Fluor's scope of work required the construction of 30 miles of new underground labyrinth. Thirteen miles of tunnels, drifts, cross-cuts and connections were driven horizontally, and 11 miles of finger raises, ore passes, shafts and inclines were raised and sunk vertically. Fluor also constructed the six-mile-long Teniente 8 railway tunnel. Nearly 850,000 cubic yards of rock were excavated.
Fluor engineered and constructed two large-bore “elevator” shafts and installed hoisting equipment in a third. The Sewell Shaft transported workers and material from the Teniente 8 railroad tunnel. It was estimated that approximately 100 million tons of ore, 100 tons of freight and 900,000 passenger round trips were carried by the Teniente railroad annually.
Project success relied heavily on Fluor’s mining expertise. The project team conducted computer studies covering piston effect, horsepower requirements and high-density traffic patterns to select optimum tunnel section and gradients and the size and speeds of the several types of trains to be used.
Fluor also overcame extreme weather conditions during construction. Logistics to provide supplies for the workers were slowed by snow, and driving the railroad tunnel was delayed by a flood that caused more than 6,500 cubic yards of debris to fall into the hole.