Authors: Navarrete, R; Soto, C; Henriquez, F; Godoy, H

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Navarrete, R, Soto, C, Henriquez, F & Godoy, H 2022, 'Hydraulic fracturing in the construction of Andes Norte Project', in Y Potvin (ed.), Caving 2022: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Block and Sublevel Caving, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 1227-1240,

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After 117 years of existence, Codelco’s flagship El Teniente mine aims to expand its service life by more than 50 years, increasing the deposit taking advantage of Andes Norte Project (PAN, in Spanish). The Project amounts to 2,020 billion tons of reserves, with an average copper grade of 0.86% and an average molybdenum grade of 0.022%, which is translated – within a period of operation through 50 years beginning in 2018 – into more than 17 million tons of fine copper. The Project configuration considers mining through the panel caving, with 100% of the area preconditioned with hydraulic fracturing (HF) and a levels scheme, typical of El Teniente mine site: undercutting level (UCL), production level, ventilation level, haulage level and crushing level. This document provides a foundation from the results obtained in the preconditioning activities carried out through HF in the PAN, run by the Project’s Vicepresidency (VP), in El Teniente Division, Codelco Chile. The scope of this work considers the development of ascending and descending drillholes and their subsequent preconditioning through HF, applied to the footprint zone. The objective was initiating caving and its propagation. It includes a description of the HF operation development, the stresses resulting from its development, as well as lessons learned and some problems solved during its application. This paper has been written by the construction engineering team that led the development.

Keywords: hydraulic fracturing, Andes Norte Project

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