Operator BHP originally selected Bechtel to replace the Escondida mine’s Los Colorados concentrator with a new facility - Organic Growth Project 1 or OGP1 - adjacent to the Laguna Seca concentrator.
The original scope included decommissioning and demolishing Los Colorados, and building the new plant to access higher-grade ore beneath the existing facilities. However, the mine’s owners subsequently decided to refurbish and restart Los Colorados. Thanks to revised mine planning, the higher-grade ore can be accessed without demolishing the concentrator.
With capacity of 152,000 metric tons per day, OGP1 is the largest single-line unit ever built. While executing a project at an elevation of 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) in one of the world’s driest deserts presents many challenges, it did not prevent Bechtel from successfully completing OGP1. We have performed considerable work there in the past, including a billion-dollar 110-percent expansion between 1998 and 2002.