Client: Minera Lumina Copper Chile (MLCC)
Location: Andes Mountains of Central Chile
Minera Lumina Caserones Copper Project
Fluor performed engineering, procurement, and construction management services for facilities, utilities and offsites, and mine-related infrastructure at the Caserones Copper project in Chile. The Caserones mine produces copper concentrate, copper cathodes and molybdenum concentrate from an open mine operation.
The mine is approximately 4,000 meters above sea level (masl), and during construction Fluor took every precaution to monitor the effects of the altitude and cold environment on workers.
The Fluor and Caserones project team achieved its first milestone in March 2013, when the solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant produced its first copper electrode. As a result, the SX/EW plant is now operational, and afterwards the team refocused its energy on the next major goal, which was to place the first ton of ore into the future concentrator by the end of 2013, marking the completion of a fully functioning and operating SX/EW and concentrator plant.
In October of 2013 the project achieved another milestone, 7 million hours worked without a lost time incident per OSHA regulations.
The Caserones Project is located 162 kilometers to the southeast of Copiapó, in the third Region of Atacama, and 800 kilometers to the north of Santiago. It is inside a mining zone measuring 42,555 hectares.
The mineral reserves of the project total 1,047 million tons of sulfides with an average copper grade of 0.34 percent and 126 ppm of molybdenum in a mine that is at a maximum altitude of 4,600 masl. The ore is mined in an open pit and the facilities include a concentrator plant (Primary Crusher and Milling and Flotation Circuits) to produce copper and molybdenum concentrates. The concentrator plant is located in the Caserones Ravine between an altitude of 3,810 and 4,100 masl.
The ore is crushed in the primary gyratory crusher and carried to a coarse mineral stockpile near the milling plant. A SAG mill of 40-foot diameter with an installed capacity of 32,000 HP is used for milling as well as two ball mills of 27-foot diameter, each with an installed capacity of 27,000 HP. A total of 3,141 million tons of fine copper in concentrates and 86,440 tons of molybdenum fines will be produced during the useful life of the future operation, estimated to be 28 years.
Leachable reserves total 336 million tons with an average copper grade of 0.3 percent. They are treated at a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plant (located to the east of the Concentrator Plant, in the upper sector of the Caserones Ravine). Copper cathodes are produced by PLS solution processing at the Dump Leach. The dump leach is estimated to produce around 411,000 tons of copper cathodes over a period of 25 years.
Fluor performed engineering, procurement, and construction management for the $1.9 billion copper mining project. The scope included mine-related infrastructure such as the copper flotation processing plant, which has a marketable output of 3.6 million tons of fine copper and 87 kilotons of molybdenum.
The project site is approximately 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level, and Fluor emphasized the importance of knowing the human reaction to altitude and cold.
The Caserones copper mine project was completed in 2013. At peak, construction employed approximately 7,000 local workers. The mine is expected to process around 105,000 tons per day of primary and secondary copper ore to meet increasing demand, particularly in the Asian market.
Production of copper cathodes began in late 2012; copper and molybdenum concentrate, in late 2013.
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