Codelco copper smelter restart delayed: Chile mining minister

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, is seen at their headquarters in downtown Santiago, Chile March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The reactivation of a smelter belonging to Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, will take more time than expected, the country’s mining minister Baldo Prokurica said on Tuesday.

The smelter, halted in December to undergo changes to bring it up to new emissions standards, has had its restart delayed because of issues related to Canadian construction firm SNC-Lavalin, contracted for the project.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc faces a criminal trial in Canada on charges of bribing Libyan officials for contracts between 2001 and 2011.

“(SNC-Lavalin) is a company that has had problems at an international level and the deadline they had was March, which they re-scheduled ... Apparently it is not going to materialize,” the minister told reporters.

“This is going to generate significant losses for the company, some had said $40 million. I had said more than that and it seems that it will be more,” he added.

A representative for Codelco referred Reuters to comments the company made in February saying it believed it can resume the reactivation at the beginning of April and that it has the resources to deliver on its contracts for the year.

Prokurica said he expected an agreement soon on a finish date.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker