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The board of Chile’s state-owned copper miner, Codelco, has approved a budget of $1.383-billion for the overhaul of its aging Salvador mine, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Construction for the Rajo Inca project that will convert Salvador from an underground mine to an open-cast one will start this year, with an initial 22-month job of stripping away rock covering the mineral deposits, the company said in a statement.It comes the week after a Chilean environmental court approved a $56-million action plan agreed between Codelco and the government to remedy 36 years of Salvador overusing water from the northern Pedernales salt flat. The agreement paved the way for the Rajo Inca project to go ahead.

Codelco said it hoped the overhauled mine could start operations in the second half of 2022 and produce 90,000 tonnes by the first half of 2023.

Salvador has been in operation since 1959 and has the lowest productivity of any of the copper miner’s deposits, producing just 50 600 t, just under 3% of Codelco’s total output, last year.

The project´s cost represents a 35% reduction of the budget originally proposed when the overhaul was announced by Codelco in 2014, a saving achieved through measures including the reuse of machinery from other mines and the overhaul of concentrator and ore extraction plants, Codelco said.