Metso sign massive underground mining deal with Codelco

Metso has signed a deal with Codelco to aid the transformation of the enormous Chuquicamata mine in Chile from open cut to underground.

The scope of the contract includes the engineering, supply of equipment and materials, and site assistance for 12 underground crusher stations combined with a conveyor package. The delivery contains 11 new units of Metso’s largest C200 jaw crushers, 24 push feeders and 20 conveyors.

“Overall, the contract constitutes one of the most sizeable crusher orders ever for Metso’s mining business,” Metso said.

A valuation of the deal has not been released.

The project will begin this year and run until 2020.

According to the company, “Metso offered an integrated solution that carried through from engineering, crusher stations, and material handling to electrification, automation, and site assistance. In addition, the energy savings from the company’s Energy Saving Idler (ESI) conveyor technology gave the Metso offering a competitive edge.”

The mine itself is forecast to provide 10 per cent of the world’s copper, and announced plans to move underground in 2012, after it reached a point where trucks had to drive 11 kilometres to reach the surface from the bottom of the pit – all the while hauling lower grade ores.

According to Coldeco, Chuquicamata still has the ability to produce around 308,000 tonnes of copper annually.

It has already started digging more than 1000 kilometres, sinking US3.8 billion into the development.

The mine will also replace its trucks with an in-pit crushing and conveying system.

Mining has been known to take place at the site in one form or another since 550AD.

It is the second deepest mine in the world, after Bingham Canyon, in the U.S.

To see images of the mine’s move underground, click here.

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