The Supreme Court of Chile has cleared the construction of a storage facility at the Sierra Gorda mine in the country.
The $43m facility is to be built by private port operator Antofagasta Terminal International (ATI) and will be used to store copper and molybdenum produced at the mine.
Joint venture of Poland-based KGHM International and Japan’s Sumitomo, Sierra Gorda plans to export copper concentrate through the Port of Antofagasta.
KGHM had previously obtained approval from the local government for the storage facility but a lower court overturned the approval in February, after a petition was filed against the plant.
The petitioners claimed that the storage facility would not allow them to live in a pollution-free environment.
The Supreme Court quashed the petition on the grounds that it was filed after the crossing of the deadline.
The verdict will allow the company to restart the construction of the facility, which will include a conveyor belt to carry concentrate from railway line to storage facility and fixed conveyors to transport the minerals to shipping terminal.
KGHM was quoted by Platts as saying: “Sierra Gorda is coordinating with the logistics partners ATI and FCAB to finalise the construction of a dedicated world-class warehouse and loading facilities to transport copper concentrate via the Port of Antofagasta.
The company has also prepared a short-term transport-related contingency plan to ensure all concentrate production can be delivered to the customers.”
Production at the mine began last week. Sierra Gorda is expected to produce around 120,000t of copper, 50 million pounds of molybdenum and 60,000oz of gold a year after its ramp-up in early 2015.