Chile

Centinela (Esperanza, El Tesoro) Mine

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Overview

Mine TypeOpen Pit
StatusActive
Commodities
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Molybdenum
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
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Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotCentinela mines sulphide and oxide deposits.

In December 2023, Antofagasta announced the approval of the Centinela Second Concentrator Project, which will add 170,000 tonnes of copper-equivalent production. The timeline for development is three years, with first copper production expected in 2027.

Ore for the new concentrator (Centinela Second Concentrator) will be sourced from two existing open pit mining operations – the Esperanza Sur mine, and an expansion into higher-grade sulphide ores that lie below the Encuentro Oxides ore reserves.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Marubeni Corp. 30 % Indirect
Antofagasta plc. 70 % Indirect
Minera Centinela S.A. (operator) 100 % Direct
Minera Centinela S.A., is a 70%-owned subsidiary of Antofagasta, and holds the Centinela operations. Marubeni Corporation, the Antofagasta’s 30% minority partner in Centinela.

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Porphyry

Summary:

The Centinela district is a 40-km-long segment of the late Eocene to early Oligocene porphyry copper belt of northern Chile. The main mineralization styles in the district include porphyry copper and associated skarns with gold and molybdenum credits, oxide copper in the form of either exotic deposits or in situ oxidation zones, and supergene copper sulfide enrichment blankets.

Structurally controlled, district-wide porphyry copper mineralization formed between 44 and 41 Ma, contemporaneously with transpressional tectonism along the regional-scale Centinela-Limón Verde fault zone, a splay of the major Domeyko fault system. The Domeyko fault system accommodated tectonic uplift of the Cordillera de Domeyko during early stages of the middle Eocene Incaic orogeny. Several productive porphyry copper systems in the district were emplaced syntectonically along reverse- and oblique-slip faults that controlled the shape and attitude of both the dominantly dikelike intrusions and associated alteration mineralization.

All the porphyry copper deposits in the district evolved from early potassic alteration with copper mineralization present as chalcopyrite and bornite, through sericite-chlorite alteration with chalcopyrite and pyrite, to late, overprinting pyritic sericitic alteration. Some systems developed advanced argillic lithocaps in their upper parts. Much of the copper was introduced with the potassic alteration, and all the gold-rich deposits display abundant hydrothermal magnetite and a positive correlation between copper and gold.

Supergene processes gave rise to oxide copper zones above pyrite-poor, chalcopyrite- and bornite-bearing protore and to chalcocite blankets over less reactive, sericitic zones containing pyrite and chalcopyrite. Coeval regional uplift, erosion, and exhumation resulted in widespread piedmont gravel deposition broadly contemporaneous with the supergene activity, with formation of exotic copper deposits alongside the shallow, actively oxidizing, pyritic parts of porphyry copper deposits.

The Mirador deposit is a multiphase porphyry Cu Au-Mo system, within which four intrusive pulses dated by the U-Pb zircon method at 41.3 + 0.4 to 38.4 + 0.7 Ma are currently recognized. These are: feldspar- and biotite-bearing granodioritic Mirador porphyry; dacite porphyry with biotite and quartz eyes; porphyritic granodiorite stock; and late dacite porphyry. The deposit occurs within the Domeyko fault system but is localized by a N65-80°W-trending fault, suggesting the possibility of a new structural system with potential to host porphyry copper deposits in the Centinela district. The porphyry system is emplaced into Jurassic calcareous shale and gypsum, giving rise to peripheral, locally mineralized skarn.

Four mineralization types are recognized: early porphyry Cu-Au with potassic alteration, EB, A and B veinlets, and hypogene chalcopyrite bornite-Au mineralization; Granodiorite stock with Cu-Mo mineralization, sericite-chlorite alteration, fine-grained disseminated sulfides and abundant molybdenite; Cu-Au-bearing garnet skarn with chalcopyrite-pyrite-magnetite; and hornfels and skarn displaying in situ oxidation, which is affected by gravitational collapse due to basal gypsum dissolution. Piedmont gravel and tectonic and solution-collapse breccias then channeled supergene copper-bearing solutions, leading to precipitation of chrysocolla, antofagastite and copper wad. The resultant high grade oxide copper ore is currently being exploited by Minera Centinela.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

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Processing

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Production

CommodityProductUnits2024202320222021202020192018201720162015
Copper Total kt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe277248228236221
Gold Metal in concentrate koz  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe223147157213162
Molybdenum Metal in concentrate kt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe0.40.3
Copper Cathode kt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe8192645676
Copper Metal in concentrate kt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe196156164180145
^ Guidance / Forecast.

Operational metrics

Metrics2023202220212020201920182017
Daily processing rate  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe92.9 kt of ore (in concentrator)96.8 kt of ore (in concentrator)89.7 kt of ore (in concentrator)
Daily processing rate  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe48.4 kt of ore (in heap leach)45.5 kt of ore (in heap leach)28.1 kt of ore (in heap leach)
Waste  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe156 Mt

Production Costs

CommodityUnits20242023202220212020201920182017
Cash costs Copper USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 1.83 / lb   1.89 / lb   1.81 / lb  
Credits (by-product) Copper USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe -0.57 / lb   -0.38 / lb   -0.45 / lb  
Cash costs Copper USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 1.26 / lb **   1.51 / lb **   1.36 / lb **  
^ Guidance / Forecast.
** Net of By-Product.

Financials

Units2023202220212020201920182017
Sustaining costs M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Capital expenditures M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 535.9   535.2   619.2  
Revenue M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 2,008   1,609   1,646  
Operating Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 425.8   229.6   579.1  
Pre-tax Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 400.6   191.4   554.5  
After-tax Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 312.1   188.2   357.7  
EBITDA M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 959.5   645   859.4  
Operating Cash Flow M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 1,158   207.5   68.1  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

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EV - Electric
AV - Autonomous

Personnel

Mine Management

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