Teck QB2 copper project in Chile to be 40% complete by year’s end

Teck Resources is continuing to increase its workforce at the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in northern Chile and expects the project to be about 40% complete by the end of the year, the company said this week.

The project, which has been delayed by up to six months after being suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, expects to see first production in the second half of 2022, depending on the Teck’s management of the impact of the virus.

Currently, more than 7,000 people are on site and planning to continue ramping up output through the fourth quarter, with over 9,000 people expected on site by the end of the year. Employment at the site had dropped from 7,500 workers to just 400 following the suspension of operations in mid-March.

All major contractors have since remobilized, while the construction of additional camp space is progressing and will provide additional capacity as it begins to come online in the fourth quarter, Teck said in a third-quarter earnings report.

QB2 is expected to have average copper-equivalent production of 316,000 tonnes per year during its first five full years in operation.

Teck holds an indirect 60% interest in Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca SA (QBSA), which owns QB2. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co and Sumitomo Corp have a collective 30% indirect interest in QBSA, with Chilean state agency Enami holding a 10% non-funding interest in QBSA.

Fastmarkets’ copper concentrates treatment and refining charge index, cif Asia Pacific moved to $45.10 per tonne on October 23, up by 50 cents from the previous week as market participants anticipated a more well-supplied market.

TCs had rapidly decreased earlier this year due to the low availability of concentrates and reduced market liquidity, mostly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in South America.

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