Building on more than a 20-year partnership to deliver copper in the Chilean Andes
Antofagasta Minerals (AMSA) is one of the world’s largest copper producers. We are currently helping our customer to sustain its production level at the Los Pelambres mine in Chile, while reducing the environmental impact, establishing long-term relationships with neighboring communities, empowering local socioeconomic development and promoting the development of the local labor force.
Bechtel built the original copper concentrator at Chile's Los Pelambres Mine, located approximately 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Santiago, 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 concentrator's capacity by 20 percent from 132,000 metric tons per day to 159,000 metric tons per day.
In early 2019, Bechtel began construction of the INCO MLP project at Los Pelambres.
Inside the INCO MLP project
The project considers EPC direct hire for a concentrator plant expansion, a desalinated water plant and a water pipeline.
The concentrator expansion includes the addition of a grinding line with a SAG mill and a ball mill, a flotation line and the expansion of the existing stockpile to increase throughput by 40,000 tonnes per day.
The project includes a water system with a 106-gallon per second (400 liters per second) desalinated water production system, a 40-mile (65 kilometers) and 24-inch desalinated water transport system with one pumping station and the upgrade of an existing 32-inch reclaim water system.
The scope also includes three camps and a 23-kV power line.
One of AMSA's main focuses is water efficiency, specifically to reduce continental water consumption and increase seawater usage. To transport water from the ocean to the site, Bechtel is building a desalination plant and pipeline that will also benefit the existing operation in cases of prolonged or severe drought, a marine intake structure and electrical substations to supply power to the water pipeline. Once finished, Los Pelambres’ water treatment facilities will filter 106 gallons (400 liters) of water per second. This expansion project obtained Chile's first certified green loan for its construction.
Bechtel's work in Los Pelambres has contributed to fulfilling another of AMSA's focuses of promoting local employment, achieving that 58 percent of the project's employees are from the Coquimbo region, where the works are located. They are joined by numerous local general services, hotels, transport and food companies, which have been able to benefit as providers of the project.
The working teams for the original Los Pelambres, Repowering I and II 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).