The 12 Mt/y Phu Kham Copper-Gold deposit is located in a remote, mountainous site approximately 100 km north east of the Laos capital Vientiane and contains a mineral resource of 1.2 million tonnes of copper and 1.5 million ounces of gold.
The Phu Kham Copper-Gold Project was the second development phase of the Phu Kham deposit and uses a conventional process technology followed by flotation to produce a copper-precious metal concentrate.
Ausenco was retained to provide EPCM services for a 12 Mt/y copper concentrator and develop the process facilities for the project while the client was responsible for the general infrastructure and bulk earthworks.
Project solutions and approach
The project achieved a benchmark as the lowest capital cost/tonne production, with the design employing the following cost-effective design principles:
- Compact footprint
- Bulk materials sourced from South East Asia
- Simple layout
- Use of site terrain to minimize pumping and maximize access
- Limited use of pipe racks
- Short service runs e.g. pipe and cable
- Use of a tower crane for construction and subsequent plant maintenance;
- Modular design in selected areas
Outcomes and achievements
- 3 million man hours worked without a single LTI
- 3,400 personnel with 90% local Thai and Lao labour employed during construction period
- Lowest capital cost/tonne production copper concentrator
- Excellent safety record with over 3 million-man hours and 0 LTIs;
- Peak construction workforce of 3400 personnel with 90% local Thai and Lao labour employed during construction period;
- Logistics and freight tasks were successfully executed throughout the monsoon wet season;
- Completed on schedule and on budget.