US-based engineering and construction firm Fluor has received a full notice to proceed from Gold Fields for its Salares Norte open pit gold mine in Chile.

Located in the Atacama region of northern Chile, the Salares Norte project is approximately 14,000ft above sea level.

Fluor is providing engineering, procurement and construction management services for the project.

The scope of contract work includes the engineering, procurement of permanent plant material, tendering, award and post-award services for major construction and primary services contracts.

Under the contract, Fluor will also be responsible for construction management and pre-commissioning support for the project.

Fluor’s Mining & Metals business president Tony Morgan said: “This award is a tribute to the close working relationship that our team has developed with Gold Fields since first starting work on the pre-feasibility study four years ago.

“Fluor’s innovative engineering and construction approach has demonstrated how we have been able to provide solutions to the challenges this project has presented by its remote, arid and high altitude location.”

Construction on the Salares Norte project to begin later this year

Fluor will manage the project from its Santiago, Chile office.

Construction on the project, which is estimated to cost $834m, is planned to commence later this year and be completed in early 2023.

Upon entering into full operations, the Salares Norte mine will produce an estimated average of 400,000 ounces of gold per year.

The mine has a life expectancy of 11 years and 6 months.

In December last year, Gold Fields secured environmental approval for its Salares Norte project, which is expected to result in the creation of nearly 2,700 jobs.

The company discovered the deposit in 2011 following a greenfields exploration campaign.

The mining project will involve the development of the Brecha Principal and Agua Amarga deposits in addition to several early-stage district exploration targets.