Chile’s Codelco reports accident at mine where worker died last month
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Top global copper producer Codelco reported an accident at its Chuquicamata mine on Wednesday, weeks after a mishap killed a worker there and drew scrutiny to the Chilean state company’s safety practices.
Although no one was hurt in Wednesday’s “operational incident,” Codelco said it had launched an investigation to determine the cause. Production had not been halted.
Codelco has been under pressure to improve safety policies since two people died at its mines last month, one at Chuquicamata.
Mining regulator Sernageomin told Reuters last week that the national mining industry had deficiencies in safety protocols and had to improve practices.
Codelco said the latest accident had involved the upper part of a “material dome” and a conveyor belt that had given way.
Social media images showed the rupture of the top of a structure at the mine, which is in the north of Chile.
In a brief statement, the company said it would implement a contingency plan to “address operational continuity.”
It later told Reuters that the incident had affected one of the conveyor belts that fed the mine’s concentrator from three sources of ore. The affected belt carried around 15% of ore fed to the plant.
Last month, Codelco temporarily suspended work at its construction projects following the deaths of the two workers.
(Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero; Additional reporting by Natalia Ramos; Editing by Bradley Perrett)