Silver producer Bear Creek Mining has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract to GMI for its santa ana project in Southern Peru.

The Santa Ana project covers an area of 54km² and is located 140km south of the city of Puno, and 8km south of the paved highway connecting to the port of Ilo on the Pacific Coast.

GMI plans to begin construction on the project at the end of 2011, with silver production to start by the end of 2012.

The firm will complete detailed engineering and lead-time equipment procurement on a fast-track basis for the construction.

The firm will require approval of the Environmental and social impact assessment from the Peruvian authorities for the new mine.

Proven and probable mineral reserves at the deposit total 63.2 million ounces of silver.