South Africa’s Murray & Roberts has announced that its multinational mining platform has secured two new contracts in North America.

Valued at $84m (R1.2bn), the contracts were won by the platform’s Cementation Americas business.

Under the first contract, which is worth $70m, Cementation USA will be responsible for the underground characterisation development and infrastructure project for Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper in the US.

In a statement, Murray & Roberts said: “This initial scope includes lateral development and associated infrastructure works and the award positions Cementation USA well for the potential significant scope growth on this project.”

The second contract will involve the completion of the first phase of the Jansen Potash project in Saskatchewan for BHP Canada. The scope of works will include post liner excavation, steel and equipping the shaft.

The complete project award is expected to value around $170m, subject to a sanction decision.

However, Cementation Canada has received permission to advance with the first work package worth $12m. The company will apply again to deliver the subsequent phases of the project.

Murray & Roberts added: “During the past year, mining companies in the Americas have experienced prolonged Covid-19 impact, creating short-term order book pressure for engineering and contracting companies.

“These awards are evidence of new mining investments returning to the region. The forecast improvement in capital investment in the mining industry is encouraging and considering the platform’s leading global position and growing near term project pipeline, there is good potential for accelerated growth for the group’s mining platform.”