Consulting and engineering firm Wood has bagged a contract pertaining to the Nueva Centinela copper project in Chile from Antofagasta Minerals (AMSA), a subsidiary of Chilean miner Antofagasta.

Under the contract, Wood will help AMSA in the expansion of the Esperanza Sur pit located in the Antofagasta region.

Acting as the strategic partner for project execution, Wood will collaborate with AMSA to oversee various project components. These include the construction of a new concentrating plant, ore crushing facility, conveyor transportation systems, sea water pipeline, tailing disposal, and facility expansions, along with other essential infrastructure at the Centinela port.

The project is part of AMSA`s $4.4bn investment in the Minera Centinela facility, aimed at meeting the rising global demand for copper, driven largely by the energy transition and the global shift toward electrification.

It aims to position Centinela as one of the top 15 copper mines worldwide in terms of output, with an additional annual production of 170,000 copper equivalent tonnes. This output translates to enough copper to manufacture over two million electric cars.

First production from the expansion project is anticipated in 2027, with work expected to begin next month.

The project, spanning nearly three years, will receive support from approximately 130 Wood employees. Following the award, the company plans to promptly fill around 50 new positions. The majority of these roles will be on-site, while the remaining positions will be based at Wood`s Santiago office.

Wood minerals, metals and life sciences president Jim Shaughnessy said: “Copper has a pivotal role to play in our energy transition. As the world continues to build more sustainable energy systems, a safe and secure supply of energy transition materials is critical. We’re proud to build on our existing relationship with AMSA and support increased production to meet surging demand for copper.

“This award underlines the strength of our mineral processing capability and experience of delivering end-to-end EPCm services for complex, large-scale projects.”

In March 2024, Antofagasta secured project financing of $2.5bn for installing a second concentrator plant as part of the Centinela expansion project.