Phelps Dodge Corporation
Arequipa, Peru

Cerro Verde Primary Sulfide Project (EPCm)

The Cerro Verde Primary Sulfide Project was an expansion of existing processing facilities that extract copper from oxide copper ore using conventional heap leach and SX/EW technology. The concentrator processes sulfide copper ore from existing mining pits approximately tripling annual production at the site from 100,000 tonnes of copper to 300,000 tonnes (complementing Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde (SMCV's) existing copper SX/EW processing facilities). Copper recovery is achieved with multistage flotation technology with regrinding of middling products. Molybdenum recovered with the copper concentrate is separated in a multistage molybdenum flotation circuit. Nominal copper and molybdenum concentrate production is approximately 2,400 and 15 tonnes per day, respectively.

Fluor's scope included all process facilities, expansion of existing utilities, ancillary facility, and construction management of the tailings disposal facility. The project was completed three weeks ahead of schedule and within 2 percent of Fluor's feasibility study estimate.

Client's Challenge

The Client needed the flotation tailing to be thickened to flow – by gravity – to a tailing impoundment area. The tailing was classified and the coarse fraction used to raise the embankment of the tailing impoundment. Water in the impoundment returned to the processing facilities. The fresh water system was expanded from 100 l/s to 1000 l/s and comprised an 11-kilometer overland pipeline with three pump stations.

A new 220-kV power line with associated switch yards at both ends of the line was installed to provide dedicated power to the new processing facilities. The new ancillary facilities for the processing facilities included supervisory and operation personnel offices, change houses, first aid facilities, maintenance shop, and warehouse.

Fluor's Solution

Fluor provided a feasibility study, engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCm) services for developing a 108,000 tonnes-per-day copper concentrator for SMCV S.A.A., at a mine near Arequipa, Peru. The project achieved mechanical completion 27 months after the start of permanent construction ─ considered the fastest construction completion of a major concentrator.

The project was constructed safely as well, achieving 5 million consecutive work hours without a lost-time incident (with an overall low 0.07 lost-time incident rate during 15.2 million total construction hours).



The new copper concentrator is currently in operation, complete with high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR units) ─ the first installation of HPGRs in the copper industry. The materials handling system involves primary and secondary crushers, HPGR units and crushing, mill grinding, screening, and conveying systems.

Fluor's expertise in comminution was vital to successfully integrate these systems during design and construction. Engineering and procurement services for the project were provided from Fluor's Vancouver, Canada, office and the company's offices in Lima, Peru, and Santiago, Chile, led the construction management operations for the project.