Worker dies in accident at Chile's Codelco site; mining halted
SANTIAGO, March 23
SANTIAGO, March 23 (Reuters) - A worker was crushed to death on Saturday in an accident at Chilean state miner Codelco's Radomiro Tomic open-pit mine, leading to the suspension of mining operations, a company spokeswoman said.
Nelson Barria, 37, was working with heavy machinery when a sudden landslide buried him under rocks and earth.
Barria had worked at Radomiro Tomic since 1998 and leaves behind a widow and two children, aged seven and 11, Codelco said in a statement on its website.
Codelco immediately suspended extractive mining operations following the accident although "plant operation and production" was not affected, the spokeswoman told Reuters.
The company, the world's No. 1 copper producer, is injecting $4.4 billion for development at Radomiro Tomic after finishing an initial expansion phase in 2010. The project is undergoing a feasibility study and is due to be finished by 2017.
The mine's output reached about 313,000 tonnes of copper in the first nine months of last year.
Codelco is pursuing an ambitious, long-term investment plan of roughly $28 billion to boost output at its aging mines. It aims to produce more than 2 million tonnes of the red metal by 2021, a big leap from last year, when it produced less than 1.7 million tonnes.
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