The El Morro project is a greenfield copper and gold operation consisting of an open-pit mine and the crushing, milling and flotation facilities for processing 90,000 tons per day of sulfur ore. Most significant infrastructure facilities included a thickened tailings disposal, a concentrate pipeline, a filtering plant, access roads, as well as a power transmission system, a desalination plant, and 200 km of both 30-inch water conveyance pipes and 6-inch concentrate pipes.
Hatch developed the CAPEX and OPEX during the feasibility study executed in 2011. During 2012 effort was focused on developing the execution plan for the full implementation of the project. Works in 2013 focused on supporting the client to study different alternatives to redefine the project and optimize the construction period since environmental permits from third parties have been delayed.
Hatch provided basic and detailed engineering as well as procurement support for different facilities such as:
- Power transmission
- Desalination plant
- Desalinated water conveyance pipeline
- Concentrate pipeline
- Concentrator plant.
Hatch also provided construction management services for facilities developed by third parties such as:
- Access roads
- Geotechnical exploration campaign
- Temporary construction facilities (camps and service associated facilities).
The mine pit and operations facilities location (4,200 m.a.s.l.) offers significant technical and logistic challenges due to the high altitude and severe weather conditions. The project was suspended in April 2012 by the Chilean authorities during execution of the access road due to non-compliance with community-related issues. Since 2012, there has been an evolving judicial process, which also included the re-activation of the RCA, additional studies, and analysis of market conditions while the project is on standby.