El Abra Mine

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

Did you Know?  During 2011, El Abra commenced production from its sulfide ores, which is replacing the depleting oxide copper production. We are also engaged in pre-feasibility studies for a potential large-scale milling operation at El Abra to process additional sulfide material and to achieve higher recoveries. Exploration results at El Abra have identified a significant additional sulfide resource.

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, 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% Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO)