El Teniente is the world's biggest underground copper mine and the sixth largest copper mine by reserve size. Located 80km south of Santiago in the Andes mountain range in Chile, the facility is undergoing an extensive $3.4bn expansion project called El Teniente New Mine Level project to extend its production life by 50 years.
Owned and operated by Chile's national copper company Codelco, the underground copper mine was discovered in the early 19th century and has been operational since 1905. The El Teniente New Mine Level project will access approximately 2.02 billion tonnes of ore reserves (grading 0.86% copper) lying deeper at about 350m below the existing undercut level of the mine.
The expansion project received environmental permit in March 2011 and construction started in October 2011. It is expected to create around 3,500 jobs during construction phase and is scheduled to be operational in 2018.Read more