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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: September 9th 2002


:: Codelco smelter to operate on gas from June 2003  

Chile's state copper company Codelco has announced that it has concluded the basic engineering stage of a plan to convert the Caletones smelter to natural gas from diesel at its El Teniente mine.

The smelter is on schedule to partially begin operations with gas on June 1, 2003, and the whole plant should be running on that fuel by the end of 2004, El Teniente spokesperson Rodrigo Rivas told Reuters.

The project is part of El Teniente's environmental clean-up and cost-reduction plan. Natural gas will reduce sulfuric emissions at the smelter and also cut down on operating costs, Rivas said.

GasValpo, owned by the Australian Gas Light Co signed a contract with El Teniente last December to supply the gas for 15 years. The gas comes from Argentina's Neuquen province and is transported via pipeline to central Chile by GasAndes.

The plan also includes the construction of two plants to convert sulfur emissions into sulfuric acid, which will be operational from 2003 and be capable of trapping 92 percent of sulfur emissions.



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