New accident at Codelco: Conveyor belt collapses in Chuquicamata

New accident at Codelco: Conveyor belt collapses in Chuquicamata
New accident at Codelco: Conveyor belt collapses in Chuquicamata

At about 1:00 p.m. this Wednesday, August 3, a new event set off the alarms at Codelco: the upper part of the dome and the belt (22CV3) of the Chuquicamata concentrator, which was not in operation, gave way. The state company immediately launched an investigation to clarify the reasons for this collapse and applied a contingency plan to address operational continuity.

The accident had no fatalities – and for this reason it is called an “incident” in mining jargon – unlike two previous events that occurred in July, one at the Rajo Inca project in the Salvador division, which claimed the life of worker Rubén Trigo, 52 years old, and the other in Chuquicamata Subterránea, where Sebastián Méndez died, only 32 years old, and who had also only been working for Codelco for four months.

The belt that collapsed represents around 15% monthly average of the ore that feeds the Chuquicamata Division concentrator.

It should be noted that after these two fatal accidents, the state copper company had to stop all its expansion projects throughout its divisions to carry out an exhaustive review of protocols and procedures.

impact of the incident

Codelco explained that the latest event affected one of the belts that feeds the concentrator from the three ore sources that supply the plant today: the underground mine, the open pit mine and the Radomiro Tomic mine.

This conveyor belt represents around 15% of the monthly average of the total ore that feeds the concentrator of the Chuquicamata Division.

What will happen now with production? The state company explained that the process of the Chuquicamata concentrator plant makes it possible to supply this missing portion so that it operates at the same production rate, and thus the impact of the incident will be momentarily compensated with an increase in the processing of minerals from other sources until that the infrastructure damaged by this unfortunate incident be recovered.

There is concern in the company

Although the company insists that there is no operational impact, there is a lot of concern from workers, executives and directors.

In this sense, the president of the Federation of Copper Workers, Amador Pantoja, pointed out that “it is important to maintain the company’s operational safety standards, carry out the necessary maintenance and the required investments in the facilities”, adding that “it is essential investigate the causes of this incident, because no production goal justifies putting the lives of Codelco workers in danger,” said the union leader.

“We are convinced that Codelco, in addition to being the fundamental pillar for Chile’s development, should be a benchmark in matters of occupational safety,” he emphasized.

The article is in Spanish


Tags: accident Codelco Conveyor belt collapses Chuquicamata

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