Codelco, the state-owned mining giant, confirmed the occurrence of an electrical accident at its El Teniente mine in central Chile, resulting in one fatality. The incident took place during the installation of a generator at the mine’s Andes Norte expansion project at approximately 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Thursday. The victim, identified as Osvaldo Bustamante Frias, a 29-year-old electrical technician, suffered an electric discharge. Work in the area was immediately halted, and an investigation has been initiated to determine the cause of the accident.
Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, stated that Bustamante Frias was employed by German construction firm Zublin, which had been contracted for work on the Andes Norte project. The Chilean mining regulator has dispatched its national director to the site to commence an investigation.
This incident follows two separate fatal accidents reported by Codelco in July of the previous year, leading to temporary halts in some mining projects. In response to the latest incident, Codelco emphasized the importance of safety and called for improvements in all work carried out, urging strict adherence to safety standards and protocols.
Although heavy rainfall had recently disrupted certain operations at El Teniente due to safety concerns, underground operations and work on the Andes Norte project had continued. In 2022, the mine produced 405,429 metric tons of copper.