A sustainable, innovative partnership for reactivating a Philippine Copper Mine
In 2007 a Philippine copper mine was reactivated after half a decade of decommissioning. To improve the technical and financial results the mining company engaged a specialist company for the upgrade and expansion of the concentrator plant, the capacity of which grew by 50 %.
Carmen Copper (“Carmen Copper”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development (“Atlas Mining”), practices sustainable and responsible mining by adhering to the highest standards in health, safety and environmental performance in its operations and by leading the industry in community contributions and relations.
Sustainability and operational excellence form the cornerstones of Carmen Copper’s mining enterprise. It is currently working towards achieving higher cost efficiency and being in the lowest quartile of mining companies worldwide in terms of production costs.
Carmen Copper resumed the operation of Atlas Mining’s Toledo copper mine by facilitating its rehabilitation in 2007. Operation of the Toledo mine (located in the Cebu-province in the Philippines) began in 1955, but was suspended in 1994 on account of flooding and the decline in the world market price of copper.
In 2012, Carmen Copper engaged Outotec as its principal technology partner for the upgrade and modernisation of its processing plant. Upon completion of the first phase of the upgrade project, daily throughput is expected to increase from 40 000 tonnes per day to 60 000 tonnes per day.
The scope of the project for Outec also included two 6 MW ball mills.
Outotec, a Finland based manufacturer renowned for innovative solutions and technology, was engaged on an EPS basis (Engineering, Procurement and Services). Alongside full engineering expertise, including high level concentrator process capabilities, Outotec’s proprietary minerals processing equipment would also be a key component in delivering the targeted expansion of Carmen Copper’s processing capacity. The delivery schedule was extremely ambitious, with Carmen Copper and Outotec working in close partnership toward completion.
Outotec’s engineering approach engaged a multi-disciplinary team of technical personnel for civil, mechanical works, engineering design, instrumentation and process engineering. The team worked well with the Filipino engineers of Carmen Copper to meet demanding schedules.
The upgrade was engineered for both greenfield and brownfield stages to allow continuous plant operation. Allowances were also incorporated for future expansion and sustainable, value-adding by-product recovery.
Point Cloud 3D laser scanning was employed to provide a complete and accurate survey of the vast site. This technology, from a detailed engineering perspective, not only delivered the fastest and safest means of surveying this complex brownfield plant, but is also the most accurate in the world, providing a complete up-to-date picture of site. The extremely precise 3D scanned data considerably reduced time associated with processing data and images in more ‘traditional’ ways.
The close partnership between Carmen Copper and Outotec ensured meticulous planning and enabled site to be fully operational at all times. Tie-in points for new equipment and rerouting of pipework, for example, were planned upfront and all disruptive work was completed during shutdowns, ensuring no interruption to production. Procurement was also carried out on a collaborative basis with Carmen Copper to deliver the most cost effective and timely result.