Zaldívar is located in the Andean Precordillera in Region II of northern Chile, approximately 1,400 kilometers north of Santiago and 175 kilometers southeast of the port city of Antofagasta. The mine lies at an average elevation of 3,000 meters.
Zaldívar is an open-pit, heap-leach copper mine. Pure cathode copper is produced by three stages of crushing and stacking, followed by heap leaching and bacterial activity to remove the copper from the ore. Run-of-mine dump leach material is placed on the old sulphide ore pad and leached.
Zaldívar produced 279 million pounds of copper in 2013 at C1 cash costs of $1.60 per pound1 and C3 fully allocated costs of $1.94 per pound1. Proven and probable copper reserves as at December 31, 2013, were 6.0 billion pounds2.
Production at Zaldívar is anticipated to decrease in 2014 with fewer ore tons mined and processed in line with the mine plan. Production will also be impacted by lower recoveries as the mine processes a higher percentage of secondary sulfide material. C1 cash costs are expected to increase as a result of the impact of lower production on unit costs.