Tenova TAKRAF and Tenova Bateman Technologies—both part of Tenova Mining & Minerals—have been selected to design and deliver a copper ore handling and processing system and a solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant for Minera Antucoya, part of Antofagasta plc.
Antucoya is a copper oxide deposit located in Chile’s Antofagasta region approximately 45 km east of Antofagasta plc’s Michilla mine. Antofagasta’s board approved the Antucoya project in December 2011, and the company subsequently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Marubeni Corp. whereby Marubeni will become a 30% partner in the project for $350 million and a commitment to fund its pro rata share of the development costs of the project. Definitive agreements were signed in April 2012 and the transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2012.
Antucoya will be developed as a conventional open-pit mine that will produce an average of 80,000 mt/y of copper cathode by standard heap-leach processing, and is projected to have a mine life of approximately 20 years. The capital cost of the project is currently estimated at $1.7 billion. The project has current proved and probable ore reserves of 642 million mt of 0.35% Cu, using a cut-off grade of 0.21%.
Tenova’s contracts will include engi- neering, supply of proprietary equipment, construction, training, commissioning and start-up supervision for the delivered facilities. Tenova TAKRAF will provide an agglomeration plant, an on-off leach pad measuring 3,000 m by 800 m and a waste handling system; Tenova Bateman Technologies will supply the SX plant, which will use Bateman’s proprietary reverse-flow mixer-settler (RFMS) technology. That technology is currently being used at several locations in Chile, including Codelco’s Gaby plant and Vale’s Tres Valles plant.
The Minera Antucoya contracts, combined, represent the largest project ever awarded to Tenova Mining & Minerals.