We have working on a smelter expansion project at Miami operations which will increase copper production and also comply with new EPA standards. Upon completion of the project, the copper concentrate throughput for the smelter will increase by approximately 30 percent to a capacity of 900,000 tons per year from the current average of 700,000 tons per year. The expanded smelter capabilities will comply with the new EPA ambient air quality standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
A major component of the project is to install a new smelting vessel which, along with modifications to other facilities in the smelter, will allow for increased copper production. Much of the construction work will be related to emission control systems in order to capture virtually all fugitive gases and particulate emissions. The result will capture over 99 percent of the SO2 and other emissions from the Miami operations.
The additional concentrate to feed the expanded smelter will come primarily from Morenci and our Chino (New Mexico) operations. The smelter will continue to be base loaded with concentrate from the Company’s Sierrita and Bagdad mines.