Image: Mantoverde: Capital-efficient design for a world-class copper project

Minerals & Metals2 min read

Mantoverde: Capital-efficient design for a world-class copper project

Chañaral, Atacama Region, Chile
Capstone Copper
2021 – 2024

With proven experience delivering cost-effective projects under lumpsum EPC contracts, Ausenco was selected to lead the engineering, procurement, construction, and production ramp-up to nameplate for a copper concentrator plant and related infrastructure - including the expansion of the desalination plant and the tailings dam - at the Mantoverde Development Project in Chile.

The Challenge

This world-class project in the Atacama region represents a strategic development in the global copper market. It is one of two primary projects Mantos Copper currently has underway in the region, focused on increasing production, reducing costs, and extending the life of its current operations.

Mantos Copper sought a partner who had the right experience and innovation to deliver a 31,600 t/day copper concentrator plant and all related infrastructure to support and enable expanded operations with guaranteed performance and price certainty.

The Better Way

Challenging earlier iterations of the concentrator plant design, our team found a better way to achieve cost efficiencies by relocating the primary crusher, redesigning the stockpile reclaim tunnel, revising tailings handlings, and optimizing grinding and flotation processes.

By reducing earthworks excavation requirements and the overall plant footprint and building heights, we were able to reduce capital and operating costs for Mantos Copper. Our efficient and optimised design is expected to reduce the environmental impact of the project including reduced carbon emissions.

Drawing on our global expertise we assembled the strongest and most efficient team to support the 36-month project during its development. The project will be led from our Chile office of more than 650 employees with the support of our technical experts located in Australia and Canada.

Redefining what’s possible, we look forward to safely delivering an exceptional project to Mantos Copper and all of its stakeholders. Upon completion in 2024, Mantoverde will produce 110,000 t/y of copper and 33,000 oz/y of gold during the first 7 years of the project’s 20 year life.

Status (as of July 2022)

Currently, 190 Ausenco team members are on the project – 100 in our Santiago office and 90 on-site. Engineering work is nearing completion in the Santiago office and the manufacturing of the mechanical equipment for the main process plant is nearly complete, and in various stages of transportation to site. All camp facilities are constructed, and the total site workforce is 1,200 people.

Bulk earthworks are well progressed. All areas for the construction of the main process plant were delivered to the primary construction contractors. Approximately 3,656m3 of concrete was poured in the dry area and 5,062m3 in the wet area; concrete works in the truck shop has also begun.

In July, the mechanical preassembly of the column and flotation cells began, with structural and mechanical works underway in the desalination plant. More than 450,000m3 of excavation has been completed in the tailings storage facility and approximately 190,000m3 of fill material has been placed.