El Abra Mine

Description: El Abra is an open-pit copper mining complex.

Did you Know? We continue to evaluate a potential large-scale milling operation at El Abra to process additional sulfide material and to achieve higher recoveries. Exploration results in recent years at El Abra indicate a significant sulfide resource, which could potentially support a major mill project. Future investments will be dependent on technical studies, economic factors and global copper market conditions.

Location: 47 miles north of Calama, in Chile's El Loa province, Region II.

Ores:  El Abra is a porphyry copper deposit that has sulfide and oxide mineralization. The predominant primary sulfide copper minerals are bornite and chalcopyrite. There is a minor amount of secondary sulfide mineralization as chalcocite. The oxide copper minerals are chrysocolla and pseudomalachite. There are lesser amounts of copper-bearing clays and tenorite.

Processes and facilities: The El Abra operation includes a solution extraction/electrowinning facility with a capacity of 500 million pounds of copper cathode per year, a 125,000 metric ton-per-day crushed leach circuit and a similar-sized run-of-mine leaching operation.

The revised operating plans for El Abra reduce mining and stacking rates by approximately 50 percent to achieve lower operating and labor costs, defer capital expenditures and extend the life of the existing operations. El Abra’s copper production totaled 324 million pounds in 2015, 367 million pounds in 2014 and 343 million pounds in 2013.

Background: Mining operations began in 1996.

Ownership: 51% FCX; 49% Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO)