Canada-based Teck Resources has received regulatory approval from SENACE, Peru’s National Service of Environmental Certification for Sustainable Investments, for the Zafranal copper project in Peru.

Zafranal is a highly competitive, mid-sized copper-gold development project located in the porphyry copper belt in the Arequipa region, southern Peru.

The deposit is owned by Compañía Minera Zafranal (CMZ), in which the Canadian mining company owns an 80% stake and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) owns the remaining 20% stake.

With an expected mine life of 19 years, Zafranal will produce copper-gold concentrates through an open-pit mining and conventional concentration process.

A concentrator plant with up to 80,000 tonnes per day of processing capacity will carry out copper ore processing, including crushing, grinding, flotation, thickening and filtering.

The mine and concentrator are expected to produce an average of 133,000 tonnes of copper contained in the concentrate during its first five years of production.

Teck CEO Jonathan Price said: “Regulatory approval of the Zafranal Project is an important step forward in our strategy to grow our copper business and unlock significant value for shareholders.

“Zafranal will be a low-cost, long-life operation, and is a key part of Teck’s industry-leading pipeline of high-quality, low-cost copper assets in well-established mining jurisdictions in the Americas.”

In June 2019, Australian engineering company Ausenco completed a feasibility study of the Zafranal Project, which was updated in January 2020 to include engineering updates.

Teck said that its team will update project capital and operating cost estimates and will develop detailed engineering plans, along with minor permitting activities at Zafranal, through this year.

The project is expected to reach a formal project sanction decision as early as the first half of 2024.

The regulatory approval for the Zafranal project is part of its strategy to advance its industry-leading Copper Growth portfolio in a timely and prudent manner, said the Canadian mining company.