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:: Aker Kvaerner Awarded Another Major Copper-Gold Project in Chile
Antofagasta Minerals S.A. (AMSA) has directly negotiated and awarded Aker Kvaerner Metals in Chile an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management contract to develop the Esperanza copper-gold project located in northern Chile. The project's estimated capital investment is valued at USD 1.5 billion. Aker Kvaerner's contract value is approximately USD 35 million for phase I.
Aker Kvaerner conducted the feasibility study and early works studies for the Esperanza project from August 2006 until September 2007. The newly awarded Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EP-CM) contract is the continuation of that former work. The project will be executed in two phases. The first phase will supply Engineering and Procurement, and the second phase will supply Construction Management.
The scope of work for Aker Kvaerner is the design of the facilities for the production of copper concentrates and the Construction of the Early Works from the ore extracted out of the Esperanza deposit. This project will also include in the second phase the mine infrastructure, port facilities, sea water pipeline to feed process plant, a long distance ore pipeline for copper concentrates and the processing plant; Aker Kvaerner has the first option in the award of the second phase.
The Esperanza copper-gold project is located in Antofagasta (Region II) in northern Chile, approximately four kilometres south of the Group's El Tesoro mine, at an elevation of 2 100 metres above sea level. Esperanza is a sulphide deposit which will produce copper concentrate containing gold and silver by-product credits through conventional milling and flotation process. Ore throughput is expected to average 97 000 tonnes per day.
First production is expected at the end of 2010. In its first ten years of operation Esperanza is expected to produce an annual average of approximately 700,000 tonnes of concentrate containing 195 000 tonnes of payable copper, 229 000 ounces of payable gold and 1 556 000 ounces of payable silver. The project is currently going through the normal environmental impact evaluation process by the Chilean authorities.
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