Canadian Engineering firm SNC-Lavalin has signed a contract with its 50/50 joint venture partner Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) to develop phase I of the Cerrejon coal mine project in Colombia.

SNC-Lavalin will provide engineering, procurement, construction management and precommissioning services to expand the mine facilities and infrastructure, including rail and port facilities at Puerto Bolivar.

The total project value for phase 1 is over $1bn.

The Cerrejon mine, which currently produces 32 million tons of thermal coal a year for export, is expected to raise its exported volume of coal to 40 million tons a year with a planned future upgrade to increase the total output to 60 million tons a year.