Anglo American Taps Bechtel for Los Bronces Expansion

Bechtel Corp. announced on December 7 that it has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract to execute Anglo American’s Los Bronces development project. Work on the $1.7 billion project started immediately following the announcement, according to Bechtel, and the project is scheduled to be completed in December 2010 with production commencing in January 2011. The project is expected to result in a mine life of more than 30 years.

The Los Bronces mine is located 65 km from Santiago, Chile, and the existing operations comprise a mine, a 58,000 metric tons per day (mt/d) copper concentrator, and two solvent extraction and electro- winning plants.

Los Bronces Project Highlights
• Capex $1.744 billion (nominal)
• Expansion will increase ore throughput from current 61,000 mt/d to 148,000 mt/d
• Average production of copper will increase by 170,000 mt/y over initial 10 years
and 120,000 mt/y over the LOM
• Start-up is forecast for Q1 2011
• Brownfields expansion—mining and metallurgy of the orebody are well known
• Negotiations over a new power supply contract complete
• LOM is greater than 30 years with significant exploration upside potential
• Fully permitted

Source: The Los Bronces Development Project, presentation, Nov. 28, 2007.

The Los Bronces development project will increase daily throughput by 87,000 mt/d by adding a new concentrator facility at Confluencia and Tórtolas II, both sites nearby the existing plant facilities. The scope of the new plant includes crushing and conveying, grinding and flotation circuits utilizing the largest proven equipment to maximize operating efficiency, plus concentrate regrind and a molybdenum plant.

Project management, engineering and procurement will be executed by Bechtel for 70% of the project and direct hire construction will be executed through a joint venture of Bechtel and Sigdo Koppers (BSK), which will provide the direct hire labor and supervision.

The Las Bronces development is the first stage in Anglo American's pipeline of copper expansion projects which aims to increase copper production to approximately 1.7 million mt/y by 2016. In addition, Anglo American’s Base Metals division is currently progressing the $1.2-billion Barro Alto nickel project in Brazil which will also double total group nickel production by 2011.

Other Anglo American projects include Collahuasi (four potential projects: two debottlenecking and two sulphide leach, at an estimated total capital cost $3.2 billion); Quellaveco (potential production of 200,000 mt/y Cu over 26 year mine life, capital cost $1.7 billion, revised feasibility study under way, development decision expected in the second half of 2008; Michiquillay (company estimates five years to complete the feasibility study with production commencing 2015); Pebble (a 50:50 partnership with Northern Dynasty for a staged investment of $1.4 billion, potential production levels of more than 300,000 mt/y Cu and 500,000 oz/y Au, ramping up from 2015); Jacare (nickel, capital cost $1.2 billion or more, drilling is ongoing).

As featured in Womp 07 Vol 9 -