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Key Facts

Commodity Copper - Gold

Nearest Landmark: OJOS DEL SALADO
Distance: 5 Km SW from the nearest Landmark
Latitude: 27° 31' (South)
Longitude: 70° 17' (West)


Satellite Image
Owners Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc - 80%
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd - 20%
Operator Compania Contractual Minera Candelaria

Candelaria: 327 Mlbs copper & 85 koz gold (2011)

Ojos del Salado: 58 Mlbs copper & 16 koz gold (2011)

Deposit Type Iron oxide, copper/gold deposit
Reserves & Resources

Candelaria: 339Mt @ 0.58% copper & 0.13 g/t gold (Dec 31, 2011, recoverable proven and probable reserves)
Ojos del Salado: 6Mt @ 1.0% copper &  0.25g/t (Dec 31, 2011, recoverable proven and probable reserves)

Mine Type Surface and underground
Mining Method Open pit and underground
Processing Method Flotation
Mine Life  
Mining Equipment  46 225mt haul trucks, 26 28mt haul trucks, 6 54mt haul trucks, 6 28 to 43m3 shovels, scoops 
Processing equipment  Crushing, grinding, concentrator
Employees  805 unionized employees (Candelaria)
Contact Information

Miguel Lemeur 680
Casilla 104
Tierra Amarilla, Copiapo,
Phone:+56 (52) 21 88 00


Last updated: May 10, 2012


Candelaria open-pit and underground mines are located 19 km Copiapo in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The property encompasses approximately 5,418 ha, including approximately 200 ha for the port facility in Caldera. The remaining property consists of mineral rights owned by the company in which the surface is not owned but rather controlled consistent with Chilean law.

Processing facilities are located at Copiapó.

Ojos del Salado's mining complex is located approximately 16 km east of Copiapo.

Compañía Minera Ojos del Salado operates the underground copper mines Santos and Alcaparrosa, both of which are near the Candelaria open-pit mine, and also a concentrator.

Ojos del Salado began commercial production in 1929 under the name Planta Punta de Cobre. Phelps Dodge acquired 10% of Ojos del Saladoin 1983, becoming the sole owner in 1985. Sumitomo joined as a partner in 2005. Freeport McMoran acquired Phelps Dodge in 2007 therefore gaining its 80 percent interest in Candelaria and Ojos del Salado.


The 5,416 ha Candelaria mining property is about 12 miles south of Copiapó, in the Third Region of Chile. It also has a port facility, Punta Padrones, in Caldera, about 50 miles northwest from the mine.

The site is accessible by two dirt roads one of them coming off of Route 5 of the International Pan-American Highway.  

Candelaria and Ojos del Salado operations are located in a desert environment and in an active seismic zone.

The Ojos del Salado mining complex (6,397 ha) is located approximately 16 km east of Copiapo adjacent to Candelaria mines.

Geology and Mineralization

 Both the Candelaria and Ojos del Salado minin operations are developing on an iron oxide, copper/gold deposit. Millable primary sulfide mineralization consists of chalcopyrite.

Mining & Operation

The Candelaria operation consists of an open-pit copper mine and a 6,000 metric ton-per-day underground copper mine, which is mined by sublevel stoping, feeding a 75,000 metric ton-per-day concentrator. The open pit mine has been in operation since 1993 while the underground has been in operation since 2005.

On average, open-pit mining operations move 210,000 metric tons of material per day using an available fleet of 46 225−metric ton haul trucks loaded by six shovels with bucket sizes ranging from 28 to 43 cubic meters.

Candelaria's highest bench reaches 675 m in elevation while the ultimate pit bottom would be at 32 m below sea level.

Ojos del Salado's underground mines (Santos and Alcaparrosa) are employing the sublevel stoping mining method as the rocks are competent. Broken ore sourced from stopes is removed by scoops and loaded into an available fleet of 26 28−metric ton trucks, which transport the ore to the surface. The ore from the Santos mine is hauled directly to the Ojos del Salado mill for processing, and the ore from the Alcaparrosa mine is reloaded into six 54−metric ton trucks and hauled seven miles to the Candelaria mill for processing.

Underground mining operations at Ojos del Salado take place in between 500 m above sea level and 150 m above sea level.

Water is also derived from underground sources.


Candelaria equipment include: one crushing plant; and one 75,000 metric ton-per-day concentrator, two modern 16000-HP SAG mills, and four 7500-HP ball mills equipped with synchronous motors.

Copper concentrates are transported by truck to the Punta Padrones port facility located in Caldera, approximately 50 miles northwest of the mine.

Electrical power is supplied by a local company and water is sourced from local aquifers.

The Ojos del Salado operation includes a concentrator and a mill.  Ore from the Santos mine is hauled directly to the Ojos del Salado mill
for processing, and the ore from the Alcaparrosa mine is reloaded and hauled to the Candelaria mine for processing.

The Ojos del Salado mining operation has a capacity of 3,800 tons per day from the Santos underground mine and 4,000 tons ore per day from the Alcaparrosa underground mine. The Ojos del Salado concentrator has the capacity to produce over 30 million pounds of copper and 9,000 ounces of gold per year. Tailings from the Ojos del Salado mill are pumped to the Candelaria tailings facility for final deposition. The Candelaria facility has sufficient capacity for the remaining Ojos del Salado tailings.

Environment & Community

Candelaria mine is now a leader in water conservation, recovery and recycling in all of its processes. It became the first mining operation in the world to certify all of its facilities under ISO 14001 standards.

Candelaria's water supply comes from local aquifers. Because of their depletion in 2010 the company built a pipeline to bring water from a treatment plant, and also began construction of a water desalination plant near the Pacific Ocean.

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Candelaria Suppliers

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Featured Suppliers

Marcotte Mining Machinery Services Inc. Multicrete Systems Inc.

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