It was a challenging year for the mining and metals industry. Declining prices in commodities led to a significant contraction in the resource market, resulting in lower capital expenditures and project delays. The industry is also facing the difficult challenges of establishing affordable access to the energy and water needed to operate mines, and of managing public perception.
Recognizing these pressures, we sought new ways to help our customers streamline processes and reduce costs to best achieve their goals.
Mining & Metals
Bechtel is a global leader in the design, procurement, construction, and project management of natural resource processing facilities and infrastructure. Our expertise includes ferrous, nonferrous, precious, and light metals, as well as industrial metals. We excel at logistically challenging projects, often in remote locations, and help our customers produce everything from aluminum to zinc.
Bechtel has adapted to market changes and customer needs for 117 years. For our mining and metals customers, we broadened our offerings to include industrial water supply systems, power, supporting infrastructure, waste management, and pipelines to help them achieve cost efficiencies and provide a single point of accountability across their projects.
In Peru, we continued construction on a greenfield copper concentrator at Las Bambas, in the Peruvian Andes. This year we applied Six Sigma techniques to improve productivity at the project, and we topped out steel on the grinding structure.
In Chile, our work building the world’s highest-capacity, single-line copper concentrator, at BHP Billiton’s Organic Growth Project 1 (OGP1), is progressing at the Escondida mine in the Atacama Desert. We also began work on a first-of-a-kind water system to desalinate and deliver sustainable freshwater to the mine, which is considered the world’s largest producer of copper, from an ocean intake more than 112 miles (180 kilometers) away.
In central Queensland, Australia, we worked on the final two projects associated with the Brisbane Hub, which was created to facilitate fast, smooth execution of projects for industry leader BHP Billiton. The Caval Ridge Metallurgical Coal project, which is the largest greenfield coal mine in Australia, achieved world-class safety, environmental, and health standards. At the nearby Hay Point Coal Terminal, we continued to make progress on the facility’s expansion. The first coal load took place in December, and the project is expected to be complete in mid-2015. To reduce costs, we employed an innovative modularization approach similar to the one used on Bechtel’s four Australian LNG projects.
We continue to make headway into the aluminum market in the Middle East. The successful completion of a feasibility study in early 2014 led to the award of a contract to build the Shaheen Alumina Refinery Project, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bechtel has worked in the region for more than 70 years and in the UAE for more than 50 years—positioning us well for new mining and metals work needed to support the region’s growing industrialization.
Select 2014 Accomplishments
- Achieved more than 5 million hours without a lost-time incident at the Caval Ridge Mine project, in Australia; 10 million hours on Las Bambas, in Peru; and surpassed 10 million hours on OGP1, in Chile
- Completed the Caval Ridge Metallurgical Coal project four months ahead of schedule and under budget
- Garnered an Award of Merit for Global Best Projects from Engineering News-Record for the Ras Al Khair aluminum smelter, which we completed in 2013
- We will continue to support our customers and adapt to market dynamics. Specifically, we are:
- Working closely with existing customers and partners to develop innovative, more cost-effective ways to best achieve their goals
- Expanding our portfolio to offer customers a suite of services that combines the expertise of Bechtel, including industry water solutions, infrastructure, and energy
- Broadening our customer base and geographic footprint
- Exploring new ways to apply technologies to address customer needs