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Chuquicamata resumes operations after heavy rains

Chile copper miner Codelco said on Sunday that its “iconic trucks” and Chuquicamata mine had resumed normal operations after heavy rains in the El Loa province had prompted it to suspend some operations late last week.
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Large-scale copper mine was suspended late last week

Staff reporter

Its Ministro Hales, Gabriela Mistral and Radomiro Tomic divisions were also back to normal, and it starting to repair the public road linking Calama with Chuquicamata, Codelco said yesterday.

"Thanks to the measures adopted and the existing protocols, during the emergency no injured workers have been registered," the company said.

At Chuquicamata, it said the Talabre tailings dam was operating under normal conditions, and concentrator management was normalising its power supply to restart the plant.

A Sernageomin delegation, led by deputy director of mining Pablo Rivas, had investigated the Talabre dam on February 8 to verify it was in good condition.

"Fortunately with this visit, we saw different parts of the dam in operation and we can return home with the peace of mind that everything is operating normally," Rivas said in a statement released by Codelco that day.

It is less than a month since a deadly tailings dam collapse at a Vale operation in Brumadinho in Brazil, that has killed 165 people with 160 still missing, according to an update from authorities several hours ago.

Codelco said the Chuquicamata underground project was restarting activities gradually, "with a view to achieving its normal operations next Tuesday".

The extraction and leaching management had been affected to a greater extent by rain and mud removal work was underway to restart operations.

Meteorologists described the highest levels of rainfall in more than 40 years in some areas, Reuters reported, resulting in the deaths of at least six people, power and water cuts and the destruction of roads and houses.