Dual-listed Gold Fields has formally started construction of the mining infrastructure at its Salares Norte project, in Chile.
Construction of the $860-million project is scheduled to be completed in late 2022, with first gold production in early 2023. Once commissioned, the mine will process two-million tons of ore a year for the production of doré gold.
The project will create about 2 700 jobs during the peak of construction, while about 900 employees and contractors will be employed at the mine when it is operational
About 15% of the construction has been completed to date, including the mining camp for 1 800 people, related infrastructure and access roads.
Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland has paid tribute to the team in Chile for keeping the project on schedule despite the considerable challenges linked to keeping employees and contractors safe from the impact of the Covid-19 virus.
"The early actions taken in response to the pandemic and our people's commitment enabled us to navigate the challenges of this unprecedented and highly complex situation and remain on track with the production schedule,” he said.
Project director Max Combes says Salares Norte is good news for Chile and the economy of the Atacama region. “A project like Salares Norte generates a very valuable productive chain in the industry and significant economic opportunities in the region.”
“The project seeks to employ sustainable technologies that reduce its environmental footprint. These include solar photovoltaic power and filtered tailings to optimise water use,” Combes adds.
Mining Weekly earlier this week reported that mobile and modular power solutions provider Aggreko had secured a ten-year contract to provide a 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution for the mine.