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Bechtel to Design and Build Complex Water System for Desert Copper Mine in Chile

SANTIAGO - December 12, 2013

System Will Deliver Sustainable Water Supply for Escondida Mine



Bechtel has been selected by BHP Billiton to provide engineering, project management, and construction services for a system that will bring a sustainable water supply to the Escondida copper mine in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The project includes construction of a seawater desalination plant at the Caleta Coloso port and the piping and electrical infrastructure needed to transport the water to the mine, 114 miles (185 kilometers) away and 10,170 feet (3,100 meters) above sea level. The mine is operated by Minera Escondida, in which BHP Billiton owns a majority stake.

“This an important project that’s quite complex given the distance between the port and the mine combined with the mine’s remote location and high altitude—not to mention the Atacama's being the world’s driest hot desert,” said  José Ivo, general manager of Bechtel’s Mining & Metals business in the  Americas. “We will draw on our extensive engineering, pipeline, and power experience as well as our knowledge of local geographic conditions to work with Minera Escondida to safely deliver a world-class water system.”

Bechtel will construct  the seawater desalination plant. In addition, the company will undertake the engineering and construction of  two 42-inch-diameter pipelines that will run between the port and the mine and the related infrastructure, which includes four high-pressure pumping stations, associated electrical substations, and 70 miles (114 kilometers) of high-voltage transmission lines along the pipeline route. Bechtel also will provide  construction management services for the marine works associated with the project.

This project extends Bechtel’s long-standing practice of delivering complex projects in Latin America. The company has worked on more than 200 mining projects in the region since 1951, including the recent Los Bronces, Antapaccay, and Los Pelambres copper mines.

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Bechtel is one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies. Together with our customers, we deliver landmark projects that foster long-term progress and economic growth. Since 1898, we’ve completed more than 25,000 extraordinary projects across 160 countries on all seven continents. We operate through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals. Our company and our culture are built on more than a century of leadership and a relentless adherence to our values, the core of which are safety, quality, ethics, and integrity. These values are what we believe, what we expect, what we deliver, and what we live.  www.bechtel.com