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Electrical accident at Chile’s El Teniente copper mine leaves one dead

Electrical accident at Chile's El Teniente copper mine leaves one dead
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A LHD electric loader starts to operate inside the Codelco El Teniente copper mine, the world’s largest underground copper mine, near Rancagua, Chile, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Natalia Ramos/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – An electrical accident at Codelco’s El Teniente mine in central Chile, the company’s largest mine, left one dead, the state-owned mining giant said in a statement on Thursday.

Codelco said the accident happened at the mine’s Andes Norte expansion project at about 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) when Osvaldo Bustamante Frias, a 29-year-old electrical technician, suffered an electric discharge during the installation of a generator.

The company said work in the area was immediately halted and started an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

State-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said the technician was employed by German construction firm Zublin, which had been contracted to work on the Andes Norte project.

Chile’s mining regulator announced the death earlier on Thursday and said its national director had been dispatched to the site to begin an investigation.

Last July, Codelco reported two separate, fatal accidents that prompted it to temporarily halt some mining projects.

“The company reiterates its call to improve safety as an essential aspect of any work we carry out,” Codelco said in a statement, urging those who work on its facilities to respect safety standards and protocols.

Parts of El Teniente’s mining operations had been halted recently due to recent torrential rainfall, but underground operations and work on the Andes Norte project continued.

The mine produced 405,429 metric tons of copper in 2022.

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