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.

Background: Mining operations began in 1996. 

Ownership: 51% FCX; 49% CorporaciĆ³n Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO)