to source 100% renewable power from AES Andes for the operation beginning in 2025.
QB incorporates a remote Integrated Operations Centre (IOC), located in Santiago, bringing together resources and data to help achieve better operational performance, improve integration and flexibility, and support a more inclusive and safe work environment.
The new QB has an initial mine life of 27 years over which it will use only ~18% of the 2022 reserves and resources, representing significant potential for further expansions.