Codelco awards Acciona-led consortium $200 million of Chuquicamata underground works

Codelco, the Chilean copper mining giant, has awarded a consortium led by Acciona the infrastructure development works for the Chuquicamata Underground mine. The contract, valued at $200 million, covers various excavation, fortification and ancillary works, including more than 31 km of tunnels at the various levels of the mine and some 40,000 m3 of major excavations. Chuquicamata was the largest open pit deposit in the world, but is now operating as an underground mining complex, which has extended its life by 40 years.

The new works awarded to the consortium led by Acciona have an expected execution period of three and a half years, a period in which it is estimated that around 1,000 jobs will be created. “From 2012 to date, we have made available to Codelco all of Acciona’s global experience in the execution of underground works, contributing with a great team of professionals, high safety standards, technical excellence and a vocation for innovation and sustainability, which has allowed us to achieve excavation performances that are among the best in the industry for initiatives of this magnitude,” said Diego Pini, Acciona’s Infrastructure Director for Conosur (the Southern Cone region).

Acciona has extensive experience in the execution of mining tunnels in Chile. Between 2012 and 2017, the company actively participated in the execution of various works for the conversion of Chuquicamata to underground exploitation, through the execution of about 25 km of ventilation tunnels and 800 m of vertical raises and ore passes.

Additionally, in Codelco’s Andina Division, Acciona participated in the new Mine-Plant Transfer System project where it excavated and fortified the Haulage III tunnel, excavating 10.5 km of tunnels, vertical development, caverns, and other tasks underground.