Xstrata Copper selected Hatch to produce a prefeasibility study for the El Morro copper-gold mine project in north-central Chile as part of the staged program to complete the evaluation of the property.
The deposit is located east of the coastal town of Vallenar in the Andes Mountains at an elevation of 4,200 meters. The El Morro property encompasses three separate mineralized zones known as El Morro, La Fortuna and El Negro. The study focused on the porphyry-style La Fortuna deposit.
The prefeasibility study was completed in January 2007. Hatch completed prefeasibility level engineering for the core process facilities, as well as coordinated the work of specialist consultants and incorporated their work into the final study report.
In a separate project, Hatch was also responsible for the prefeasibility study evaluation of desalinated water supply for the El Morro site, including:
- Producing technical specifications for the desalinated water plant systems, RFQ and layout
- Reviewing existing sea-current studies, bathymetry studies and water quality analysis
- Defining locations for raw seawater intake and brine discharge pipelines
- Evaluating the effects on the metallurgical process based on a review of water and chloride balances
- Defining the implementation schedule
- Producing a capital and operating cost estimate within ±20% accuracy