Home » Centinela Copper Mine Announces $4.4 Billion Expansion

Centinela Copper Mine Announces $4.4 Billion Expansion

Project to Create Thousands of Jobs in Northern Chile

by Victor Adetimilehin

Chilean copper mining giant Antofagasta is embarking on a major expansion of its Centinela copper mine located in northern Chile. The ambitious project, valued at $4.4 billion, involves the construction of a new concentrator plant and is expected to create thousands of jobs in the region.

Focus on Efficiency and Risk Management

David Bayona, manager of the Centinela mine, recently addressed a conference hosted by the Institute of Mining Engineers of Peru. During his presentation, Bayona shed light on the project’s unique employment scheme. The expansion will utilize an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model. This approach assigns specific project tasks to specialized contractors, ensuring expertise and streamlining project execution.

According to Bayona, the EPC model offers several advantages compared to the more commonly used Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) model. The EPC approach minimizes risks for the owner (in this case, Antofagasta) by placing responsibility for specific project aspects with qualified contractors. In contrast, the EPCM model functions more as a professional service agreement, with the contractor focusing on detailed engineering, procurement, and construction management tasks.

Unique 14-14 Work Schedule for Construction Workers

The new concentrator plant, with a daily capacity of 95,000 tonnes, is targeted for completion within three years. While the project currently employs around 2,000 workers, this number is expected to surge to 11,000 at peak construction. To effectively manage this large workforce, the project will implement a novel 14-14 work schedule.

This innovative system divides the workers into two groups. Each group will work on-site for two consecutive weeks, followed by a two-week break. This approach aims to create a healthy work-life balance for employees by ensuring sufficient rest and recovery time.

The completion of the new concentrator is anticipated to significantly enhance Centinela’s production capacity. The mine is projected to yield an additional 144,000 tonnes of copper concentrate, 130,000 ounces of gold, and 3,500 tonnes of molybdenum annually. This translates to a 300,000-tonne increase in Antofagasta’s overall annual copper output, solidifying the company’s position as a major player in the global copper market.

The project is expected to generate significant economic benefits for the region. The creation of thousands of jobs will provide a welcome boost to the local economy. Additionally, the project is likely to stimulate infrastructure development in the surrounding area.

Challenges and Considerations

While the expansion project presents exciting opportunities, there are also challenges to consider. The success of the EPC model hinges on the careful selection of qualified contractors with proven experience in large-scale mining projects. Effective communication and collaboration between Antofagasta and the contractors will be crucial for ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget.

The implementation of the 14-14 work schedule also presents logistical considerations. Ensuring a smooth handover between work crews and maintaining a constant flow of materials will be essential for maintaining productivity. Additionally, the well-being of the workers throughout the project cycle will be paramount. Providing adequate support services and ensuring adherence to safety regulations will be crucial for a successful project.

The Centinela copper mine expansion project represents a significant investment in Chile’s mining sector. The innovative work schedule offers a potential model for future large-scale projects, aiming to improve work-life balance for construction workers. With careful planning and execution, the project has the potential to create significant economic benefits for the region, solidify Antofagasta’s position in the global copper market, and serve as a model for responsible and sustainable mining practices.

Source: Mining.com


You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.