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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

High altitude reclamation at the Antamina Mine, Peru Riehm, Derek J., 1960-; Marticorena, Marco


The Antamina copper-zinc mine reached commercial production in late 2001 after a two-and-one-half year construction and startup window. The open pit mine, mined rock dumps, low-grade ore stockpiles, froth flotation concentrator, tailings impoundment, maintenance facilities and a 1,500 person camp are located at an altitude of 4,200 metres (13,800 feet) above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, 250 km north of Lima. Over the course of an operating life of at least 23 years, some 1,700 ha of land surface will be disturbed by project development, of which approximately 770 ha will be revegetated as part of the mine closure. Although the project is not (yet) subject to regulatory requirements regarding closure and rehabilitation, these considerations have been addressed during project planning, design and execution. This is consistent with the requirements of the environmental policies of the project sponsors and is in part driven by the requirements of international lending agencies. Antamina's reclamation program was initiated in 1999 and includes a yearly campaign of progressive reclamation that, to date, has successfully reclaimed over 130 ha of land at the minesite and 270 ha along the mine access road. In addition, under the project's loan agreements, a series of revegetation trials has been initiated to establish criteria for successful post-closure reclamation. A relatively mild climate, seasonally abundant rainfall and a plentiful supply of cheap labor facilitate reclamation activities that would be impossible in Canada at high altitudes; but reclamation in the high Andes is not without its challenges. This paper describes Antamina's reclamation programs and some of the successes and challenges to date.

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