A joint venture involving Fluor has secured a contract for BHP’s Spence Growth Option (SGO) project at the Spence open-cut copper mine in northern Chile.

Under the contract, Fluor and its JV partner SalfaCorp are required to offer engineering, procurement and construction services for the project.

Work to be undertaken by the 50/50 JV includes delivery of the 95,000tpd copper concentrator.

Fluor Mining and Metals business president Tony Morgan said: “Our team has worked closely with BHP since the project’s initial phases to align on the project’s goals and structure with an execution approach that will allow us to safely deliver this important project.

“Fluor’s resume includes some of the world’s most significant copper projects.”

“Fluor’s resume includes some of the world’s most significant copper projects. This experience, combined with our integrated solutions approach, brings cost and execution certainty to the project.”

The Spence project, which is located in the Atacama Desert, produced 174,000t of copper cathode during the previous fiscal year, using oxide and sulphide ore treatment through leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning processes.

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In August, BHP approved capital expenditure of $2.46bn for the SGO project in a move said to increase the life of the Spence mine by more than 50 years.

The project is expected to add 185,000tpa of payable copper in concentrate and 4,000tpa of payable molybdenum in the first ten years of operation, with the first production scheduled for the 2021 financial year.