Chile produces about a third of the word's copper.
Bechtel built the original copper concentrator at Chile's Los Pelambres Mine, north of Santiago and east of Salamanca, between 1996 and 1999.
In 2001, we returned to add a $40 million pebble crusher and followed that by installing additional conveying, grinding, and flotation equipment.
Bechtel's fourth Los Pelambres project, the Repower II expansion, increased the capacity of the mine's concentrator by 20 percent, from 132,000 metric tons per day to 159,000 metric tons per day.
Inside the project
One of the bigger challenges was finding enough space to temporarily store material for a plant that would contain more than 3,600 metric tons of steel in an area the size of a football field and about 13 stories tall. At the mine site, high in the Chilean Andes, flat land wasn't readily available, and crews created it by carving away hillsides.
The laydown areas for storage at Los Pelambres were between 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) and 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) from the mine.
The project team achieved an excellent safety record and earned safety performance honors for contractors completing more than a million job hours without a lost-time incident from Chile's National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin).
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