People, steel and concrete. Business in the desert

Sierra Gorda’s pit is already 1,500 meters wide, 1,300 meters long and 200 meters deep. Construction of the processing plant demanded 221,068 cubic meters of concrete, 22,890 tons of steel and 18,500,000 working hours

Friday, 17 April, 2015

Participants of the Polish-Chilean Mining Investment Seminar, which took place in Santiago de Chile, had the chance to see the world-class Sierra Gorda project during their site visit to the mine on 16 April 2015.

Since the start of production, the mine has extracted 5.9 million tons of sulfide ore, 49.3 million tons of oxide ore and 272.3 million tons of gangue. 2,300 kilometers of electric and control wire were used to complete the processing plant, while water is provided through the 143 kilometers long pipeline.

“This is what I imagined KGHM’s investment in Chile would look like. It is impressive. The project was carried out by a Polish company. So far, our businesses rarely invested abroad, let alone in South America,” said Arkadiusz Dziębowski, general director at Oxyline Sp. z o.o.

Currently, Sierra Gorda employs directly 1,300 workers and 3,000 contractors. Proper care of the crew is the key to operational excellence and zero harm.

“I am impressed by the order I could see in the mine. Health and safety of workers are top priorities, while synchronized movements of machinery and equipment as well as environmental protection are at the world’s highest level. The very first minutes in the mine proved that wherever KGHM operates, it carries out projects at the European level,” said Fernando Duisberg, GSI–GONAR Systems International Comercial Ltda.

The zero harm policy towards local communities is equally important to employees and contractors.

“Impressive! That is what I think of the mine’s scale. I have visited a number of open-pit mines but neither of them was equally safe. This proves Sierra Gorda’s development potential and highest standards,” said Daniel Pelaez Arranz, wiceprezes Heliseco Co. LTD.

Sierra Gorda is going to be one of the world’s largest producers of copper and molybdenum concentrate. Striving at continuous excellence and defining new chances and challenges aims at increasing the value of operational processes.

“I saw what I expected to see. I did expect a well prepared and budgeted investment. Solutions implemented here are economically rational. I am really impressed and see potential for cooperation once the second phase starts,” said Michał Ochęduszko, Sales Director for America at Famur S.A.

Mutual understanding of expectations and needs is the key to staring business talks, in which personal relations may also matter.

“Long-term cooperation with trusted partners matters in the international business. Polish companies should prove each other’s quality in the global markets. I encourage them to take part in Sierra Gorda’s expansion. It’s worth undertaking new challenges as it is them that give us the chance to succeed. Therefore, I wish to thank all participants of the Polish-Chilean Mining Investment Seminar,” said Herbert Wirth, President and CEO of KGHM.

Once full production under phase one is reached, Sierra Gorda will process 110,000 tons of ore daily and produce 120,000 tons of copper annually. The mine will also be one of the world’s leaders in molybdenum production. Phase two expansion should double the mine’s production capacities.