Rex Minerals has selected Korea-based Hyundai and AMEC to perform early contractor involvement (ECI) engineering for the Hillside copper project on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction (HDEC), Hyundai Rotem Company (HRC) and AMEC’s business in Australia will work on the project.

Hyundai and AMEC will produce the project execution strategy, project schedule and the final price for the main engineering, procurement and construction contract.

Rex Minerals plans to seek part of the project debt funding from the financial institutions in Korea, with the support of HDEC and HRC.

Rex Minerals managing director Mark Parry said that the company was progressing a number of important project development and funding initiatives for Hillside, to start construction and to produce copper by 2016.

"We have a very busy period ahead of us with a number of project elements to be brought together and crystallised," Parry said.

"We continue to work towards finalising the bankable feasibility study, we are working closely with the state government to secure regulatory approvals, and we have a range of ongoing discussions to secure debt and equity funding, including with potential offtake partners and export credit agencies."

Rex Minerals has a mineral resource estimate for Hillside as of June 2013, of 337mt at 0.6% copper, 0.14g/t of gold and 15.7% iron, for a copper equivalent grade of 0.9%.

The company said this equates to 2mt of copper, 1.5 million ounces of gold and 54mt of iron-ore, confirming the Hillside deposit as one of Australia’s largest copper discoveries in the last ten years.