Building on a 15-year partnership to deliver copper in the Chilean Andes

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.

Image Library

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 Andes, flat land was not readily available, so crews created space by carving away hillsides.

As a result, the laydown areas for storage were located between 1.25 and 8.5 miles (2 to 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).

A Look Inside